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, May 30 and 31, for free (or at low cost).
The Shows Must Go On! presents Hairspray Live!, one of the better live TV musicals of recent years. Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman's tuneful Tony-winning rom-com celebrates the style and civil rights movement of the '60s, as a zaftig teen's dream to dance on TV sparks social change. This 2016 mounting features original Tony-winning star Harvey Fierstein in drag as Edna Turnblad, Martin Short as her adoring hubby, Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson as activist Maybelle "Motormouth" Stubbs, pop star Ariana Grande as Penny Pingleton, Tony winner Kristin Chenoweth as vampy villain Velma Von Tussle, Disney Channel vet Dove Cameron as Amber Von Tussle, Ain't Too Proud Tony nominee Ephraim Sykes as Seaweed J. Stubbs and newcomer Maddie Baillio as the indominable Tracy Turnblad. Whether you're a longtime fan or have never seen it (is that even possible?!), this is an excellent production that's vastly superior to the 2007 movie. Watch for free anytime through Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on YouTube.
Holiday Inn, The New Irving Berlin Musical
BroadwayHD presents a no-cost screening of Roundabout Theatre Company's Holiday Inn, a stage adaptation of the classic Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire movie of the same name, minus its problematic elements (i.e. the blackface number). A backstage musical comedy about the romantic drama among the main players at an inn that mounts lavish holiday spectacles, the show features beloved Irving Berlin songs ("Blue Skies," "White Christmas," "Easter Parade") and stars Tony nominee Bryce Pinkham and celebrated hoofer Corbin Bleu. Watch for free anytime through Monday on on BroadwayHD.
The new theatre streaming service Broadway on Demand presents Allegiance, a landmark Broadway musical about an American family forced by the U.S. government into a Japanese internment camp during World War II. The show was loosely based on the life of Star Trek's George Takei, who stars alongside Katie Rose Clarke, Telly Leung and Tony winner Lea Salonga. Tickets cost $8.99.
Chita: A Legendary Celebration
In honor of the two-time Tony winner's 80th birthday in 2013, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids hosted this sold-out, one-night-only event featuring Chita Rivera performing alongside Tommy Tune and Ben Vereen. This recording includes new interviews with Rivera from her home interspersed among the songs and stories. Watch for free on Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids' website though donations are encouraged.
New York City Ballet: 21st Century Choreographers
For the final offering in NYCB's online spring season, the troupe presents an exciting lineup of recent works by some of the biggest choreographers on today's dance scene. You can peruse the full program on the company's website, but highlights include excerpts from Justin Peck's The Times Are Racing, Pam Tanowitz's Bartók Ballet, Alexei Ratmansky's Voices and Kyle Abraham's The Runaway. Watch for free on NYCB's YouTube channel through Monday at 8 p.m. ET.
National Theatre: This House
London's National Theatre presents This House, James Graham's gripping examination of Britain's political strife in the '70s. Much as he did for his Tony-nominated play Ink, Graham uses historical events to illuminate current woes, both in the U.K. and the U.S. This play may have been filmed in 2013 but its exploration of polarized politics feels insanely timely. Watch for free through Thursday, June 4 at 2 p.m. ET on the National Theatre's YouTube channel.
Love's Labour's Lost at the Stratford Festival
Ontario's venerable Stratford Festival continues its Shakespeare on Film series with Love's Labour's Lost, an effervescent comedy about a quartet of men who swear off women in order to study... but fate has other plans. Tony-winning Les Misérables director John Caird helmed this 2015 production for the stage, and you can watch for free on the Stratford Festival's YouTube channel.
Irish Repertory Theatre: The Gifts You Gave to the Dark
The resilient Irish Rep kicks off its all-digital summer season with the world-premiere one-act The Gifts You Gave to the Dark. Written by Darren Murphy to be performed online, the drama centers on the final remote conversation between Tom, sick in Belfast with COVID-19, and his elderly mother Rose, who's on her deathbed in Dublin. Directed by Caitríona McLaughlin, the play stars Seán McGinley, Marty Rea and The Beauty Queen of Leenane Tony winner Marie Mullen. Watch for free anytime through October on the Irish Rep's YouTube channel.
The Royal Ballet: The Cellist
London's Royal Ballet shares a recording of The Cellist , choreographed by Cathy Marston and inspired by the life of cellist Jacqueline du Pré, who died of multiple sclerosis. Watch for free on the venue's YouTube channel.
Stars in the House Presents Ever So Humble
On Saturday at 2 p.m. ET, Stars in the House presents a live reading of Ever So Humble, Tim Pinckney's modern-day NYC-set comedy loosely inspired by E. M. Forster's novel Howards End. In case you're wondering, this was written years before The Inheritance and is a decidedly lighter take on the source material. The cast includes The Humans Tony winner Reed Birney, Memphis Tony nominee Montego Glover, Ryan Spahn, Michael Urie and Andréa Burns, who appeared in the play's 2011 premiere at Ithaca, NY's Hangar Theatre. Watch for free on YouTube.
Lincoln Center Dance Week: Ballet Hispánico
On Saturday at 2 p.m. ET, Lincoln Center at Home kicks off six days of thrilling dance performances, all pulled from its extensive archives. First up is a dynamic double bill by Ballet Hispánico: Pedro Ruiz's Latin dance-infused Club Havana, and Gustavo Ramírez Sansano's CARMEN.maquia, a Picasso-inspired take on Bizet's famous opera. Watch for free on Lincoln Center's Facebook page.
Martha Graham Dance Company: Letter to the World
On Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET, the Martha Graham Dance Company presents the second half of Letter to the World, the modern dance legend's mythic exploration of the imagination and emotional life of Emily Dickinson, created in 1940. The program features footage of an early cast with Graham, Erick Hawkins and Merce Cunningham, as well as a 1972 mounting with Pearl Lang. Watch for free on the dance company's YouTube channel.
Robert Creighton: Holiday Happy! at Feinstein's/54 Below
On Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET, Feinstein's/54 Below shares a recording of Robert Creighton: Holiday Happy!, an exuberant 2017 concert by the Cagney quadruple threat (he writes songs, too!). Backed by a jazzy trio, the Broadway vet performs beloved seasonal staples as well as his own tunes, and shares stories about his career. Watch for free on the club's YouTube channel. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.
L’Elisir d’Amore at the Met
On Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares its 2011 mounting of Donizetti's Faust, starring Pretty Yende, Matthew Polenzani, Davide Luciano and Ildebrando D’Arcangelo, conducted by Domingo Hindoyan. The production was filmed for the company's Live in HD series, 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, La Sonnambula, until 6:30 p.m. today.
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On Saturday at 8 p.m., Off-Broadway's invaluable Vineyard Theatre hosts a star-studded benefit performance: the [title of show] show Vineyard Theatre Virtual Variety Show show. Don't let the unwieldy title deter you! This old-school revue promises to be a memorable night. It's hosted by the affable quartet behind the meta-musical [title of show], Hunter Bell, Susan Blackwell, Heidi Blickenstaff and Jeff Bowen, who've created fresh material for themselves and their big-name guests, including Tony winners Lin-Manuel Miranda, Audra McDonald, Laura Benanti, Bill Irwin, Linda Lavin, Kelli O'Hara, Leslie Odom Jr. and Victoria Clark, as well as Billy Crudup, Alex Newell, Michael Urie, Steven Pasquale, Phillipa Soo, Zachary Quinto and Brooke Shields. To watch, donate at least $25 to the theatre by noon on Saturday or, if you're a TDF members, you can pay a discounted rate to see the show after-the-fact, starting on Sunday.
Falsettoland Cast Reunion on Stars in the House
On Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome the cast of Falsettoland to Stars in the House. The final installment in William Finn's groundbreaking "Marvin Trilogy," this 1990 musical explored the complicated but ultimately loving relationships between two ex-spouses and their new lovers at the start of the AIDS epidemic. This one-act musical ended up serving as the second half of the Tony-nominated Falsettos on Broadway two years later, but this is a reunion of that original Off-Broadway cast: Stephen Bogardus, Janet Metz, Faith Prince, Michael Rupert and Chip Zien. This twice daily show benefits The Actors' Fund, and you can watch for free on YouTube.
Kristin Chenoweth and Kelli O'Hara Headline Stars Align Concert
On Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, Tony winners Kristin Chenoweth and Kelli O'Hara will be joined by 100 singers from their alma mater, Oklahoma City University, for a Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS benefit concert. Although they may not be bold-faced names, many of their fellow alums have been on Broadway, so we expect a tuneful evening. Watch for free on YouTube though donations are encouraged.
Lincoln Center Dance Week: A Midsummer Night's Dream by New York City Ballet
On Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, Lincoln Center at Home continues its online dance festival with a 1986 recording of A Midsummer Night's Dream by New York City Ballet. Choreographer George Balanchine's adaptation of Shakespeare's effervescent romantic comedy is set to music by Felix Mendelssohn, and stars Maria Calegari and Ib Andersen as the volatile head fairies Titania and Oberon. Watch for free on Lincoln Center's Facebook page.
Stars in the House Presents Space Girl
On Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, Stars in the House continues its weekly Plays in the House Jr. reading series for young audiences with Mora Harris' Space Girl, an inventive sci-fi story about an extraterrestrial teenage lesbian posing as an American public high school student. The cast includes Broadway babies Lilla Crawford (Annie) and Storm Lever (Summer). Watch for free on YouTube.
Kings of Broadway 2020: A Celebration of the Music of Jule Styne, Jerry Herman & Stephen Sondheim
On Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, a cavalcade of mostly British stage stars will perform songs by three musical theatre legends: Jule Styne, Jerry Herman and Stephen Sondheim. The best known names stateside are Tony nominees Liz Callaway and Ramin Karimloo, but you can also hear the song stylings of well-known performers across the pond, including Louise Dearman, Janie Dee, Fra Fee, Michael Xavier and Jenna Russell. Watch for free on YouTube.
Play-PerView: Too Heavy for Your Pocket
On Sunday at 3 p.m. ET, the live-streamed theatre series Play-PerView presents a reading of Too Heavy for Your Pocket, Jireh Breon Holder's well-reviewed drama about a young black man in the '60s torn between attending college or joining the Freedom Riders. The play ran at the Roundabout Theatre Company in 2017, and this event reunites that cast: Eboni Flowers, Hampton Fluker, Brandon Gill and Nneka Okafor. The performance takes place on the free app Zoom, which you'll need to download in advance. Tickets start at $5, and proceeds benefit the nonprofit Ma-Yi Theater Company. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.
Irish Arts Center: A Night in November Part III
On Sunday at 3 p.m. ET, the Irish Arts Center presents the final installment of A Night in November, Marie Jones' one-man play about an Irishman's epiphany in 1990s Belfast. Performed by Matthew Forsythe in his home, the show was split into three sections online. Part I and Part II are already available, and you can watch Part III on Sunday on the Irish Arts Center's YouTube channel.
Virtual Pride Parade
On Sunday at 3 p.m. ET, LGBTQ organization The Lavender Effect hosts a Virtual Pride Parade. Alexandra Billing—who was making history as the first trans actress to play Madame Morrible in Wicked on Broadway when the shutdown hit—will serve as the grand marshall, and celebrities scheduled to appear or perform include Lily Tomlin, Judith Light, Sean Hayes, Audra McDonald, Betty Buckley, Sandra Bernhard, Drew Droege and Charles Bush. Tickets start at $0 but you must register in advance on The Lavender Effect's website.
Salome at the Met
On Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares its 2008 mounting of Strauss' Salome, starring Karita Mattila, Ildikó Komlósi, Kim Begley, Joseph Kaiser and Juha Uusitalo, conducted by Patrick Summers. The production was filmed for the company's Live in HD series, 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, L'Elisir d'Amore, until 6:30 p.m. today.
POSTPONED: Drama Desk Awards
On Sunday at 7:30 p.m., the theatre season may have ended early, but we can still celebrate the shows that went on at the 65th annual Drama Desk Awards. Unlike the Tonys, which only recognize Broadway productions, the Drama Desk considers all New York City theatre: Broadway, Off Broadway and Off-Off. The nominees were revealed back in April, and tonight the winners will be announced by a starry list of presenters, including Tituss Burgess, James Corden, Kristin Chenoweth, Alan Cumming, Santino Fontana, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jane Krakowski, Patti LuPone and Audra McDonald. Watch for free on the Drama Desk's website or on NY1 if you have Spectrum Cable.
The Seth Concert Series: Kelli O'Hara
On Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, apparently, hosting a twice 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 with Broadway stars for the past decade. This summer he brings the show online, and first up is Tony winner Kelli O'Hara. In addition to performing songs from the shows she's starred in (The King and I, Kiss Me, Kate, The Bridges of Madison County), Rudestsky will get the diva to dish! He is a master at inspiring celebrities to open up. Tickets are $25.
Lincoln Center Dance Week: American Ballet Theatre
On Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, Lincoln Center at Home continues its online dance festival with an evening of repertory by American Ballet Theatre. Recorded in 1978, the program includes Michel Fokine's Les Sylphides set to music by Chopin; George Balanchine's plotless ballet Theme and Variations performed by Gelsey Kirkland and Mikhail Baryshnikov to a Tchaikovsky score; and Fokine's Firebird set to Stravinsky. Watch for free on Lincoln Center's Facebook page.
The Quarantine Theatre Company: A Streetcar Named Desire
On Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, inestimable downtown performance artist and truth teller Penny Arcade plays Blanche DuBois opposite folk-rock star Steve Earle in an online reading of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire . The supporting cast includes Tammy Faye Starlite as Stella and Tony nominee Austin Pendleton as Mitch. You'll never see the play the same way again! Watch for free on YouTube.
Sordid Lives Reading
On Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, a cast of funny folks performs Sordid Lives, Del Shores' over-the-top comedy about the outrageous exploits of an eccentric Texas family. The play is a longtime regional theatre favorite that's also been turned into a movie and a TV series, and this mounting stars actors who've been part of other incarnations, including Bonnie Bedelia, Beau Bridges, Leslie Jordan and Caroline Rhea. Watch for free on YouTube.
Top image: Maddie Baillio and Harvey Fierstein from Hairspray Live!. Photo by Brian Bowen Smith/NBC.