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 Monday, December 14 and Tuesday, December 15, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.
Monday, December 14
The Old Vic: A Christmas Carol
On Monday at 2 p.m. ET, another Christmas Carol? Before you say, "Bah humbug," let me assure you, this is a magical mounting of Dickens' holiday redemption tale. Adapted by Tony-winning playwright Jack Thorne and staged by Tony-winning director Matthew Warchus, the show incorporates beautifully sung Christmas carols and insightful humor into the action. The production originated at London's Old Vic in 2017 and has been a holiday staple ever since—it even crossed the pond to play on Broadway last season. Walking Dead star Andrew Lincoln headlines this year's edition, which will be performed live on the Old Vic stage to an empty theatre and streamed to an at-home audience. Tickets start at £20, approximately $27. Closed captions and audio description are available.
The Seth Concert Series: James Monroe Iglehart
On Monday at 3 p.m. ET, apparently, hosting a daily online talk show and a Sirius XM Satellite Radio series isn't enough for the multitalented Seth Rudetsky. Well-known for his skills as a pianist, music director and interviewer, he's hosted a series of intimate live concerts with Broadway stars for the past decade. This year he brings the show online. Last night's headliner was James Monroe Iglehart and you can watch a recording today. A Tony winner for Aladdin, the Broadway vet can sing, dance, act and do cartwheels. But he's also a riotous rapper, as evidenced by his turns in Hamilton and as a member of the hip-hop improv troupe Freestyle Love Supreme. Tickets are $25.
92nd Street Y: Lyrics & Lyricists: The Theme From…: Songs Written for Film
On Monday at 7 p.m. ET, the 92nd Street Y's popular Lyrics & Lyricists concert series concludes with a program dedicated to songs from movies, including classics such as "The Man That Got Away" from A Star Is Born with Judy Garland and "Moon River" from Breakfast at Tiffany's. Musical theatre vets Farah Alvin, Nikki Renée Daniels, Brandon Victor Dixon, Katherine Henly, Jeff Kready, Kara Lindsay, Julia Murney, Zachary Noah Piser, Zachary Prince and Pearl Sun croon these cinematic tunes. Tickets are $15 and the recording remains available through Thursday, December 31.
Congress for Jewish Culture: The Dybbuk
On Monday at 7 p.m. ET, the Congress for Jewish Culture celebrates the centennial of S. Ansky's famous Yiddish play The Dybbuk with a virtual reading. Allen Lewis Rickman directs Mike Burstyn, Yelena Shmulenson, Shane Baker, Mendy Cahan, Refoyel Goldwasser, Daniel Kahn, Amitai Kedar, Suzanne Toren and Michael Wex in this tale of a young bride who needs to exorcise an ex—literally. Watch for free in Yiddish with English subtitles on the org's YouTube channel.
Theater in Quarantine: I am Sending You the Sacred Face
On Monday at 7 and 9 p.m. ET, experimental multihyphenate Joshua William Gelb, known for deconstructing complicated classics like The Jazz Singer, stars in I am Sending You the Sacred Face, a solo one-act musical by Obie winner Heather Christian about Mother Teresa. Gelb performs the piece live in drag from his East Village closet with all music and vocals prerecorded by Christian. Watch for free on Gelb's YouTube channel.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: A Jam Session for Troubling Times
On Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater continues its virtual season with A Jam Session for Troubling Times, a world-premiere piece by the troupe's resident choreographer Jamar Roberts, set to music by jazz greats Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. Created specifically for digital consumption, the work uses the uplifting sounds of bebop to raise our spirits during this challenging moment. Watch for free until Monday, December 21 on Ailey's website though donations are encouraged.
Red Bull Theater: A King and No King
On Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET, NYC's Red Bull Theater, known for revitalizing classics, presents A King and No King, the 17th-century tragicomedy by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher about a very dysfunctional royal family torn apart by incest and filicide. José Zayas directs a cast that includes Robert Cuccioli, Chukwudi Iwuji, Teresa Avia Lim, Cara Ricketts, Socorro Santiago, Reagan Tankersley, Craig Wallace and CJ Wilson. Tickets are required to receive the free viewing link; a $25 donation is suggested. A recording will be available until Friday at 7 p.m. ET.
The Metropolitan Opera: Samson et Dalila
On Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents Tony-winning director Darko Tresnjak's 2018 mounting of Saint-Saëns' Samson et Dalila, starring Elina Garanca and Roberto Alagna in the title roles of this Biblical tale. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, The Ghosts of Versailles, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
New Works Virtual Festival: Happy Couples
On Monday at 8 p.m. ET, the ambitious New Works Virtual Festival is showcasing 20 plays in 20 days, with a debut every evening at 8 p.m. ET through Christmas. Tonight is Connie Dinkler's dark comedy Happy Couples, about a dying billionaire who promises to leave his fortune to the couple in the family that can stay happily married. The cast includes Broadway favorites Santino Fontana, Eva Noblezada, Tracie Thoms and Mary Testa. Watch for free on YouTube.
Jim Caruso's Pajama Cast Party
On Monday at 8 p.m. ET, cabaret maven Jim Caruso welcomes renowned singers and up-and-comers at Pajama Cast Party, a live-streamed version of his popular weekly Cast Party gatherings that have taken place at Birdland for years. Tonight's lineup features some of the talented crooners who performed at the very first Cast Party back in 2003, including acclaimed singer-pianist Billy Stritch, brassy belter and Ethel Merman impressionist Klea Blackhurst, cabaret star Natalie Douglas and Erich Bergen (Waitress on Broadway, Madam Secretary on TV), who's become a sought-after digital producer during the pandemic. Watch for free on YouTube though tips via the Venmo app are appreciated.
Stars in the House: Super Shaw!
On Monday at 8 p.m. ET, Stars in the House presents an evening of the words and wisdom of George Bernard Shaw. Master Shaw interpreter David Staller curates and directs the live program, a mix of the Irish playwright's scenes, speeches and poems performed by Broadway stars Brenda Braxton, Michael Cerveris, Joel Grey, Marsha Mason, Patrick Page, Tonya Pinkins, Renee Taylor and Karen Ziemba. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Grace McLean - Live from Rockwood Music Hall
On Monday at 8 p.m. ET, actor-singer Grace McLean has a habit of stealing the spotlight with memorable supporting turns in Alice by Heart, Cyrano and Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812. In 2018, she took center stage at Lincoln Center as the star and writer of In the Green, a fascinating chamber musical examining the origin story of Hildegard von Bingen, one of the Middle Ages' most influential women. At this live concert streamed from Rockwood Music Hall, McLean will perform numbers from her singular, looped score as well as songs from her upcoming solo album. Tickets are $15.
PBS: Christmas With the Tabernacle Choir and Kelli O'Hara
On Monday at 9 p.m. ET, while The Tabernacle Choir was forced to cancel its lavish in-person holiday concert this year, PBS is airing 2019's spectacle featuring the 360-member chorus and Tony winner Kelli O'Hara as soloist. With scores of singers, musicians, bell ringers, dancers, the Gabriel Trumpet Ensemble, the Cold Creek bluegrass band, a living Nativity and Broadway's Richard Thomas as narrator, it's truly a sight to behold. Watch for free on TV on PBS Thirteen.
Tuesday, December 15
PBS: All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914
On Tuesday, a powerful work of docutheatre, All Is Calm commemorates the Christmas Truce of 1914, an unofficial ceasefire that brought troops from opposing sides of World War I together on December 24 for a night of caroling and companionship. Created by Minneapolis' Theater Latté Da, the show interweaves excerpts from letters and journals of soldiers who were there with trench songs and Christmas tunes performed a cappella. I saw this emotional piece at the Sheen Center two years ago and I get misty just thinking about it. It perfectly captures the spirit of the season: peace on earth and good will toward men. Watch for free until Thursday, December 31 on PBS' website.
The Old Vic: A Christmas Carol
On Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET, another Christmas Carol? Before you say, "Bah humbug," let me assure you, this is a magical mounting of Dickens' holiday redemption tale. Adapted by Tony-winning playwright Jack Thorne and staged by Tony-winning director Matthew Warchus, the show incorporates beautifully sung Christmas carols and insightful humor into the action. The production originated at London's Old Vic in 2017 and has been a holiday staple ever since—it even crossed the pond to play on Broadway last season. Walking Dead star Andrew Lincoln headlines this year's edition, which will be performed live on the Old Vic stage to an empty theatre and streamed to an at-home audience. Tickets start at £20, approximately $27. Closed captions and audio description are available.
Manhattan Theatre Club: Friendly Monsters
On Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET, Manhattan Theatre Club wraps up its virtual reading series with Penelope Skinner's Friendly Monsters, about a young woman who moves in with her more mature boyfriend only to discover he may not be the catch he seems. Nicole Charles directs. Watch for free until Saturday at 2 p.m. ET on MTC's YouTube channel.
The 24 Hour Plays: Viral Monologues
On Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET, catch the final 2020 installment of The 24 Hour Plays: Viral Monologues, a six-hour series of solos about how we're living today. Every 15 minutes from 6 p.m. until midnight, well-known actors—including Matthew Broderick, Kerry Butler, Daniel Dae Kim, Hugh Dancy, Willie Garson and Mirirai Sithole—perform tailor-made monologues, all penned and filmed within the last 24 hours. Participating playwrights include Will Arbery, Jeryl Brunner, Lily Houghton, Kenneth Lonergan, Ali MacLean, Roger Q Mason, Jonathan Marc Sherman and Jen Silverman. Watch on The 24 Hour Plays' Instagram though donations to You Gotta Believe are encouraged.
Keen Company Holiday Variety Hour
On Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. ET, the folks at Off Broadway's Keen Company enlist some of their talented pals for a '70s-style holiday variety show. Marsha Mason, Kate Baldwin, Kathleen Chalfant, Brenda Pressley, George Salazar and others will croon tunes, tell tales and share family recipes. Watch for free on Keen Company's website though donations are encouraged.
Irish Repertory Theatre: Meet Me in St. Louis
On Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET, for the holidays, the intrepid Irish Rep presents Meet Me in St. Louis. Last seen at the theatre in 2007, this old-fashioned musical is based on the cherished MGM movie of the same name about the growing pains of the tight-knit Smith family as they contemplate major changes in life and love at the turn of the 20th century. Charlotte Moore, who appeared in the 1989 Broadway mounting of the show, directs a cast headlined by Tony nominees Melissa Errico and Max Von Essen, and the classic score includes "The Trolley Song" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Reservations are required to receive the free viewing link but a $25 donation is suggested.
Disenchanted! Stay-At-Home Version
On Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET, iconic princesses indulge in gleefully evil behavior in Disenchanted!, Dennis T. Giacino's satirical musical about how Cinderella, Snow White, Pocahontas, Sleeping Beauty and their ilk really feel about their royal lives. A hit Off Broadway, this online incarnation is directed by Meg Fofonoff and boasts a starry cast, including Broadway favorites Celia Rose Gooding, Diana DeGarmo, Micaela Diamond and Alysha Umphress. Watch for free on Broadway on Demand though you need to create an account to log in.
La MaMa: Christmas in Virtual NickyLand 2020
On Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET, veteran The Club at La MaMa programming director Nicky Paraiso throws a radical holiday cabaret, with experimental artists performing from their homes around the world. The lineup includes Meredith Monk, Justin Elizabeth Sayre, Ginger Dolden, Paz Tanjuaquio, Kyle Dacuyan and Yoshiko Chuma. Watch for free on La MaMa's website though donations are encouraged.
Bob Dylan Center: Road to the North Country: Interpreting Dylan
On Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET, cast members from Girl From the North Country, which weaves Bob Dylan tunes into a poetic evocation of life during the Great Depression, gather for stories and songs on the musical's Facebook page. The show opened the week before Broadway shut down, and Todd Almond, Jeannette Bayardelle, Colton Ryan, Kimber Elayne Sprawl and Mare Winningham will talk about what they've been doing and perform select numbers. Watch for free on Girl From the North Country's Facebook page.
The Metropolitan Opera: Lohengrin
On Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares a gem from its vaults: a 1986 production of Wagner's Lohengrin starring Peter Hofmann as the title knight of the Holy Grail and Eva Marton as his lady love. Leonie Rysanek, Leif Roar and John Macurdy costar. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Samson et Dalila, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Home for the Holidays
On Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET, Ain't Too Proud's Jelani Remy hosts this starry benefit concert for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, featuring Alan Cumming, André De Shields, Lena Hall, Heather Headley, Ramin Karimloo, Karen Olivo and other Broadway vets singing seasonal favorites and sharing holiday traditions directly from their homes. Watch for free until Saturday on Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS' website though donations are encouraged.
PBS: Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas
On Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET, Tony nominee Vanessa Williams hosts the syncopated celebration Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas, a recreation of the jazz singer's holiday album of the same name. Backed by the American Pops Orchestra, Broadway vets Norm Lewis, Carmen Ruby Floyd, Morgan James and Williams herself will croon seasonal classics, including "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" and "Frosty the Snowman." Watch for free on TV on PBS Thirteen.
New Works Virtual Festival: We the People
On Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET, the ambitious New Works Virtual Festival is showcasing 20 plays in 20 days, with a debut every evening at 8 p.m. ET through Christmas. Tonight is Harrison Zeiberg's We the People, examining the behind-the-scenes historical drama at the Constitutional Convention as America's Founding Fathers figure out how to lead their new country. The cast includes Broadway vets Jon Rua (from Hamilton!), Adam Jacobs, Andy Grotelueschen and Jawan Jackson. Watch for free on YouTube.
Available to Watch Both Days
Bristol Old Vic: The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk
The UK's Bristol Old Vic presents Daniel Jamieson's The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, a play with music about the romance between fantastical painter Marc Chagall and his wife, Bella, who faced pogroms and the Russian Revolution as a young couple. The always innovative Emma Rice staged the show last week at the theatre with Marc Antolin and Audrey Brisson as the lovers, and a recording is available to watch with proceeds going to various regional stages, including NYC's Skirball Center. Tickets are £16, approximately $21, and the recording is viewable until Saturday. Audio described and closed captioned versions are also available.
The divine Lesli Margherita stars as a middle-aged Cindy Lou Who in Matthew Lombardo's satirical skewering of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! A hit Off Broadway in 2017, this solo comedy finds the little girl who melted the Grinch's heart all grown up and not doing well. As she prepares her Christmas Eve party in her trailer park, she lets loose with her raunchy and rhyming autobiography. Watch for free until Tuesday on Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS' YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
New York City Ballet: George Balanchine's The Nutcracker
New York City Ballet presents The Nutcracker choreographed by George Balanchine. This legendary version of Tchaikovsky's Christmas ballet was recorded last year during its annual holiday engagement at Lincoln Center and stars NYCB principal dancers Maria Kowroski as the Sugarplum Fairy, Tyler Angle as her Cavalier and Megan Fairchild as Dewdrop. Tickets are $25 and the recording is viewable until Sunday, January 3, 2021.
San Francisco Playhouse: Songs for a New World
San Francisco Playhouse presents Songs for a New World, Tony winner Jason Robert Brown's breakthrough musical revue, a series of insightful numbers featuring a wide array of characters grappling with pivotal moments in life and love. Filmed live on stage at the theatre during quarantine, the production stars John Paul Gonzalez, Cate Hayman, Rodney Earl Jackson Jr. and Katrina Lauren McGraw. Tickets start at $15.
The American Dance Guild Performance Festival: 10 Years Over 10 Weeks
Each year, the American Dance Guild produces a festival that includes salutes to iconic dance-makers. Since the event is virtual this year, the organizers have transformed it into a retrospective of the last decade of honorees, with archival recordings released every Monday. The final program features tributes to 2019's masters Jody Gottfried Arnhold, Gus Solomons Jr. and Abdel R. Salaam. Watch for free until Sunday on Vimeo though donations are encouraged.
Williamstown Theatre Festival: Photograph 51
Although the celebrated Williamstown Theatre Festival had to cancel its in-person summer season, some of the scheduled productions were reimagined and recorded as audio plays, a genre that has exploded during the pandemic. The second release is an audio mounting of Photograph 51, Anna Ziegler's history play about chemist Rosalind Franklin, who unlocked secrets about DNA while battling 20th-century sexism in science. Anna Chlumsky stars as Franklin, and David Corenswet, Aasif Mandvi and Omar Metwally play some of the men who undermined her achievements. The recording costs $8.
Top image: Andrew Lincoln as Scrooge in The Old Vic's live-streamed Christmas Carol. Photo courtesy of the theatre.