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 this weekend, Friday through Sunday, October 16 to 18, for free or at low cost.
Broadway's Best Shows: Gore Vidal's The Best Man
Broadway's Best Shows, which presented powerhouse readings of plays such as Love Letters and November in the spring, kicks off its new virtual season with a star-packed performance of Gore Vidal's political drama The Best Man. John Malkovich and Zachary Quinto portray two men vying for the job of POTUS, Morgan Freeman is the former commander-in-chief, and Elizabeth Ashley, Reed Birney, Matthew Broderick, Katie Finneran, Julie Halston, Stacy Keach, Phylicia Rashad and Vanessa Williams play some of the characters in their orbit. Michael Wilson, who directed the 2012 Broadway revival of this 1960 play, helms this production. Tickets start at $5 and the recording is viewable through Saturday at 10:45 p.m. ET.
The Shows Must Go On!: Alfie Boe: Bring Him Home
On Friday at 2 p.m. ET, the Shows Must Go On! streams a concert by West End megastar Alfie Boe. Although the tenor has appeared on Broadway, Boe is better known across the pond, especially for his performance as Jean Valjean in Les Misérables. Bring Him Home was recorded in 2012 at London's Royal Albert Hall and features an eclectic set list, including iconic show tunes from Les Mis and West Side Story, pop favorites and a medley of James Bond theme songs. Watch for free until Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on YouTube though donations are encouraged.
New Federal Theatre: From the Mississippi Delta
On Friday at 7 p.m. ET, New Federal Theatre, one of NYC's leading Black companies, continues its Friday night reading series of important plays from its past with Dr. Endesha Ida Mae Holland's autobiographically inspired From the Mississippi Delta, about her experiences during the civil rights movement. This performance reunites director Ed Smith with two cast members from his 1987 New Federal production, Brenda Denmark and Verniece Turner, plus new addition Elain Graham. Watch for free until Sunday on New Federal Theatre's website though donations are encouraged.
Isabella Rossellini's Sex and Consequences
On Friday at 7 p.m. ET, actor, artist and conservation activist Isabella Rossellini live-streams a one-act comedy about biodiversity direct from her Long Island farm, so expect animal cameos. The piece explores the same subjects she's covered in her wild but reproductively correct Green Porno shorts. A post-show Q&A follows. Tickets are $15; there's a second performance on Sunday, October 18 at 6 p.m. ET.
St. Ann's Warehouse: Henry IV
On Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET, throughout October, Brooklyn's St. Ann's Warehouse presents director Phyllida Lloyd's acclaimed Donmar Warehouse Shakespeare Trilogy, starring Tony nominee Harriet Walter and an all-female ensemble as inmates mounting the Bard's plays in prison, a framing that provides a fresh perspective on familiar works. All three productions were filmed in front of live audiences in 2016, with handheld and GoPro footage edited in to give them a kinetic feel. The series continues this weekend with Henry IV, its two parts condensed into two compelling hours, with Walter as the embattled title King. Watch for free until Thursday, October 22 on St. Ann's website though donations are encouraged.
The Metropolitan Opera: Maria Stuarda
On Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera's week of Donizetti favorites continues with David McVicar's acclaimed 2012 mounting of Maria Stuarda about Mary, Queen of Scots. Joyce DiDonato stars as the tragic title character, with Elza van den Heever as Queen Elizabeth and Matthew Polenzani as Leicester. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Anna Bolena, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Sticks & Stones
On Friday at 8 p.m. ET, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS premieres John McDaniel and Scott Logsdon's Sticks & Stones, a new musical about teen bullying inspired by the biblical story of David and Goliath. Joshua Colley stars as David, Hamilton's Javier Muñoz and Broadway legend Audra McDonald are his parents, and Be More Chill's George Salazar is King Saul. Watch for free until Tuesday on YouTube though donations are encouraged.
A Wendy Weekend: Uncommon Women and Others
On Friday at 8 p.m. ET, calling all Wendy Wasserstein fans! In honor of what would have been the late Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright's 70th birthday, Playbill presents A Wendy Weekend featuring live-streamed readings of three of her most beloved plays, all directed by theatre and TV vet Stan Zimmerman, who staged them in-person earlier this year. The series kicks off with Wasserstein's breakthrough work, Uncommon Women and Others, a moving exploration of her experiences as a student at Mount Holyoke College, and what life was like for a group of funny, feminist female friends in the '70s. The cast features Brittannie Bohman, Andrea Bowen, Ian Buchanan, Madeline Grey DeFreece, Lucy DeVito, Chelsea Gonzalez, Kalinda Gray, Lizzie Kramer, Mindy Sterling, Natalie Whittle, Vanessa Marano and Melody Peng. Tickets cost $15 for one play or $35 for all three, with all proceeds going to TDF's Wendy Wasserstein Project, an education program we started with Wasserstein back in 1998. Be entertained while supporting TDF!
Stars in the House: Celebrating the 2020 Tony Awards Part 1
On Friday at 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley celebrate the upcoming Tony Awards by welcoming some of the 2020 nominees as well as a past winner! The lineup features Aladdin Tony winner James Monroe Iglehart, who announced the nominees on Thursday, plus nominees Tom Kitt for his Jagged Little Pill orchestrations, Moulin Rouge!'s Robyn Hurder and playwright Bess Wohl. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Theater of War Productions: Antigone in Ferguson
On Saturday at 6 p.m. ET, Theater of War Productions, a company that uses classical texts to illuminate contemporary issues, presents Antigone in Ferguson, a Black Lives Matter-infused take on Sophocles' tragedy, which was previously mounted in Harlem, Brooklyn and Missouri. The production fuses dramatic readings of passages from Antigone with original gospel music by Phil Woodmore sung by a diverse choir. Today's performance features actors Tracie Thoms, Marjolaine Goldsmith, Nyasha Hatendi and Jason Isaacs; pastor Willie Woodmore; New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams; and De-Rance Blaylock and Duane Foster, both former teachers of Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teen killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, an event that inspired this piece. After the performance, director-adapter Bryan Doerries will co-moderate a discussion with Missouri social worker De-Andrea Blaylock Johnson about racialized violence, structural oppression and social justice. Register to receive the free viewing link. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.
The Metropolitan Opera: Roberto Devereux
On Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera's week of Donizetti favorites continues with David McVicar's emotional 2016 mounting of Roberto Devereux about the complicated love affair between Queen Elizabeth I (Sondra Radvanovsky) and the Earl of Essex, Roberto Devereux (Matthew Polenzani). Elina Garanca and Mariusz Kwiecien costar. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Maria Stuarda, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
A Wendy Weekend: Isn't It Romantic
Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, calling all Wendy Wasserstein fans! In honor of what would have been the late Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright's 70th birthday, Playbill presents A Wendy Weekend featuring live-streamed readings of three of her most beloved plays, all directed by theatre and TV vet Stan Zimmerman, who staged them in-person earlier this year. The series continues with the comedy Isn't It Romantic, about two very different BFFs trying to navigate their professional and personal lives post-college. The cast features Amanda Bearse, Andrea Bowen, Lucy DeVito, Ryan J. Duncan, Peggy Etra, Chris Farah, Andrew Fromer, Danny Lee Gomez, Wendy Hammers, Lizzie Kramer, Jenny Lerner, Ken Lerner, Michael Matts, Jon Sprik, Mindy Sterling and Raviv Ullman. Tickets cost $15 for one play or $35 for all three, with all proceeds going to TDF's Wendy Wasserstein Project, an education program we started with Wasserstein back in 1998. Be entertained while supporting TDF!
Stars in the House: Celebrating the 2020 Tony Awards Part 2
On Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley continue their celebration of the upcoming Tony Awards by welcoming more of the 2020 nominees! The lineup features A Soldier's Play's Blair Underwood; Jagged Little Pill's Elizabeth Stanley, Kathryn Gallagher, Lauren Patten and Celia Rose Gooding; Moulin Rouge! choreographer Sonya Tayeh and the musical's sound designer Peter Hylenski. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
HBO: David Byrne's American Utopia
On Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, HBO premieres Spike Lee's film version of David Byrne's American Utopia, the pioneering rocker's critically acclaimed theatrical concert that ran on Broadway last season and is scheduled to return in fall 2021. Featuring songs from his 2018 album American Utopia as well as Talking Heads classics, the production was choreographed by Big Dance Theater's Annie-B Parson. HBO subscribers can watch for free. Not a subscriber? Get a free seven-day trial.
A Wendy Weekend: The Heidi Chronicles
Sunday at 7 p.m. ET, calling all Wendy Wasserstein fans! In honor of what would have been the late playwright's 70th birthday, Playbill presents A Wendy Weekend featuring live-streamed readings of three of her most beloved plays, all directed by theatre and TV vet Stan Zimmerman, who staged them in-person earlier this year. The series concludes with Wasserstein's Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning masterpiece The Heidi Chronicles, about the professional, political and personal evolution of the title character, who transforms from a bookish '60s teen, to an art historian flirting with feminism in the '70s, to a single-by-choice mom in the '80s. Lucy DeVito stars alongside Amanda Bearse, Taylor Bracken, Brittannie Bohman, Andrea Bowen, Madeline Grey DeFreece, Ryan J. Duncan, Chris Farah, Danny Lee Gomez, Allie Gonino, Wendy Hammers, Jenny Lerner, Vanessa Marano, Michael Matts, Melody Peng, Jon Sprik, Mindy Sterling, Raviv Ullman and Natalie Whittle. There will be a post-show talkback with Zimmerman and DeVito; actress Alma Cuervo, who attended Yale School of Drama with Wasserstein and originated roles in many of her shows; and Wasserstein biographer Julie Salamon. Tickets cost $15 for one play or $35 for all three, with all proceeds going to TDF's Wendy Wasserstein Project, an education program we started with Wasserstein back in 1998. Be entertained while supporting TDF!
The Metropolitan Opera: Don Pasquale
On Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera's week of Donizetti favorites wraps up with Otto Schenk's staging of Don Pasquale, starring Anna Netrebko as Norina, the clever young widow who helps teach the Scrooge-like title character much-needed lessons about generosity and love. Matthew Polenzani, Mariusz Kwiecien and John Del Carlo costar in this 2010 mounting. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Roberto Devereux, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
What Else? Starring Mark Linn-Baker
On Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, veteran Broadway funny guys Mark Linn-Baker and Tony nominee Lee Wilkof star in Donald Wollner's new comedy about a pair of sexagenarian stand-ups whose long-standing weekly brunch goes awry. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to New Dramatists are encouraged.
Divas For Democracy: United We Slay
On Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, Broadway and drag icons pool their talents in Divas For Democracy: United We Slay. Stage stars will croon show tunes while drag queens lip-sync along. The lineup is seriously fierce and includes performances by Tony winners Stephanie J. Block, Lea Salonga, Nikki M. James, Beth Leavel and Annaleigh Ashford; as well as RuPaul's Drag Race stars Bianca Del Rio, Jinkx Monsoon, Valentina, Peppermint, Shuga Cain and Honey Davenport. Chita Rivera, Harvey Fierstein, Andrew Rannells and James Monroe Iglehart will also make appearances. Tickets start at $5 and proceeds benefit Drag Out the Vote's get-out-the-vote efforts in 2020.
The Seth Concert Series: Keala Settle
On Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, apparently, hosting a daily online talk show and a Sirius XM Satellite Radio series isn't enough for the multitalented Seth Rudetsky. Well-known for his skills as a pianist, musical director and interviewer, he's hosted a series of intimate live concerts with Broadway stars for the past decade. This year he brings the show online, and tonight's headliner is Keala Settle. While she became an international star in The Greatest Showman for belting out the self-empowerment anthem "This Is Me," she was already a Broadway favorite thanks to her Tony-nominated turn in Hands on a Hard Body and her performance as a no-nonsense BFF in Waitress. This woman's got powerhouse pipes! Tickets are $25.
Vineyard Theatre: Lessons in Survival Episode 4
At 8:30 p.m. ET, Off Broadway's invaluable Vineyard Theatre drops the latest installment of Lessons in Survival, an intriguing project featuring a collective of 40 theatre artists sharing historic conversations, interviews and speeches about race by listening to the original speakers in an earpiece while repeating their words verbatim. Conceived by actors Marin Ireland, Peter Mark Kendall and Reggie D. White and director Tyler Thomas, this singular series continues tonight with an episode titled "The Old Leadership is Dead," featuring Kyle Beltran, Yonatan Gebeyehu and TL Thompson channeling the wisdom of Bayard Rustin, an openly gay Black man who helped organize the legendary March on Washington. Tickets start at $5.
Amazon Prime Video: What the Constitution Means to Me
Heidi Schreck's Tony-nominated and Pulitzer finalist play What the Constitution Means to Me is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video. In this revelatory show, Schreck talks about how, as a teen, she earned money for college by giving speeches about the U.S. Constitution at American Legion posts. She then recreates that experience while simultaneously commenting from her adult feminist perspective on the founding document's flaws and its impact on the women in her family. Amazon Prime subscribers can watch for free anytime online. If you don't have Amazon Prime, you can get a free seven-day trial.
BAM: That Kindness: Nurses in Their Own Words
The Vagina Monologues author and activist V (formerly known as Eve Ensler) premieres That Kindness: Nurses in Their Own Words, a new documentary-theatre piece based on interviews with frontline medical workers about their experiences during COVID-19. Rosie O'Donnell, Billy Porter, Marisa Tomei, LaChanze, Connie Britton, Rosario Dawson, Stephanie Hsu, Liz Mikel, Dale Soules, Monique Wilson and Ed Blunt bring these harrowing stories to life, complemented by original music by Morley. Watch for free until Tuesday, November 3 on BAM's YouTube channel though donations to The Brooklyn Hospital Center are encouraged.
New York City Ballet: Classic NYCB
New York City Ballet continues its virtual fall season with recent performances of four works by its two cofounders: excerpts from Jerome Robbins' Dances at a Gathering; and Duo Concertant, Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet (First Movement) and Symphony in C (Fourth Movement and Finale), all by George Balanchine. Dancers include Ashley Bouder, Megan Fairchild, Anthony Huxley, Adrian Danchig-Waring and Peter Walker. Watch for free until Tuesday on NYCB's YouTube channel.
The Public Theater: Shipwreck
The Public Theater was originally planning to mount Anne Washburn's new play Shipwreck on stage this fall, but the politically charged drama has been reimagined as a four-episode radio play. Subtitled A History Play About 2017, it takes place in pre-pandemic times, as a group of liberal friends gather at an upstate farmhouse and engage in a fraught discussion about where the country is headed. The Public's recently appointed associate artistic director Saheem Ali directs a cast that includes Tony nominees Joe Morton, Raúl Esparza and Jeremy Shamos. Listen to all four parts for free on The Public's website though donations are encouraged.
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater: Why Would I Dare?: The Trial of Crystal Mason
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater presents Why Would I Dare?, a virtual reading of the court transcript from the trial of Crystal Mason, a Black woman convicted of trying to cast an illegal vote during the 2016 presidential election. Conceived by actors Marin Ireland, Peter Mark Kendall and Reggie D. White and director Tyler Thomas (the same group behind the Vineyard Theatre's documentary-style series Lessons in Survival), this timely performance features Crystal Dickinson, Peter Gerety, Shane McRae and creators Kendall and Ireland. Watch for free until Monday, November 2, aka Election Day eve, on Rattlestick's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
Irish Repertory Theatre: Give Me Your Hand
Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m. ET, Off Broadway's intrepid Irish Rep presents Give Me Your Hand, featuring Tony nominee Dearbhla Molloy and Dermot Crowley taking audiences on a virtual tour of London's National Gallery by pairing Paul Durcan poems with paintings by Van Gogh, Rubens and other masters. Directed by Jamie Beamish, this is a digital reimagining of the company's 2012 hit production. Tickets are free but required to receive the viewing link; a $25 donation is suggested.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
Top image: Audra McDonald. Photo by Allison Michael Orenstein.