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 19, from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).
Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids
To mark Juneteenth, various regional theatres are presenting different live readings of Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids, Vincent Terrell Durham's of-the-moment play about a progressive white couple in Harlem throwing a dinner party for Black Lives Matter activists, where the uncomfortable conversation includes systemic racism, police brutality and environmental disaster. The work was co-commissioned by the Bay Area's PlayGround and Planet Earth Arts, and they've partnered with dozens of West Coast companies for their 10 p.m. ET event, which requires advance registration to get the viewing link. There will also be readings by the East Coast's Barrington Stage Company and Capital Repertory Theatre at 7:30 p.m. ET; L.A.'s Theatre of Note at 8 p.m. ET; IAMA Theatre Company at 9 p.m. ET and Florida's Jobsite Theater and Stageworks Theatre (video already available). All are free but donations to the Fund for Black Theatre in the US are encouraged
SummerStage: 155th Anniversary of Juneteenth
At noon ET, SummerStage kicks off an eight-hour virtual Juneteenth celebration with a series of dance performances on its Instagram. The lineup includes the ASE Dance Theatre Collective, Isio-Maya Nuwere of Harlem School of the Arts, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence and Jason Samuels Smith with Dormeshia and Derick Grant. Watch for free on SummerStage's Instagram page.
Peter Pan Live!
At 2 p.m. ET, the Shows Must Go On! screens Peter Pan Live!, NBC's televised take on the wistful musical starring Allison Williams as the mischievous flying boy and Christopher Walken (who started out as a Broadway hoofer) as a surprisingly subdued Captain Hook. Admittedly, this production was hate-watched by many, however there are some solid supporting turns, notably two-time Tony winner Christian Borle hamming it up in the dual roles of Mr. Smee and George Darling, and an underused Kelli O'Hara as Mrs. Darling. Watch for free through Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on YouTube.
Bristol Old Vic: Wise Children
At 2 p.m. ET, Bristol Old Vic shares a recording of Wise Children, its 2018 stage adaptation of Angela Carter's novel about the dramatic history of an eccentric theatrical clan: a pair of 75-year-old chorus-girl twins and their 100-year-old thespian pop. Watch for free through Thursday, June 26 at 2 p.m. ET on the theatre's YouTube channel.
Santino Fontana on Virtual Halston
At 5 p.m. ET, Julie Halston, Broadway funny lady and longtime friend to TDF, welcomes her Tony-winning Tootsie costar Santino Fontana to her online chat show. We can't wait to hear what these talented performers dish about! Watch for free on YouTube.
Irondale: As You Like It
At 6 p.m. ET, in 2016, Brooklyn's intrepid Irondale theatre presented an ambitious event: a multi-hour marathon of four Shakespeare plays, all written in 1599: Henry V, Julius Caesar, As You Like It and Hamlet. Now the company is revisiting the project for bite-size digital consumption. Tonight's offering is a condensed version of As You Like It, the Bard's beloved comedy of cross-dressing, banishment and romance set in the Forest of Arden. Watch for free on Irondale's YouTube channel.
The Antonyo Awards
At 7 p.m. ET, Broadway Black, a media outlet devoted to Black theatre artists, presents the inaugural Antonyo Awards, celebrating Black excellence on Broadway and off this truncated season. Audra McDonald, LaChanze, James Monroe Iglehart, Tituss Burgess, Alex Newell, Ephraim Sykes, Jelani Alladin, Jocelyn Bioh and many other Black stars are scheduled to appear, and there's even a cameo-filled opening number in the works. In addition to the usual categories such as best actor, play, etc., four special "Kinfolk Awards" will be presented, along with a Lifetime Achievement Award to Tony winner Chuck Cooper. Watch for free on Broadway Black's YouTube channel.
The Joyce Theater: Soledad Barrio & Noche Flamenca
At 7 p.m. ET, dance haven The Joyce Theater presents flamenco greats Soledad Barrio & Noche Flamenca in a program of exhilarating pieces danced to live music, including Intimo, a series of intimate duets, and La Ronde, based on Max Ophüls' classic film. Watch for free on the Joyce's YouTube channel.
Martha Graham Dance Company and the Soraya: Immediate Tragedy
At 7 p.m. ET, see the world premiere of Immediate Tragedy, a 14-dancer work inspired by a lost Martha Graham solo of the same name from 1937, her response to the Spanish Civil War and the rise of fascism in Europe. The New York Times examined this piece's history, and why the Martha Graham Dance Company, in collaboration with Wild Up and the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts in Los Angeles, decided to reimagine it for today's digital landscape. In addition to this 10-minute work, the program includes interviews with the artists and a recent performance of Graham's solo Deep Song, a companion piece to the original Immediate Tragedy. Watch for free on Martha Graham Dance Company's YouTube page.
Astoria Performing Arts Center: The Insiders - Musicals from the Quarantine
At 7 p.m. ET, Queens' venerable Astoria Performing Arts Center continues its series of mini musicals inspired by the weird way we're living today with 14 Days, about a woman whose wife wants her to break quarantine early, but their teenage daughter, pet cat and Governor Cuomo are not having it. Watch for free on the theatre's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
Songs for Our City
At 7:05 p.m. ET, Broadway Sessions host Ben Cameron is behind the Songs for Our City competition, a week of live-streamed concerts featuring brand-new numbers written by Broadway actors and composers. Tonight, the contest features original tunes by Marcus Paul James (Ain't Too Proud), songwriter Alexander Sage Oyen, Tim Young (Next to Normal) and the duo Molly and the Memphis Thunder featuring Molly Hager from Waitress. Viewers can vote for their favorites online right after the performance, and the finalists will face off on Sunday in front of judges Tituss Burgess, Six creators Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, Tony-nominated songwriter Andrew Lippa and Time Out New York theatre critic Adam Feldman. Watch for free on Times Square Alliance's YouTube channel.
Live with Carnegie Hall: Juneteenth Celebration
At 7:30 p.m. ET, Carnegie Hall marks Juneteenth with an evening of live music and commentary, presided over by the Reverend Dr. James A. Forbes Jr. The lineup includes performances by pianist Joseph Joubert as well as the Juneteenth Mass Choir, and speeches by Bill Moyers, Bishop Michael Curry and Wynton Marsalis. Watch for free on Carnegie Hall's Facebook page.
Black Women and the Ballot
At 7:30 p.m. ET, The American Slavery Project marks Juneteenth and the centennial of the 19th Amendment with a trio of audio plays about Black women and voting. Tony winner Phylicia Rashad headlines Judy Tate's Pulling the Lever, about three Black women recalling their most important experiences at the polls. Rounding out the program are Tate's In the Parlour, which examines the historic 1913 Women's March for votes from the perspective of a young Howard University student, and Saviana Stanescu's immigrant-themed Don't/Dream. Listen for free on YouTube.
Lincoln Center Theater: Act One
At 8 p.m. ET, Lincoln Center Theater shares a recording of Act One, James Lapine's Tony-nominated adaptation of legendary theatre-maker Moss Hart's memoir about how he got into showbiz. The cast includes Tony winners Santino Fontana and Tony Shalhoub, who plays Hart as an older man as well as his longtime collaborator George S. Kaufman. It's a charming love letter to the stage. Watch for free through Friday, July 3 on Lincoln Center's YouTube channel.
Criminal Queerness Festival: Mosque4Mosque
At 8 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 a reading of Omer Abbas Salem's dramedy Mosque4Mosque, about a thirty-something Arab-American Muslim whose loving but overbearing mom wants to plan his Big Gay Muslim Wedding. Watch for free on Dixon Place's Facebook page.
New Heritage Theatre Group: The Fannie Lou Hamer Story
At 8 p.m. ET, NYC's oldest continuously running Black theatre, New Heritage Theatre Group, marks Juneteenth with The Fannie Lou Hamer Story, playwright-performer Mzuri Moyo Aimbaye's solo show about the civil rights leader and voting activist. Watch for free on the theatre's YouTube channel.
Queerly Festival: The Reparations Show
At 8 p.m. ET, the Queerly Festival premieres The Reparations Show, a weekly variety show focused on BIPOC LGBTQ artists. The inaugural episode is hosted by the fabulous Azure D. Osborne-Lee, a trans playwright we interviewed earlier this year. Pay-what-you-can tickets must be purchased in advance.
Irish Repertory Theatre: YES! Reflections of Molly Bloom
At 8 p.m. ET, Irish Rep presents YES! Reflections of Molly Bloom, Aedín Moloney's solo adaptation of the "Penelope episode" from James Joyce's Ulysses, offering intimate insights into one woman's desires and dreams, with brief musical interludes composed by Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains. This monologue play was a hit at the theatre last year, and Moloney reimagined this performance for online viewing. Tickets are free but required in order to get the link; a suggested donation of $25 is encouraged.
Holland Taylor in Ann
At 9 p.m. ET, PBS presents Ann, Holland Taylor's one-woman bio-play about the late Ann Richards, a Democrat who served as governor of Texas from 1991 to 1995. Taylor's compelling portrayal earned her a Tony nomination as best actress. It's an inspiring portrait of a woman who captivated as a politician and as a person. Watch for free on PBS' website.
Desert AIDS Project: Voices of Hope: Together, We Thrive
At 10 p.m. ET, a cavalcade of Broadway stars lift up their Voices of Hope in support of the California nonprofit Desert AIDS Project's COVID-19 efforts. Scott Nevins hosts the show and Kristin Chenoweth, Betty Buckley, Matthew Morrison, Megan Hilty, Ann Hampton Callaway and Max Von Essen are some of the famous folks scheduled to appear. Watch for free on Desert AIDS Project's Facebook page.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Greenwood
In honor of Juneteenth, the invaluable Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater presents Greenwood, Donald Byrd's powerful meditation on the horrendous 1921 Tulsa race massacre, exploring the murky incident that incited it and its violent aftermath. The work premiered last December and, given recent events, feels terribly timely. Watch for free on Alvin Ailey's YouTube channel.
The Metropolitan Opera: La Forza del Destino
The Metropolitan Opera shares a gem from its vaults: its 1984 mounting of Verdi's La Forza del Destino, starring the legendary Leontyne Price as an ill-fated Spanish noblewoman who loses three of her loved ones before facing her own demise. Conducted by James Levine, the production was filmed for the company's Live in HD series and is available to watch for free until 6:30 p.m. ET on Saturday on the Metropolitan Opera's website.
National Theatre: Small Island
London's National Theatre presents Small Island, Helen Edmundson's acclaimed 2019 stage adaptation of Andrea Levy's novel exploring the complicated history between Jamaica and the U.K. through a trio of interconnected stories as the protagonists try to find their way in post-WWII Britain. Directed by Rufus Norris and featuring a diverse cast of more than 40 actors, this three-hour epic is available to watch for free through Thursday, June 25 at 2 p.m. ET on the National Theatre's YouTube channel.
Stratford Festival: King John
Ontario's venerable Stratford Festival continues its Shakespeare on Film series with King John, one of the Bard's lesser-known tragedies about an embattled monarch struggling to keep his crown. Canadian stage vet and Orphan Black regular Tom McCamus stars. Watch for free on the fest's YouTube channel. While you're there, be sure to check out Black Like Me: Behind the Stratford Festival Curtain, an illuminating conversation with a panel of Black artists who've worked at the venue about the racism they've experienced in the classical theatre world.
Scott Siegel's Great American Songbook Concert: Volume 5
Scott Siegel has been producing starry cabaret concerts at Town Hall and other storied venues for years. Now he brings his talent for assembling crackerjack crooners to YouTube. Today's lineup includes Jekyll & Hyde Tony nominee Robert Cuccioli, Beautiful Tony nominee Jarrod Spector, Jagged Little Pill's Elizabeth Stanley and Dr. Zhivago's Kelli Barrett. Watch for free on YouTube.
Shakespeare's Globe: A Midsummer Night's Dream
London's Shakespeare's Globe shares a recording of its 2013 mounting of A Midsummer Night's Dream, the Bard's beloved romantic comedy about fairies messing with lovesick humans in a magical forest. The recently departed artistic director of the company, Dominic Dromgoole, helms this Renaissance staging, which stars Olivier Award winner Michelle Terry and John Light as Titania and Oberon. Watch for free anytime through Sunday, June 28 on the theatre's YouTube channel.
Top image: Leah Harvey and Johann Myers in National Theatre's Small Island. Photo by Brinkhoff-Moegenburg.