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 Fourth of July weekend for free (or at very low cost).
Assuming you haven't been living under Plymouth Rock, you're well aware that Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda's Pulitzer Prize- and Tony-winning musical about the birth of our nation, premieres on Disney+ this Fourth of July weekend. Shot in June 2016 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, this "live stage capture" of the Broadway production features all of the original principal cast members, including Miranda in the title role alongside Tony winners Daveed Diggs, Renée Elise Goldsberry and Leslie Odom, Jr. The movie has gotten rave reviews and is one of the most anticipated and talked about releases this summer. To watch, you must subscribe to the Disney+ streaming service, which costs $6.99 per month or $69.99 for the year. (Sorry, no free trials—Disney yanked that promotion prior to Hamilton's debut.) Happily, musical fans will find other programs to enjoy on the service, including classic Disney animated movies and the reality series Encore!, which reunites the casts of high school productions years after graduation for one last performance.
And So We Come Forth: The Apple Family: A Dinner on Zoom
Tony-winning dramatist and director Richard Nelson presents And So We Come Forth, his latest of-the-moment drama centered on his fictional Apple Family. From 2010 to 2013, Nelson mounted one hyper-realistic play a year about this Rhinebeck, New York clan as they grappled with national milestones such as the 10th anniversary of September 11, the 2012 reelection of Barack Obama and the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination. This past April, as the COVID-19 pandemic peaked in New York, the Apples reunited for What Do We Need to Talk About?, a Zoom call in quarantine. Once again, the four siblings and one boyfriend, played by the cast of the original tetralogy—Tony winner Maryann Plunkett, Sally Murphy, Laila Robins, Jay O. Sanders and Stephen Kunken—assuage their isolation via technology, as they discuss how they're faring and how they're processing the unrest in our nation. The last hour-long Zoom was profoundly moving and akin to eavesdropping, an uncanny reflection of how so many white, middle-class, middle-aged liberals are feeling today. Expect more of the same from this installment. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
National Theatre: Les Blancs
London's National Theatre presents its 2016 production of Les Blancs, the final play by Lorraine Hansberry (A Raisin in the Sun) which was compiled and edited by her ex-husband Robert Nemiroff four years after her death. The 1970 drama explores the waning days of colonialism in Africa through the eyes of one family as rebels try to expel the British from their unnamed country. Examining themes of imperialism, racism, assimilation, identity and the legacy of white supremacy, it's an incredibly timely work. Watch for free until Thursday, July 9 at 2 p.m. ET on the National Theatre's YouTube channel.
The Undefeated Presents: Hamilton In-Depth with Kelley L. Carter
To celebrate the release of Hamilton on Disney+, The Undeafeated, a site exploring the intersections of race and culture, presents a roundtable discussion moderated by Kelley L. Carter and featuring director Thomas Kail and the principal cast members, including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Daveed Diggs, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Leslie Odom Jr., Phillipa Soo and Christopher Jackson. In addition to talking about the movie, they'll discuss their work as artists and activists. Watch for free on The Undefeated's website.
Lincoln Center: Leslie Odom Jr. in Concert
Tony-winning Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr. dazzles with his smooth vocals, wide-ranging repertoire and a sweet duet with his wife, Nicolette Robinson in this hour-long concert, recorded at Lincoln Center's Appel Room in 2017. Watch for free on PBS's website.
Stratford Festival: Antony and Cleopatra
Ontario's venerable Stratford Festival continues its Shakespeare on Film series with Antony and Cleopatra, starring Geraint Wyn Davies (Broadway's King Lear, TV cult favorite Forever Knight) and Yanna McIntosh as the Roman general and the Egyptian queen torn between love and war. Watch for free until Thursday, July 23 on the fest's YouTube channel.
Lincoln Center: New York City Ballet's Tribute to Balanchine
Lincoln Center presents New York City Ballet's tribute to its legendary co-founder, choreographer George Balanchine, who created more than 120 pieces for the troupe. Recorded at the venue in 1983, this program is comprised of three Balanchine ballets: Vienna Waltzes set to music by Johann Strauss II, Franz Lehar and Richard Strauss; Mozartiana set to a Tchaikovsky score and Who Cares? danced to George Gershwin. Watch for free on Lincoln Center's YouTube channel.
San Francisco Ballet: 2020 Opening Night Spellbound Gala
San Francisco Ballet wraps up its online performance series with a recording of its January gala featuring a dozen pieces that were meant to have runs this truncated season. Highlights include world-premiere performances of Val Caniparoli's Foreshadow and Myles Thatcher's 05:49, the pas de deux from David Dawson's Swan Lake and the troupe's premiere of Danielle Rowe's For Pixie. During the "intermission," there's a brand-new remotely recorded work by the company's choreographer in residence, Yuri Possokhov, created for principal dancer Yuan Yuan Tan and inspired by her mother. Watch the program for free until Monday on San Francisco Ballet's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Lazarus
The invaluable Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater presents Lazarus, acclaimed hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris's two-act ballet exploring the racial inequities that plague America, from Ailey's time to today. The ensemble piece is danced to original music by Darrin Ross as well as songs by Nina Simone, Terrence Trent D’Arby, Michael Kiwanuka and Odetta. Watch for free until Thursday, July 9 at 6:30 p.m. ET on Alvin Ailey's YouTube channel.
Charles Busch in Die, Mommie, Die!
Stars in the House presents Die, Mommie, Die!, written by and starring the brilliant Charles Busch. A loving and punch-line-perfect mash-up of the Oresteia and '60s thrillers starring aging Hollywood icons (think What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? with Bette Davis and Joan Crawford), this show costars Tony winner BD Wong and Willie Garson from Sex and the City, and is directed by Busch's longtime collaborator Carl Andress. Watch for free until Sunday at 2 p.m. on YouTube.
Friday, July 3
Michael Flatley's Celtic Tiger
On Friday at 2 p.m. ET, the Shows Must Go On! presents Celtic Tiger, a celebration of Irish music and movement created by the Lord of the Dance himself, Michael Flatley. The Irish-American dancer-choreographer came to fame in the '90s as the star of Riverdance, and he came out of retirement for this 2005 over-the-top spectacle. Watch for free until Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on YouTube.
The Royal Opera House: La Bohème
On Friday at 2 p.m. ET, London's Royal Opera House shares Richard Jones' production of La Bohème, Puccini's romantic tragedy about love, bromance and art. Nicole Car and Michael Fabiano star as the ill-fated central couple of Mimi and Rodolfo. Watch for free until Thursday, July 16 on the Royal Opera House's YouTube channel.
Live with Atlantic: Composer's Corner: Stephen Trask & Peter Yanowitz
On Friday at 4 p.m. ET, the lauded Atlantic Theater Company presents a live mini-concert by This Ain't No Disco songwriters Stephen Trask and Peter Yanowitz. The duo will play numbers cut from that 2018 musical as well as some new tunes and oldies, hopefully a few from Hedwig and the Angry Inch, for which Trask penned the songs. The performance takes place on the free app Zoom, which you'll need to download in advance. Register in advance to receive the free viewing link.
Mo Rocca on Virtual Halston
On Friday at 5 p.m. ET, Julie Halston, Broadway funny lady and longtime friend to TDF, welcomes humorist, actor and CBS Sunday Morning correspondent Mo Rocca to her weekly chatfest. Watch for free on YouTube.
The Metropolitan Opera: Don Giovanni
On Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares Mozart's Don Giovanni, featuring Mariusz Kwiecien in the title role of the world’s most notorious lover. The production was filmed for the company's Live in HD series in 2011, and costars Marina Rebeka, Barbara Frittoli, Mojca Erdmann, Ramón Vargas, Luca Pisaroni and Štefan Kocánis. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's offering, Carmen, until 6:30 p.m. today.
Andrea Martin on Stars in the House
On Friday at 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome two-time Tony and Emmy winner Andrea Martin to Stars in the House. The stage and screen star has been a frequent guest, and we're sure she'll be a riot. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Thom Pain (based on nothing)
On Friday at 9:30 p.m. ET, Aussie stage and screen star Toby Schmitz tackles Will Eno's monologue-play Thom Pain (based on nothing), which was recently revived Off Broadway with Michael C. Hall. A surreal meditation on the absurdity of life, this live performance is a benefit for Australia's Red Line Productions. Watch for free on the company's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.
The Queerly Festival wraps up tonight with three separate offerings:
Saturday, July 4
The Metropolitan Opera: Don Pasquale
On Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares a gem from its vaults: John Dexter's 1979 mounting of Donizetti's comedy Don Pasquale, starring Beverly Sills in her final Met role as Norina, the clever young widow who helps teach the Scrooge-like title character much-needed lessons about generosity and love. Alfredo Kraus, Håkan Hagegård and Gabriel Bacquier costar. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's offering, Don Giovanni, until 6:30 p.m. today.
PBS: A Capitol Fourth
On Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, because of the pandemic, the 40th anniversary edition of this Independence Day concert won't be performed live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Instead, a starry lineup will prerecord their numbers from home, including Broadway vets Brian Stokes Mitchell, Kelli O'Hara, Mandy Gonzalez, Vanessa Williams, John Stamos and Renée Fleming. Watch for free on your local PBS channel.
CNN's The Fourth in America
On Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, CNN will host a four-hour Fourth of July extravaganza featuring a wide-range of musical performances. Although most of the guests are rock, country or pop stars, the Broadway casts of Girl From the North Country and Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of The Temptations, the Harlem Gospel Choir and the New York Philharmonic are also on the schedule. Watch for free on CNN's website or on your TV.
Joe's Pub: Justin Sayre Makes the Case for America
On Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, if you're feeling conflicted about our country on its 244th birthday, you're not alone. Writer, performer and wit Justin Sayre is happy to dig in to the issues with you in a safe space. During this "Love-in to Get You Through," which was recorded at Joe's Pub in 2018, he ponders a variety of still-pressing questions about the trajectory of our nation through insightful stories. Watch for free on Joe's Pub's YouTube channel.
Sunday, July 5
Short North Stage: John & Jen
On Sunday at 7 p.m. ET, Columbus, Ohio's Short North Stage presents Jon & Jen, an early Andrew Lippa musical about Jen's relationship with the two Johns in her life: her beloved late brother, a soldier killed in the Vietnam War in the '60s, and her son, who's having trouble growing up in the '80s. The production was filmed remotely and is available to stream until Sunday, July 12. Tickets are $15.
The Metropolitan Opera: La Donna del Lago
On Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares La Donna del Lago, Rossini's retelling of Sir Walter Scott's epic poem The Lady of the Lake. Joyce DiDonato is at the center of this romantic opera, alongside Daniela Barcellona, Juan Diego Flórez, John Osborn, and Oren Gradus. The production was filmed for the company's Live in HD series in 2015, 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 offering, Don Pasquale, until 6:30 p.m. today.
The Seth Concert Series: Melissa Errico
On Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, apparently, hosting a daily talk show online and a SiriusXM 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 in Provincetown with Broadway stars for the past decade. This summer he brings the show online, and tonight's headliner is Tony nominee Melissa Errico, known for her crystalline soprano and nuanced interpretations of songs by Sondheim and Michel Legrand. Rudetsky is a master at getting divas to dish, and Errico is sure to tell stories about her career, her life as a New York mom of three and and her many columns for The New York Times. Tickets are $25.
Top image: Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast of Hamilton on Broadway. Photo by Joan Marcus.