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25 Stage Performances to Watch Today, July 16

Date: Jul 16, 2020


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With in-person theatre out of commission for the foreseeable future, many companies and performers from Broadway and beyond are showcasing their work online. Below are performances you can watch today, Thursday, July 16, from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).

National Theatre: Amadeus
At 2 p.m. ET, London's National Theatre presents Amadeus, Peter Shaffer's award-winning play about the rivalry between 18th composers Salieri and Mozart. Michael Longhurst directed this critically acclaimed production, which was filmed in 2017 and features live orchestral accompaniment by Southbank Sinfonia. Lucian Msamati portrays the more successful in life Salieri, who's tortured by the knowledge that the louche Mozart (Adam Gillen) is the true genius who will be remembered. Watch for free until Thursday, July 23 at 2 p.m. ET on the National Theatre's YouTube channel. There's also an audio-described version.

Theater of War Productions: Ajax and Philoctetes
At 2 p.m. ET, Theater of War Productions, a company that uses classical texts to examine contemporary issues, presents excerpts from Sophocles' tragedies Ajax and Philoctetes, followed by a guided conversation about the challenges faced by service members, veterans and their families. Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies), Lesley Sharp, Nyasha Hatendi, David Elliot and Patrick Walshe McBride will read the passages, and director-adapter Bryan Doerries will moderate the discussion. The event takes place on the free app Zoom, which you'll need to download in advance. Reserve your free ticket on Eventbrite to receive the viewing link. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.

New York City Center's Studio 5: Great American Ballerinas
At 3 p.m. ET, New York City Center launches its five-part Great American Ballerinas series with a pair of New York City Ballet greats: former principal and current teacher Merrill Ashley, who'll coach NYCB star Tiler Peck as they explore a selection of Balanchine solos. Watch for free on New York City Center's YouTube channel.

Justin Vivian Bond: Auntie Glam's Happy Hour
At 5 p.m. ET, groundbreaking trans artist and activist Justin Vivian Bond shares their wit, wisdom and singular song stylings in their weekly "live-screamed" show. It's always an enlightening and insightful time. Watch for free on their website though tips are encouraged.

George Takei on Classic Conversations
At 6 p.m. ET, Classic Stage Company continues its Classic Conversations with a chat between artistic director John Doyle and adored Star Trek actor and LGBTQ activist George Takei, who starred in the theatre's lauded revival of Pacific Overtures in 2017. Watch for free on Classic Stage Company's Facebook page.

MCC Theater: Good As New
At 7 p.m. ET, Oscar winner Julianne Moore and Kaitlyn Dever (Booksmart) star in a live reading of Good As New, Peter Hedges's one-act exploring a confrontation between a teenager and her mother while the daughter learns to drive. MCC Theater presents this performance, which is followed by a talkback with the artists. Tickets are available from the theatre but TDF members get a discount. You must order before 4 p.m. ET! This performance won't be available after-the-fact.

The New Group: The True
At 7 p.m. ET, Tony nominee Edie Falco headlines a live reading of The True, Sharr White's profanity-laden history play about the complex relationship between longtime Albany mayor Erastus Corning II (Michael McKean) and his tough-talking lobbyist Dorothea "Polly" Noonan. The show was a hit at The New Group in 2018, and this event reunites the original Off-Broadway cast, including Peter Scolari and John Pankow. Tickets are available from the theatre but TDF members get a discount.

Stratford Festival: The Taming of the Shrew
At 7 p.m. ET, Ontario's venerable Stratford Festival continues its Shakespeare on Film series with Taming of the Shrew, starring real-life husband and wife Ben Carlson and Deborah Hay as Petruchio and Katherina in the Bard's admittedly problematic battle of the sexes. Watch for free until Thursday, August 6 on the fest's YouTube channel.

Virtual Pillow: Circa
At 7 p.m. ET, the Berkshires' lauded Jacob's Pillow continues its virtual summer season with excerpts from S by Australia's Circa, a troupe that blurs the line between circus and dance. A show that explores the malleability of the human body, S was recorded at the festival in 2014. Watch for free on Jacob's Pillow's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.

The Joyce Theater: A.I.M in Meditation: A Silent Prayer
At 7 p.m. ET, dance haven The Joyce Theater presents Meditation: A Silent Prayer, a multimedia collaboration by choreographer Kyle Abraham and his company A.I.M, artist and photographer Carrie Mae Weems, and painter Titus Kaphar. Watch for free until Friday, August 14 at 10 a.m. ET on The Joyce's YouTube channel.

Theater in Quarantine: Closet Works
At 7 p.m. ET, downtown multihyphenate Joshua William Gelb, known for deconstructing complicated classics like The Jazz Singer, performs a series of brief dance pieces in his closet created by Hadestown associate choreographer Katie Rose McLaughlin, with guest appearances by Sanaz Ghajar, Veronica Jiao and Raja Feather Kelly. There's a post-show Q&A with the artists, followed by an encore performance at 9 p.m. ET. Watch for free on Gelb's YouTube channel.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: City of Rain
At 7 p.m. ET, the invaluable Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater shares a 2019 recording of City of Rain, Tony nominee Camille A. Brown's breathtaking ballet in honor of a friend who died. Created a decade ago, the on-the-rise choreographer revisited the work last year, making updates to accommodate the dancers and her evolving style. Watch for free until Thursday, July 23 on the troupe's YouTube channel.

The Metropolitan Opera: Wozzeck
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares Berg's Wozzeck about a tormented soldier whose madness drives him to violence. South African artist William Kentridge designed and directed this 2020 production, which stars Peter Mattei as the title character alongside Elza van den Heever, Tamara Mumford, Christopher Ventris, Gerhard Siegel, Andrew Staples and Christian Van Horn. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Turandot, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.

Bernadette Peters' Broadway Barks Across America
At 7:30 p.m. ET, Bernadette Peters' annual pet adoption event, Broadway Barks, goes virtual but the dogs and cats looking for forever homes are as adorable as ever! The three-time Tony winner hosts the evening and welcomes a cavalcade of her talented animal-loving peers, including Alec Baldwin, Carol Burnett, Kristin Chenoweth, Alan Cumming, Raúl Esparza, Sutton Foster, Victor Garber, Whoopi Goldberg, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Joel Grey, Josh Groban, Jake Gyllenhaal, Sean Hayes, Hugh Jackman, Nathan Lane, Laura Linney, Audra McDonald, Laurie Metcalf, Bette Midler, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Rita Moreno, Bebe Neuwirth, Kelli O'Hara, Mandy Patinkin, Michael Urie, Adrienne Warren and Vanessa Williams. Watch for free with an open heart on's YouTube channel.

Dixon Place HOT! Festival: Spanking Machine
At 7:30 p.m. ET, Dixon Place presents the centerpiece of its 29th annual queer culture festival: Marga Gomez's darkly comic memoir Spanking Machine about growing up brown and queer in Washington Heights. A celebrated stand-up comic who's written and performed in 13 solo shows, Gomez recounts the good, the bad and the ugly about her life with insight and raunchy realness. Tickets are $10-$20.

Isolating Together Online International Toy Theater Festival
At 7:30 p.m. EST, toy theatre artists from around the globe share shorts in the fifth installment Great Small Works' virtual Toy Theater Festival. Given how detailed this intimate genre is—often shows are presented on tabletops and feature tiny puppets—watching these pieces online let's you appreciate just how breathtaking they are. Watch for free on the company's Facebook page though donations are encouraged.

New York Classical Theatre: The Importance of Being Earnest
At 8 p.m. ET, New York Classical Theatre, which usually presents environmental stagings of vintage plays for free in NYC parks, brings the show online with a live performance of The Importance of Being Earnest. The troupe staged Oscar Wilde's effervescent comedy of amours to great acclaim last summer and this event reunites the entire cast. Reserve your free ticket in advance to receive the viewing link; donations are encouraged.

The Public Theater: Richard II
At 8 p.m. ET, although The Public Theater had to cancel its free Shakespeare in the Park summer season, the invaluable institution is still giving audiences quality no-cost drama with its radio production of Richard II. A collaboration with WNYC, this four-part audio play is directed by Saheem Ali, who was scheduled to mount the tragedy at the Delacorte Theater before the pandemic hit. André Holland from Moonlight stars as the inept king and the supporting cast includes Oscar winner Estelle Parsons, Tony winner Phylicia Rashad, and Tony nominees John Douglas Thompson and Stephen McKinley Henderson. The final installment airs tonight for free on WNYC.

Joe's Pub: First Ladies of Disco Holiday Show
At 8 p.m. ET, it's Hanukkah in July as Joe's Pub presents The Jewbadours: The Last Schmaltz, a Jewish holiday show that's usually staged on the first of the eight crazy nights. The duo recounts the story of the Maccabees with pop music and guest spots from fellow members of the tribe. Watch for free on Joe's Pub's YouTube channel.

Eden Theater Company: The Living Room Plays
At 8 p.m. ET, the women-led Eden Theater Company continues its series of virtual shorts exploring the current state of our world. For this second edition, the three playlets take place in the living room, as characters struggle with isolation and the fight for racial justice. Watch the 45-minute performance for free on the theatre's Facebook page.

Pass the Mic: a Play Festival Amplifying Black Voices
At 9 p.m. ET, two respected L.A. troupes, IAMA Theatre Company and Ammunition Theatre Company, join forces for the one-night-only Pass the Mic: a Play Festival Amplifying Black Voices. The evening features shorts by Malika Oyetimein, Donnetta Lavinia Grays, Carolyn Ratteray, Larry Powell and D.G. Watsonfive responding to the ongoing fight for racial justice, followed by a post-show discussion with all the artists. Watch for free on YouTube but donations are encouraged.

SheLA Summer Theater Festival: Dipped in Honey
At 10 p.m. ET, the five-day SheLA Summer Theater Festival, which showcases women writers, continues with Cristina Martinez's Dipped in Honey, a bilingual drama set in Los Angeles that explores the modern-day Latinx experience. Tickets are $5-$10.

Available to Watch All Day

The Metropolitan Opera: The Magic Flute
Ever since the shutdown began, the Metropolitan Opera has been sharing productions from its Live in HD series nightly at 7:30 p.m. ET. But it also presents weekly student streams that debut on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. ET. These productions have been specially selected for families, and Zoom education sessions leading up to the screening teach school-age kids about opera. This week's offering is Tony winner Julie Taymor's puppet-filled, English-language production of Mozart's The Magic Flute, a fantastical fable starring Golda Schultz, Kathryn Lewek, Charles Castronovo, Markus Werba, Christian Van Horn and René Pape. Watch for free until Friday at 5 p.m. ET on the Metropolitan Opera's website.

Bard at the Gate: THE DROLL {Or, a Stage-Play about the END of Theatre}
Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist Paula Vogel continues her Bard at the Gate play reading series showcasing timely, under-the-radar scripts, some of which have never been produced. The latest offering is Meg Miroshnik's THE DROLL {Or, a Stage-Play about the END of Theatre} inspired by the question, what's it like to fall in love with doing theatre when you're not allowed to perform it? When Miroshnik wrote the piece 10 years ago, she was pondering the 18-year period when theatre was illegal in 17th-century Puritan England, but the script has taken on new relevance during the pandemic. The cast features Brett Dalton, Rachel Spencer Hewitt, Matt Biagini, Zach Appelman, Ceci Fernandez, Matt McGrath, Blake Segal, Elizabeth Stahlmann and Irene Sofia Lucio, and Devin Brain directs. Watch for free on Bard at the Gate's YouTube channel.

The Homebound Project
The Homebound Project presents its fourth edition of world-premiere playlets around the theme of promise and as always the lineup is stellar. The 11 shorts include Santino Fontana in a piece by Emily Zemba, Cherry Jones in a work by Erin Courtney, Judith Light in a playlet by Jon Robin Baitz and Amber Tamblyn in a short by Halley Feiffer. The brainchild of playwright Catya McMullen and director Jenna Worsham, this initiative is raising money to support food insecure families during the pandemic. Tickets start at $10 and proceeds go to No Kid Hungry.


Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.

Top image: Julianne Moore.