Read about NYC's best theatre and dance productions and watch video interviews with innovative artists
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, Friday, June 26, from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).
The Sound of Music Live!
At 2 p.m. ET, the Shows Must Go On! presents The Sound of Music Live!, NBC's 2013 live broadcast of the iconic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical starring Grammy winner Carrie Underwood as Maria and True Blood's Stephen Moyer as Captain von Trapp. While it got incredible ratings, many fans criticized the production, especially the two leads. But this mounting has its pleasures: Tony winners Christian Borle and Laura Benanti delight in supporting roles, and Audra McDonald is breathtaking as Mother Abbess. Her rendition of "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" is guaranteed to make you weep. Watch for free until Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on YouTube.
Bristol Old Vic: The Grinning Man
The Bristol Old Vic shares a recording of The Grinning Man, a darkly comic 2016 musical based on Victor Hugo's novel The Man Who Laughs, about a disfigured young man, an innocent blind girl and a wolf, all denizens of a circus. Watch for free until Thursday, July 2 at 2 p.m. ET on the theatre's YouTube channel.
The Royal Ballet: Woolf Works
At 2 p.m. ET, London's Royal Ballet shares a recording of Woolf Works, resident choreographer Wayne McGregor's triptych named after the inimitable Virginia Woolf. The dance-maker drew inspiration from her essays, letters and diaries as well as her seminal novels Mrs Dalloway, Orlando and The Waves. Watch for free until Friday, July 10 on YouTube.
The Other Palace: The Last Five Years
At 2:30 p.m. ET, London's The Other Palace presents The Last Five Years, Tony winner Jason Robert Brown's musical dissection of a romance, with the man telling his story chronologically while the woman recalls their relationship in reverse. The actors, Danny Becker and Lauren Samuels, who also directs, recorded their parts remotely, which adds to the sense of a couple disconnected. Tickets are £8, approximately $10.
Judy Gold on Virtual Halston
At 5 p.m. ET, Julie Halston, Broadway funny lady and longtime friend to TDF, welcomes the uproarious Judy Gold, a veteran stand-up whose solo show 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother enjoyed a long run Off Broadway. We can't wait to hear what these talented performers kibitz about! Watch for free on YouTube.
San Francisco Ballet: Mixed Repertory Program
At 5:30 p.m. ET, San Francisco Ballet shares a trio of short pieces that were recorded earlier this year: Soirees Musicales and Concerto Grosso by the troupe's artistic director Helgi Tomasson, and a pas de deux from Christopher Wheeldon's After the Rain. Watch for free on the dance company's website.
Pride Plays: The Men from the Boys
At 7 p.m. ET, last June in honor of Pride Month, Michael Urie partnered with Rattlestick Playwrights Theater to present a festival of diverse LGBTQ play readings. This year the series has gone online at Playbill.com. Tonight you can see a live performance of The Men from the Boys, Mart Crowley's sequel to his groundbreaking 1968 play The Boys in the Band, a frank, witty and poignant portrait of a group of gay men in the pre-Stonewall era. The Men from the Boys features many of the same characters 35 years later reuniting at a funeral, with some younger gay men in tow. Zachary Quinto, who starred in the Tony-winning revival of The Boys in the Band in 2018, directs a cast that includes Tony winner Denis O'Hare, Tony nominee Lou Liberatore, Mario Cantone and Telly Leung. Watch for free on Playbill's website though donations to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS are encouraged.
The Joyce Theater: Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana
At 7 p.m. ET, dance haven The Joyce Theater presents Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana in a program recorded at the venue last year. The flamenco greats perform Tablao Flamenco to live music played by guitarist José Manuel Alconchel and a pair of singers. Watch for free until Friday, July 3 at 10 a.m. on the Joyce's YouTube channel.
Harmonize Against Hunger
At 7 p.m. ET, a number of Broadway vets raise their voices in song for Harmonize Against Hunger, a concert to benefit Feeding America and Project Broadway. The lineup includes Stranger Things' Gaten Matarazzo, who started his career in Priscilla Queen of the Desert; Micaela Diamond from The Cher Show; Analise Scarpaci from Mrs. Doubtfire and Shereen Pimentel from West Side Story. Watch free on YouTube though donations are encouraged.
Criminal Queerness Festival: vichitra: an anthology of queer dreams
At 7 p.m. ET, 2019 marked the inaugural Criminal Queerness Festival, showcasing plays set in cultures and communities where it's particularly complicated being part of the LGBTQ rainbow. This year's fest has gone digital, and tonight you can catch vichitra: an anthology of queer dreams, an audiovisual collage created by queer artists of South Asian origin. Watch for free on Dixon Place's Facebook page.
Astoria Performing Arts Center: The Insiders - Musicals from the Quarantine
At 7 p.m. ET, Queens' venerable Astoria Performing Arts Center ends its six-week run of mini musicals inspired by the weird way we're living today with Vectir, about a couple trying to reconnect with the help of an opera singer turned computer code crooner. What the HTML?! Watch for free on the theatre's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
The Metropolitan Opera: L’Elisir d’Amore
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares a gem from its vaults: Donizetti's L’Elisir d’Amore starring Kathleen Battle, Luciano Pavarotti, Juan Pons and Enzo Dara, conducted by James Levine. The production was filmed for the company's Live in HD series in 1991 and is available to watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Manon, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Stars in the House: Free to Be...You and Me
At 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley celebrate Free to Be...You and Me on Stars in the House. Marlo Thomas's groundbreaking 1972 children's album celebrating diversity was turned into a TV special and a book, and its messages of inclusion, kindness and empathy continue to be necessary. Famous fans of the material, including Harry Belafonte, Drew Barrymore, Rosie O'Donnell, Marlee Matlin, Audra McDonald, Benj Pasek, Debra Messing and Gloria Steinem, will talk about how it impacted their lives. In addition, pop diva and Waitress songwriter Sara Bareilles will perform the title tune, and Michael McElroy and the Broadway Inspirational Voices will cover "Sisters and Brothers." Watch for free on YouTube though donations to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund are encouraged.
Joe's Pub: Max Vernon: Existential Life Crisis Lullaby
At 8 p.m. ET, in honor of Pride, Joe's Pub presents a concert of songs by Max Vernon, the award-winning composer behind the hit Off-Broadway musicals The View UpStairs and KPOP. A glittering array of downtown divas in over-the-top outfits, including Jo Lampert, Andy Mientus and Helen Park, croon his tunes, which explore queer culture, Korean pop, A.I. and the apocalypse. Watch for free on Joe's Pub's YouTube channel.
Refractions of Pride: Brick by Brick: Stonewall
At 8 p.m. ET, the three-day Refractions of Pride fest presents a live reading of Eric Ulloa's Brick by Brick: Stonewall about the 1969 protests that kicked the gay liberation movement into overdrive. The cast includes three-time Tony nominee Robin De Jesus and Broadway regulars Jay Armstrong Johnson, Max Chernin and Stephen DeRosa. Tickets are free but donations to the Ali Forney Center are encouraged.
Queerly Festival: The Reparations Show
At 8 p.m. ET, the Queerly Festival presents The Reparations Show, a weekly variety show focused on BIPOC LGBTQ artists. This week's episode is hosted by Kevin R. Free, an Obie-winning Black gay theatre-maker who is also the curator of the entire Queerly Fest. Tickets are available to purchase from the theatre but TDF members get a discount.
Christine Lahti in Gloria: A Life
At 9 p.m. ET, PBS presents Gloria: A Life, Emily Mann's vibrant bio-play about feminist icon Gloria Steinem starring Christine Lahti. The show played for months Off Broadway and is as engaging as it is informative, with insightful recreations of Steinem's seminal moments such as her 1963 undercover assignment at the Playboy Club, her cofounding of Ms. magazine in 1971 and the 1977 Houston Women's Conference. A multiracial, all-female ensemble embodies a variety of her peers. Watch for free on PBS' website.
Available to Watch All Day
In honor of Pride, BroadwayHD is streaming the Tony-nominated revival of Falsettos at no cost. William Finn's groundbreaking musical is a funny and touching portrait of a late 20th-century family. centering on a neurotic gay man named Marvin, his ex-wife, his lover, their son, their psychiatrist and the lesbians next door. Christian Borle, Andrew Rannels, Stephanie J. Block and Brandon Uranowitz are all phenomenal, expertly navigating this hilarious and heartbreaking tale. Watch for free until Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on BroadwayHD though donations to Broadway Cares' Emergency Grants for Pandemic Relief are encouraged.
National Theatre: A Midsummer Night's Dream
London's National Theatre presents the Bridge Theatre's lauded 2019 mounting of A Midsummer Night's Dream, the Bard's beloved romantic comedy about sparring fairies messing with lovesick humans in a magical forest. Game of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie pulls double duty as Titania and Hippolyta, with hilarious support from UK stage vets Oliver Chris, David Moorst and Hammed Animashaun. Watch for free until Thursday, July 2 at 2 p.m. ET on the National Theatre's YouTube channel. Bonus: London's Shakespeare's Globe is also streaming its mounting of A Midsummer Night's Dream until Sunday, June 28.
Stratford Festival: The Adventures of Pericles
Ontario's venerable Stratford Festival continues its Shakespeare on Film series with The Adventures of Pericles, a rechristening of Pericles, Prince of Tyre, written at least in part by the Bard. Rarely staged, the play follows the dramatic journey of the title character, who gains, loses and then unexpectedly reunites with his family. Watch for free until Thursday, July 16 on the fest's YouTube channel.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: A Hymn for Alvin Ailey
The invaluable Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater presents A Hymn for Alvin Ailey, a 1999 documentary about the company. Director Orlando Bagwell was inspired by Hymn, a piece created by Ailey's longtime muse Judith Jamison with playwright-performer Anna Deavere Smith as a tribute to the dance pioneer after his death. This hour-long doc examines his work and legacy, and features dances interspersed with interviews. Watch for free until Thursday, July 2 at 6:30 p.m. on Alvin Ailey's YouTube channel.
Bard at the Gate: Kernel of Sanity
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel curates Bard at the Gate, a new series of play readings showcasing urgent, under-the-radar scripts, some of which have never been produced! First up is Kernel of Sanity written in 1978 by Kermit Frazier, about the complicated relationship between a young Black actor and an older white peer who appeared together in a mounting of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. The cast features Matthew Hancock, Josh Hamilton and Oscar nominee Abigail Breslin. Watch for free on Bard at the Gate's YouTube channel.
MCC LiveLabs: One Acts: When
MCC Theater presents When by C.A. Johnson, whose play All the Natalie Portmans had its run cut short at the venue due to the pandemic. Portia and Antoinette Crowe-Legacy star as a costume drama-loving mother and her more down-to-earth daughter, as they try to find a way to face the real world. Watch the performance until Saturday on MCC Theater's YouTube page.
The Homebound Project
The Homebound Project presents its third edition of world-premiere playlets, and the lineup is stellar. The dozen shorts include Jennifer Carpenter and Tony nominee Thomas Sadoski in a piece by Pulitzer Prize winner John Guare, directed by Jerry Zaks; Hamilton Tony winner Daveed Diggs in a work by C.A. Johnson; and Diane Lane in a piece by newly minted Pulitzer winner Michael R. Jackson, directed by Leigh Silverman. 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.
Top image: Audra McDonald and Carrie Underwood in The Sound of Music Live!. Photo by Will Hart/NBC.