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 Friday to Sunday, September 25 to 27, for free or at low cost.
The Shows Must Go On!: Fame
On Friday at 2 p.m. ET, after a summer hiatus, The Shows Must Go On! returns with Fame: the Musical. Inspired by the iconic 1980 movie about the talented students at NYC's High School of Performing Arts, this production was recorded live on London's West End in 2018 and stars Keith Jack, Jorgie Porter and Mica Parisand. Watch for free until Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on YouTube though donations are encouraged.
Southwark Playhouse: Before After
On Friday at 2 p.m. ET, London's Southwark Playhouse presents Before After, a new musical rom-com by Stuart Matthew Price and Timothy Knapman. Performed live to an empty theatre and streamed to an at-home audience, the two-hander stars real-life spouses and British stage stars Hadley Fraser and Rosalie Craig as exes who remeet cute. Tickets are £15, approximately $19.
Bristol Old Vic: Romantics Anonymous
On Friday at 2:30 p.m. ET, the UK's Bristol Old Vic presents Romantics Anonymous, performed live on stage to an empty theatre and streamed to an at-home audience. Based on the French film Les Émotifs Anonymes, this charming musical chronicles the unlikely love story between a painfully shy sweets maker and her harried chocolate factory boss. Emma Rice, who helmed Brief Encounter on Broadway, penned the book and directs this confection, which features songs by Christopher Dimond and Michael Kooman. And since the cast and crew have been quarantining for weeks, no social distancing is required. There will be singing, dancing and kissing! Tickets are £21, approximately $27.
Karen, I Said
On Friday at 5 p.m. ET, writer, performer and TDF Stages contributor Eliza Bent explores the phenomenon of white wokeness with wit and bite in her solo show Karen, I Said, directed by Tara Ahmedinejad. Reserve your free ticket to receive the viewing link; a $10 donation is suggested with proceeds going to the Black LGBTQ org Brave Space Alliance.
Virtual Halston: Ann Harada and Barrett Foa
On Friday at 5 p.m. ET, Julie Halston, Broadway scene-stealer and longtime friend to TDF, welcomes two former Avenue Q costars to her weekly chatfest: the uproarious Ann Harada, who originated the role of Christmas Eve, and Barrett Foa, who was a replacement for multiple characters, including Princeton. Watch for free on YouTube.
Long Wharf Theatre: New Haven Play Project
Friday at 7 p.m. ET, New Haven's Long Wharf Theatre presents the New Haven Play Project, a full-length film chronicling the lives of Muslim, immigrant and refugee artists who call the Connecticut city home. A live Q&A follows the screening. It's a bold launch of a community-centric season by the theatre's new artistic director, Jacob G. Padrón. Watch for free on Long Wharf's website.
The Metropolitan Opera: Tosca
On Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera's week of Puccini favorites continues with Sir David McVicar's striking 2018 staging of Tosca, starring Sonya Yoncheva as the title diva, Vittorio Grigolo as her artist lover and Željko Lucic as the man who stands in the way of their happiness. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Madama Butterfly, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Stars in the House: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Reunion
On Friday at 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome the original cast of the Tony-nominated musical comedy The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Derrick Baskin, Deborah S. Craig, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Dan Fogler, Lisa Howard, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Jose Llana, Jay Reiss and Sarah Saltzberg will all be present and ready to sing, speak and spell some insane words. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Latino Theater Co.: Just Like Us
On Friday at 10 p.m. ET, Los Angeles' Latino Theater Co. presents Karen Zacarias' Just Like Us based on Helen Thorpe’s best-selling book about four Latina teens navigating young adulthood, two as citizens, two undocumented. Fidel Gomez directs Richard Azurdia, Natalie Camunas, Michelle Castillo, Alicia Coca, Peter Mendoza, Elyse Mirto, Lys Perez, Geoffrey Rivas, Lucy Rodriguez, Kenia Romero and Alexis Santiago. Watch for free on the company's YouTube channel.
Southwark Playhouse: Before After
On Saturday at 9 a.m. ET, London's Southwark Playhouse presents Before After, a new musical rom-com by Stuart Matthew Price and Timothy Knapman. Performed live to an empty theatre and streamed to an at-home audience, the two-hander stars real-life spouses and British stage stars Hadley Fraser and Rosalie Craig as exes who remeet cute. Tickets are £15, approximately $19. There is a final performance at 2 p.m. ET today.
Karen, I Said
On Saturday at noon ET, writer, performer and TDF Stages contributor Eliza Bent explores the phenomenon of white wokeness with wit and bite in her solo show Karen, I Said, directed by Tara Ahmedinejad. Reserve your free ticket to receive the viewing link; a $10 donation is suggested with proceeds going to the Black LGBTQ org Brave Space Alliance.
Stars in the House: Regional Theatre Spotlight on Stages
On Saturday at 2 p.m. ET, Stars in the House spotlights Houston, Texas' Stages, which was founded in 1978 and had just opened a new three-theatre complex when the shutdown hit. Artistic director Kenn McLaughlin hosts this episode and welcomes frequent collaborators David Nehls, Betsy Kelso, Josh Morrison, Holland Vavra and Brooke Wilson. Learn more about this venerable institution for free on YouTube.
Martha Graham Dance Company: The EVE Project
On Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET, the Martha Graham Dance Company presents The EVE Project celebrating women choreographers and the centennial of the 19th Amendment. The program includes footage of Graham in her seminal solo Frontier, a 2019 performance of her Errand into the Maze and the world premiere of Many Faces of EVE, a montage featuring submissions from the troupe's #19Poses Insta-Graham Challenge. Watch for free on the dance company's YouTube channel.
Bristol Old Vic: Romantics Anonymous
On Saturday at 4 p.m. ET, the UK's Bristol Old Vic presents Romantics Anonymous, performed live on stage to an empty theatre and streamed to an at-home audience. Based on the French film Les Émotifs Anonymes, this charming musical chronicles the unlikely love story between a painfully shy sweets maker and her harried chocolate factory boss. Emma Rice, who helmed Brief Encounter on Broadway, penned the book and directs this confection, which features songs by Christopher Dimond and Michael Kooman. And since the cast and crew have been quarantining for weeks, no social distancing is required. There will be singing, dancing and kissing! Tickets are £21, approximately $27.
Play-PerView: Hamlet in Bed
On Saturday at 7 p.m. ET, Play-PerView presents a live reading of Hamlet in Bed, written by and starring Michael Laurence as an actor who casts a woman he thinks is his long-lost mother as Queen Gertrude opposite his Hamlet. Directed by Lisa Peterson, this event reunites the cast of the show's Rattlestick Playwrights Theater production: Laurence and Annette O'Toole, with the intriguing addition of John Glover. Tickets start at $5 and benefit Rattlestick Playwrights Theater.
The Metropolitan Opera: Turandot
On Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera's week of Puccini favorites continues with his final masterwork Turandot, about an aloof princess whose suitors lose their heads over her knotty riddles. This 2019 mounting of Franco Zeffirelli's classic staging stars Christine Goerke as the hard-to-win royal, and Yusif Eyvazov as the prince who ultimately succeeds. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Tosca, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Kennedy Center: A Time to Sing: An Evening with Renée Fleming and Vanessa Williams
On Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, two beloved Tony-nominated divas—opera legend Renée Fleming and pop star Vanessa Williams—team up for a live concert from the Kennedy Center's storied Opera House. It's the first in-person event at the D.C. institution since March, and only a smattering of invited folks will be sitting in the seats. But you can watch from home as these vocalists croon an eclectic selection of tunes, including "Children Will Listen," "Stormy Weather" and a brand-new number by Andrew Lippa. Tickets are $15; a recording will remain available through the end of the year.
Stars in the House: Fame TV Series Reunion
On Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, it's more Fame fun when Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome original cast members from the TV series to Stars in the House. Debbie Allen, Jesse Borrego, Michael Cerveris (yes, the two-time Tony winner was on the show... with insane '80s hair!), Loretta Chandler, Lee Curreri, Erica Gimpel (a real-life alum of the High School of the Performing Arts), Valerie Landsburg and PR Paul will share stories and songs related to their time on the iconic show. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Colt Coeur: Seven Minutes in Heaven
On Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, Off-Off Broadway's invaluable Colt Coeur celebrates its roots with a live reading of the very first play the company produced ten years ago: Seven Minutes by Steven Levenson, who went on to win a Tony Award for his book for Dear Evan Hansen. A coming-of-age tale about six high school freshmen grappling with growing up in the '90s, the play is directed by the troupe's artistic director, Adrienne Campbell-Holt, and stars Natalia Dyer from Stranger Things, Leah Lewis, Justin Linville, Dallas Liu, Odeya Rush and Nicholas Ashe. Tickets start at $5.
Working Theater: American Dreams
On Saturday at 9 p.m. ET, Off-Off Broadway's Working Theatre presents American Dreams, Leila Buck's darkly clever theatrical game show in which contestants vie for instant citizenship—and the audience decides who wins. Log on ready to vote! Register to receive the free Zoom link.
Stars in the House: Caesar & Cleopatra
On Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, Stars in the House continues its popular play reading series with George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion-like comedy Caesar & Cleopatra. Master Shaw interpreter David Staller reunites most of the cast of his 2019 Off Broadway production: Brenda Braxton, Jeff Applegate, Jonathan Hadley, Dan Domingues and Rajesh Bose, with Mirirai Sithole stepping in as the title Egyptian ruler opposite Robert Cuccioli's Caesar. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
New York Theatre Workshop: What the Hell Is a Republic, Anyway?
On Sunday at 7 p.m. ET, New York Theatre Workshop presents What the Hell Is a Republic, Anyway?, the first episode of a four-part online experience from Tony winner Denis O'Hare and director-writer Lisa Peterson. The duo previously mounted the Obie-winning An Iliad at NYTW. Now they're inviting audiences into their creative process as they deconstruct democracy in real time by parsing the rise and fall of the Roman Republic and the challenges of successfully collaborating on anything, be it a play or politics. Titled "Rome & America: Joined at Birth," this event was recorded on Tuesday, so you missed the interactive part. But if the conversation gets you going be sure to buy tickets to future live installments. Tickets are $10.
The Metropolitan Opera: La Bohème
On Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera wraps up its week of Puccini favorites with La Bohème, his timeless romantic tragedy about love, bromance and art. Angela Gheorghiu and Ramón Vargas star as the ill-fated young couple. 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.
Expand the Canon: House of Desires
On Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, every year, Hedgepig Ensemble Theatre comes up with a curated list of classic, underproduced plays by women. The 2020 roundup of nine works (developed in partnership with Ma-Yi Theater Company, American Players Theatre and the Classical Theatre of Harlem) dropped on Monday night, and Hedgepig will be presenting virtual readings of four of them over the next week. Tonight, enjoy Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz's 1683 romantic comedy House of Desires about two siblings involved in multiple affairs. Melisa Pereyra directs Cher Alvarez, Eduardo Xavier Curley-Carillo, Triney Sandoval, Alejandro Cordova, Sebastian Arboleda, Basil Rodericks, Jamal James, Olivia Williamson and Desiree Baxter in this romp of infidelity and mistaken identity. Register to receive the free viewing link though a $15 donation is suggested.
Short North Stage: Howard Crabtree's When Pigs Fly
Columbus, Ohio's Short North Stage presents When Pigs Fly, the late Howard Crabtree's hilarious musical revue, which was an Off-Broadway smash in the '90s. A costume designer by trade, Crabtree was inspired to create this over-the-top spectacle featuring songs (by Mark Waldrop and Dick Gallagher), sketches and outrageous styles thanks to a high school counselor who told him he'd make it in show business "when pigs fly." Guess who got the last laugh? The audience! RuPaul's Drag Race alum Nina West guest stars. Tickets are available from the theatre but TDF members get a discount.
Barrington Stage Company: Three Viewings
Pittsfield, Massachusetts' Barrington Stage Company presents Three Viewings, Jeffrey Hatcher's darkly comic trio of tales set in a Midwestern funeral parlor. That '70s Show costars Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith reunite for this virtual performance, alongside Angel Desai. Watch until Sunday at 5 p.m. ET by making a donation of $25 or more.
Kiki & Herb: Seeking Asylum!
Artist, author and activist Justin Vivian Bond first came to NYC fame as the sloppier half of Kiki & Herb, a satirical never-was cabaret duo with Kenny Mellman at the piano. Their wild renditions of pop songs and Kiki's boozy no-holds-barred banter made them darlings of the downtown performance scene, and eventually they landed on Broadway. After a hiatus, they reunited at Joe's Pub in 2016 for Seeking Asylum!, and the venue's sharing a recording of that sold-out run. Watch for free until Thursday, November 5 on Joe's Pub's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
The 24 Hour Plays: Viral Musicals
Back in March when the shutdown hit, The 24 Hour Plays launched The Viral Monologues, a series of solos about how we're living today, all penned and performed within 24 hours. This week, they switched things up by offering songs instead of speeches, with musical theatre vets such as Christopher Fitzgerald, Lora Lee Gayer, L Morgan Lee and Kate Rockwell crooning brand-new numbers by a stellar list of composers and lyricists, including James Lapine and Kirsten Childs, two mentors from TDF's Wendy Wasserstein Project. It's worth checking out these 11 musical musings about our new abnormal—if you want profane laughs, I highly recommend "Steve, Jesus' Brother" sung by former Dear Evan Hansen star Noah Galvin, but the bittersweet entries are powerful, too. Watch for free on The 24 Hour Plays' YouTube channel though donations to TDF's Wendy Wasserstein Project are encouraged.
Actors Theatre of Louisville: COVID-Classics: One-Act Plays for the Age of Quarantine
One of the most acclaimed regional theatres in the country, the Actors Theatre of Louisville, presents five classic shorts by Guillaume Apollinaire, Anton Chekhov, Luigi Pirandello, August Strindberg and Thucydides, reimagined for our plagued times. Robert Barry Fleming directs this poignant 45-minute program. Tickets are available to purchase from the theatre but TDF members get a discount.
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley: Pandora
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley presents a reading of Pandora, a new play by Laurel Ollstein about an adult woman who magically materializes with no notion of how the world works. Giovanna Sardelli directs Katy Sullivan (Cost of Living) in the title role. Register to receive the free viewing link; the recording is available through Monday at 5 p.m. ET.
Black Lives, Black Words International Project: Plays for the People: The Immortal Goats
Friday to Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, Black Lives, Black Words International Project presents The Immortal Goats, Idris Goodwin's cutting comedy about a group of Black leaders tasked with deciding who deserves to be immortalized in stone to replace the fallen statues of problematic figures. Tickets start at $10.
Irish Repertory Theatre: Belfast Blues
Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 3 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 3 p.m. ET, Off Broadway's intrepid Irish Rep presents Belfast Blues, Geraldine Hughes' touching autobiographical solo show about growing up in Ireland during The Troubles in the '80s and how acting offered her a way out. After touring with this very personal play for more than a decade, Hughes, whose Broadway credits include Jerusalem and Harry Potter, did a final engagement at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast last year. This never-before-seen video comes from that run. 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: Vanessa Williams.