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 have been showcasing their work online. Below are performances you can watch this weekend, June 20 to 21, for free or at very low cost.
Lincoln Center Theater: Act One
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, history-filled love letter to the enduring allure of the stage. Watch for free through Friday, July 3 on Lincoln Center's YouTube channel.
Holland Taylor in Ann
PBS presents Ann, Holland Taylor's one-woman bio-play about the late Ann Richards, an outspoken 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 through Friday, July 17on PBS' 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, a rarely staged tragedy about an embattled monarch struggling to keep his crown. Canadian stage vet and Orphan Black regular Tom McCamus stars. Watch for free through Thursday, July 9 on the fest's YouTube channel.
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.
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 the violence and its aftermath. The work premiered last December and, given current events, feels terribly timely. Watch for free through Thursday, June 25 on Alvin Ailey's YouTube channel.
Peter Pan Live!
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
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 25 at 2 p.m. ET on the theatre's YouTube channel.
Saturday, June 20
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.
Virtual West End Live
On Saturday at 9 a.m. ET, since West End Live, an annual outdoor showcase of numbers from currently running musicals, can't go on in London this year, the organizers are sharing two hour-long compilations of highlights from recent years. The lineup includes performances from Come From Away, Dreamgirls, Everybody's Talking About Jamie, Heathers, Jersey Boys, Kinky Boots, Les Misérables, The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, Matilda, Memphis, The Phantom of the Opera, School of Rock, Six, Strictly Ballroom, Tina, Waitress and Wicked. Watch the first video for free for 24 hours on West End Live's Facebook page, then tune in on Sunday at 9 a.m. for the second.
Tonya Pinkins and James Monroe Iglehart in Mrs. Warren's Profession
On Saturday at 2 p.m. ET, Stars in the House continues its popular live play reading series with George Bernard Shaw's Mrs. Warren's Profession about a formidable madam whose straitlaced daughter disapproves of her mother's lifestyle. Master Shaw interpreter David Staller directs a cast headlined by Tony winners Tonya Pinkins and James Monroe Iglehart alongside Midori Francis, David Huynh, Raphael Nash Thompson and Thom Sesma. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund are encouraged.
Martha Graham Dance Company and the Soraya: Immediate Tragedy
On Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET, catch the brand-new 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 the Martha Graham Dance Company's YouTube channel.
Irish Repertory Theatre: YES! Reflections of Molly Bloom
On Saturday at 3 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.
TOSOS: The Bed
On Saturday at 6 p.m. ET, The Other Side of Silence, NYC's oldest continuously running LGBTQ theatre, presents a live reading of The Bed, Robert Heide's 1965 existential one-act about two men who can't seem to rise from their mattress. A smash at the iconic Caffe Cino and the basis for Andy Warhol's film of the same name, this mounting stars real-life couple Desmond Dutcher and Christopher Borg performing from their own bed. Watch for free on YouTube.
Virtual Pillow: Dance We Must
On Saturday at 7 p.m. ET, the Berkshires' lauded Jacob's Pillow dance center throws a virtual gala with world-premiere works commissioned specifically for the event. Ballet star Wendy Whelan and choreographer Kyle Abraham host the evening, which features performances by Abraham's company A.I.M, tap genius Michelle Dorrance, flamenco great Irene Rodríguez, dancers and life partners Daniel Ulbricht & Danielle Diniz and many more. Watch for free on Jacob's Pillow's website though donations are encouraged.
Songs for Our City
On Saturday 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 Leslie Becker (Amazing Grace), songwriter Drew Gasparini, Will Taylor (A Chorus Line), Joel Waggoner (Be More Chill) and the duo Will Van Dyke & Jeff Talbott. 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.
The Metropolitan Opera: Akhnaten
On Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares Akhnaten, Philip Glass' epic opera inspired by the life and religious convictions of the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten. This production was a sold-out smash last year, with jugglers and acrobats performing alongside stars Dísella Lárusdóttir, J'Nai Bridges, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Aaron Blake, Will Liverman, Richard Bernstein and Zachary James, conducted by Karen Kamensek. Filmed for the company's Live in HD series, it's available to watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website.
The Gorgeous Nothings: In Concert
On Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, in honor of Pride Month, Playbill streams The Gorgeous Nothings: In Concert, a prison-set musical featuring under-the-radar songs from the '20s and '30s about the colorful but covert LGBTQ community of that era. This work in progress was recorded last year at Joe's Pub, and the cast includes Kevin Smith Kirkwood (Kinky Boots), James Jackson Jr. (A Strange Loop) and Stephen DeRosa (Hairspray), with Beth Kirkpatrick (Hello, Dolly!), Gideon Glick (Significant Other) and Telly Leung (Aladdin) serving as hosts of this screening. Watch for free on Playbill's website though donations to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS are encouraged.
Dance Theatre of Harlem: Return
On Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, the half-century-old Dance Theatre of Harlem shares Return, Robert Garland's 20-year-old post-modern ballet for a dozen dancers, set to songs by James Brown and Aretha Franklin. This recording was compiled from footage spanning two decades of performances. Watch for free on the dance company's YouTube channel.
Stars in the House: Broadway Advocacy Coalition Founders
On Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, Stars in the House hosts Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome Adrienne Warren, the Tony nominee, Tina star and cofounder of the Broadway Advocacy Coalition, which encourages organizations and artists to use their talents and influence to spark social change. She'll be joined by her former Shuffle Along costar, Amber Iman, who's also a cofounder, as well as the org's executive director Robb Nanus. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund are encouraged.
Joe's Pub: Spirit Night Hosted by Henry Koperski & Larry Owens
On Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, Joe's Pub shares Spirit Night, a joyous smogarbord of music, comedy, theatre and magic hosted by pianist-songwriter Henry Koperski and A Strange Loop star Larry Owens. The lineup of talented downtown denizens includes Ana Fabrega from Los Espookys, comedians Mo Fry Pasic and Arti Gollapudi, ukulele crooner Nora Palka and performer-playwright Ryan Haddad. Watch for free on Joe's Pub's YouTube channel.
Sunday, June 21
Stars in the House Presents Georgia Mae James Unplugs America
On Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, Stars in the House continues its reading series for young audiences with Elizabeth Gregory Wilder's Georgia Mae James Unplugs America, about a brilliant big sister who's so annoyed by her younger siblings' screen addiction, she kills the power grid! They then work together to plug the country back in. The cast includes Broadway babies Alexander Bello (Caroline, or Change) and Charlie Tassone (Frozen). Watch for free on YouTube though donations to the Alabama Shakespeare Festival are encouraged.
Fran Drescher's Virtual Cabaret Spectacular
On Sunday at 3 p.m. ET, the inimitable Fran Drescher hosts a benefit concert for her nonprofit Cancer Schmancer. The lineup includes lots of legendary ladies, including Bette Midler, Patti LuPone, Lesli Margherita and Renée Taylor, who played Drescher's overbearing mother on The Nanny. Watch for free on Cancer Schmancer's website though donations are encouraged.
Blair Underwood and Joe Morton in Cuttin' Up
On Sunday at 6 p.m. ET, Playbill presents a live reading of Cuttin' Up, Charles Randolph-Wright's stage adaptation of Craig Marberry's book about three Black barbers of different generations, and the humor and wisdom they bestow on their customers and each other. Stage and screen stars Blair Underwood, Joe Morton and Dyllon Burnside lead a cast that includes Tisha Campbell as all the women who drop by the shop. Watch for free on Playbill's website though a $10 donation to the Classical Theatre of Harlem is suggested.
Songs for Our City Finale
On Sunday 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 is the final sing-off, with the finalists from the six previous evenings performing 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.
The Metropolitan Opera: Satyagraha
On Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares Philip Glass' Satyagraha, loosely inspired by Mahatma Gandhi's life and starring Rachelle Durkin, Richard Croft, Kim Josephson and Alfred Walker, conducted by Dante Anzolini. Filmed for the company's Live in HD series in 2011, it's 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, Glass' Akhnaten, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
The Seth Concert Series: Jessie Mueller
On Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, apparently, hosting a daily talk show online 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 in Provincetown with Broadway stars for the past decade. This summer he brings the show online, and tonight's headliner is Jessie Mueller, a beloved musical theatre star who was in the midst of making her Broadway dramatic acting debut in The Minutes when performance venues shut down. She's sure to talk about that experience, as well as sing numbers from the shows she's done, including Waitress, Carousel and her Tony-winning turn in Beautiful. Tickets are $25.
Everett Quinton in Der Ring Gott Farblonjet
On Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, in honor of Pride Month, Everett Quinton, the longtime life and stage partner of the late Charles Ludlam, headlines a live reading of one of their most celebrated collaborations, Der Ring Gott Farblonjet, a four-part parody of Wagner's "Ring" cycle, which premiered in 1977 at The Ridiculous Theatrical Company. Tonight's installment is titled Siegfried. Expect an outrageous, low-highbrow good time. Watch for free on St. John's Lutheran Church's Facebook page.
Top image: Blair Underwood.