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30+ Stage Performances to Watch Friday Through Sunday, July 31-August 2

Date: Jul 31, 2020


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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 Friday through Sunday, July 31 to August 2, for free or at very low cost.

Friday, July 31

The Royal Ballet: The Mad Hatter's Tea Party
On Friday at 2 p.m. ET, London's Royal Ballet presents The Mad Hatter's Tea Party, a hip-hop fantasia inspired by Lewis Carroll's classic Alice in Wonderland characters. Created by ZooNation: the Kate Prince Company, this piece centers on a young psychotherapist at the Institute for Extremely Normal Behavior, who's treating patients who say they're the March Hare, the Mad Hatter, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, and the Queen of Hearts. Watch for free until Friday, August 14 on YouTube.

Black Theatre Week: Black Theatre Preview
On Friday at 2 p.m. ET, the Black Theatre Network wraps up its 34th annual Black Theatre Week with a preview of what Black theatres across the country are planning for the upcoming season, and how their programming has been shaped by the pandemic and ongoing protests. Watch for free on the Black Theatre Network's Facebook page.

Greenwich Theatre: The Secret Love Life of Ophelia
On Friday at 2:30 p.m. ET, London's Greenwich Theatre presents The Secret Love Life of Ophelia, Steven Berkoff's epistolary exploration of the romance between Hamlet and his ill-fated girlfriend. This virtual adaptation of the play reimagines the letters as video messages delivered by 40 diverse actors, with a cameo by Helen Mirren. Watch for free until Friday, August 14 on the theatre's YouTube channel.

Live with Atlantic: The Creative Team of The Secret Life of Bees
On Friday at 4 p.m. ET, the lauded Atlantic Theater Company presents a live conversation with the creative team of The Secret Life of Bees, which was a hit for the theatre last summer. Director Sam Gold, book writer Lynn Nottage, lyricist Susan Birkenhead and composer Duncan Sheik will discuss their work on the musical, and perhaps play a song or two. The performance takes place on the free app Zoom, which you'll need to download in beforehand. Register in advance to receive the free viewing link.

Mary Testa on Virtual Halston
On Friday at 5 p.m. ET, Julie Halston, Broadway funny lady and longtime friend to TDF, welcomes one of her hilarious stage peers, three-time Tony nominee Mary Testa. We know these divas have a lot to dish about, including their shared role of the imperious Madame Maude P. Dilly in On the Town, which they both played in different revivals of the musical. Watch for free on YouTube.

The Metropolitan Opera: Rusalka
On Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents Antonín Dvorák's Rusalka, a tragic Little Mermaid-like tale about a water sprite who yearns to become human in order to fall in love. Tony winner Mary Zimmerman directs the production, which stars Kristine Opolais, Tenor Brandon Jovanovich, Eric Owens and Jamie Barton. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Il Trovatore, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.

Stars in the House: Avenue Q Reunion
On Friday at 8 p.m. ET, it won't suck to be you as Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome members of the original Broadway cast of Avenue Q to Stars in the House. John Tartaglia, Stephanie D'Abruzzo, Jordan Gelber, Ann Harada, Rick Lyon and Jennifer Barnhart will tell stories and sing a few songs from the puppet-filled coming-of-age musical, which traveled from Off Broadway to on and then back again during its 16-year run. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.

Dixon Place HOT! Festival: The Pride of Lions
On Friday at 8 p.m. ET, Dixon Place continues its 29th annual queer culture fest with The Pride of Lions, Roger Q. Mason's exploration of how the U.S. justice system has treated queer people throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. This excerpt focuses on five female impersonators in Mae West's controversial Broadway play The Pleasure Man and their experiences after being arrested for indecency. Pay-what-you-can tickets are available to purchase from the theatre.

TWFest: The Kindness of Strangers: A Celebration of Tennessee Williams and His Life in New Orleans
On Friday at 8 p.m. ET, famous fans of Tennessee Williams share stories about and scenes by the legendary playwright. Bryan Batt hosts and those paying tribute include Tony winners Betty Buckley and Michael Cerveris, along with Broadway vets Patricia Clarkson, Alison Fraser, John Goodman, Rodney Hicks, Wendell Pierce and Kathleen Turner. Watch for free on TWFest's website though donations are encouraged.

Great Performances: Kevin Kline in Present Laughter
On Friday at 9 p.m. ET, PBS Thirteen is airing Moritz von Stuelpnagel's effervescent 2017 mounting of Noël Coward's Present Laughter starring Kevin Kline, who earned his third Tony Award for portraying narcissistic actor Garry Essendine, plagued by midlife fears, an uncontrollable libido and obsessed fans. Kate Burton, Kristine Nielsen and Cobie Smulders costar. Watch for free on TV on PBS Thirteen. If you don't live in NYC, check the schedule of your local PBS station.

Saturday, August 1

Metropolitan Opera Stars Live in Concert: Renée Fleming
On Saturday at 1 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera continues its series of recitals with Renée Fleming, a beloved diva known for her work in opera houses and on Broadway. With Robert Ainsley at the piano, the star will perform popular arias by Massenet, R. Strauss and Puccini, as well as a touching rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," live from the music salon of Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C. Tickets cost $20 and a recording of the performance will remain available until Wednesday, August 12.

Ham4Change: A Virtual Fundraiser Event
On Saturday at 1 p.m. ET, original Hamilton stars Phillipa Soo, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Christopher Jackson and Jonathan Groff are joined by other actors in the Ham fam, including Brian d'Arcy James and Andrew Rannells, for a live-streamed event benefiting various orgs fighting against systemic racism. Tune in for songs, stories and social justice. Tickets are $10.75.

Stars in the House: Stick Fly
On Saturday at 2 p.m. ET, Stars in the House continues its popular live reading series with Stick Fly, Lydia R. Diamond's drama about race, class and gender tensions, and the secrets that surface at a well-to-do Black family's summer home on Martha's Vineyard. Dell Howlett directs Jelani Alladin, Caroline Innerbichler, Keith Randolph Smith, Tiffany Rachelle Stewart, Daniel J. Watts and Renika Williams in the play, which ran on Broadway during the 2011-2012 season. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.

Theater for the New City: Liberty or Just Us: a City Park Story
On Saturday at 2 p.m. ET, for decades, Theater for the New City has performed politically relevant, all-ages street theatre throughout the five boroughs every summer. This season the show goes online with Liberty or Just Us: a City Park Story, an oratorio that celebrates the history of New York City parks as sites of activism and protest. Written and directed by the theatre's co-founder Crystal Field with music by Joseph Vernon Banks, the show is family-friendly and encourages singing and chanting along. Watch for free on Theater for the New City's website. Also on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.

Play-PerView: RoosevElvis
On Saturday at 5 p.m. ET, the live reading series Play-PerView presents RoosevElvis, a devised theatre piece by Brooklyn-based ensemble The TEAM about Elvis Presley and Theodore Roosevelt battling over the soul of a shy meat-processing plant worker. This event reunites the cast and creative team of the play's 2013 Off-Off Broadway premiere: actors Kristen Sieh and Libby King and director Rachel Chavkin, who went on to win a Tony Award for helming Hadestown on Broadway. The performance takes place on the free app Zoom, which you'll need to download beforehand. Tickets start at $5 and benefit The TEAM and Emergency Release Fund. This won't be available after-the-fact.

Source Material: In These Uncertain Times
On Saturday at 7 p.m. ET, Source Material presents In These Uncertain Times, a digital meditation on what theatre looks like during the age of COVID-19, as a half dozen actors bitch, drink, play games and try to perform in this new reality. Devised by the experimental company specifically for Zoom, the hour-long work is directed by Samantha Shay. Pay-what-you-can tickets are available on the theatre's website. Also on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.

The Metropolitan Opera: Ernani
On Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares a gem from its vaults: Pier Luigi Samaritani’s 1983 mounting of Verdi's Ernani, starring the late great Luciano Pavarotti in the title role of the wronged nobleman turned bandit, and Leona Mitchell as his lady love. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Rusalka, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.

Dixon Place: HOT! Festival
Downtown staple Dixon Place wraps up its 29th annual queer culture fest with:

Celebrities for #SavetheArts on Stars in the House
On Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, for the second time this week, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome a cavalcade of boldface names to Stars in the House in honor of the #SavetheArts campaign. The lineup of stars asking our government to take action includes ballet icon Misty Copeland, six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald, Ben Stiller, Rosie Perez, TV star Justina Machado and many surprise guests. Watch for free on YouTube and then let your local politicians know the arts are essential!

Broadway Bares: Zoom In
On Saturday at 9:30 p.m. ET, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS presents a virtual edition of its annual fundraiser Broadway Bares featuring stage performers showing off their sexy sides in socially distant stripteases. Creator and Tony-winning director Jerry Mitchell oversees this online ogling fest, a mix of brand-new numbers, recordings of old favorites and special guest appearances by Charles Busch, Lea DeLaria, J. Harrison Ghee, Nathan Lee Graham, Debbie Gravitte, Jane Krakowski, Nathan Lane, Beth Leavel, Judith Light, Lesli Margherita, Angie Schworer, Marc Shaiman, Miriam Shor, Christopher Sieber, Wesley Taylor and other fabulous folks. Watch for free on Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS' YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.

Sunday, August 2

The Fire This Time Festival
On Sunday at 8 a.m. ET, WNET's All Arts series spotlights The Fire This Time Festival, an annual NYC event featuring new work by emerging Black playwrights. The 11th edition took place earlier this year, and this program includes recordings of seven world-premiere playlets exploring a wide range of subjects such as Black masculinity, legendary Black trans activist Marsha P. Johnson, birthing while Black and the ongoing scourge of racism. Watch for free on All Arts' website.

Stars in the House: Theatre Raleigh
On Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, Stars in the House passes the camera to Lauren Kennedy Brady, the artistic director of North Carolina's Theatre Raleigh, who'll welcome performers for songs and stories about the regional company. Watch for free on YouTube.

The Metropolitan Opera: Die Walküre
On Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents Die Walküre, the second opera in Wagner's "Ring" cycle, with Brünnhilde defying her god father Wotan. Christine Goerke, Eva-Maria Westbroek, Jamie Barton, Stuart Skelton, Greer Grimsley and Günther Groissböck star in this 2019 mounting. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Ernani, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.

The Seth Concert Series: Cheyenne Jackson
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 two-time Tony nominee Cheyenne Jackson. Before he became a TV star on 30 Rock and American Horror Story, Jackson was a golden-voiced Broadway hunk, starring in a succession of musicals such as All Shook Up, Xanadu and Finian's Rainbow. We're looking forward to hearing him croon again! Tickets are $20.

Playdate Theater
On Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, Playdate Theater, a new virtual theatre series featuring 15-minute world-premiere "screen-plays," continues with a pair of playlets. Jenna Rossman's Today I Saw a Bird and Watched You Fly Away With It, about a work call that goes off the rails, and Lizz Bogaard's Waze featuring The Mindy Project's Ed Weeks as a guy whose job interview is interrupted by his overbearing grandmother, portrayed by The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel's Caroline Aaron. Tickets start at $5.

All Weekend

The New Group: The Spoils Starring Jesse Eisenberg
The New Group presents The Spoils, written by and starring Oscar nominee Jesse Eisenberg as an unpleasant man-child who sets out to romance his grade-school crush—even though she's engaged to someone else. The play was a hit for the theatre in 2015, and this reading, which was recorded live on Thursday night, reunites the original Off-Broadway cast including Kunal Nayyar (The Big Band Theory), Michael Zegen (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) and Erin Darke. Tickets are $25 and you can watch anytime until Sunday.

Linda Purl in The Year of Magical Thinking
Theatre and TV star Linda Purl (The Oath, The Office) performs The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion's stage adaptation and expansion of her best-selling memoir exploring the death of her husband, John Gregory Dunne, and their daughter's fragile health. Make sure you have tissues handy! Tickets are $20 and proceeds benefit The Actors Fund.

#WhileWeBreathe: A Night of Creative Protest
BIPOC theatre artists and allies come together for a series of shorts illuminating this pivotal moment in our nation's history. Tony winner Patina Miller, Emmy winner Lynn Whitfield, Classical Theatre of Harlem's Ty Jones, Tony nominee Will Swenson and others star in playlets by Lee Edward Colston II, Arvind Ethan David, Cheryl L. Davis, Nathan Alan Davis, Steve Harper, Azure D. Osborne-Lee, Liza Jessie Peterson, Bianca Sams, Keenan Scott II, Aurin Squire and Khari Wyatt. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, The Bail Project and other social justice organizations are encouraged.

Scott Siegel's Great American Songbook Concert: Volume 7
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 Contact Tony winner Karen Ziemba, Side Show Tony nominee Emily Skinner, singer-pianist Mark Nadler, and Broadway vets Kerry O'Malley and Michael Winther. Watch for free on YouTube.

The Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park: Much Ado About Nothing
There may be no Shakespeare in the Park this season, but you can enjoy one of the series' best productions in recent years online: last summer's Much Ado About Nothing. Directed by Tony winner Kenny Leon and featuring an all-Black cast led by the fabulous Danielle Brooks (The Color Purple, Orange Is the New Black) and Grantham Coleman, this is one of my favorite mountings of the Bard's romantic comedy, a production that is often hilarious but also highlights the ongoing battle for equality. Watch for free anytime until Saturday, September 12 on PBS' website.

Manual Cinema: Lula del Ray
Over the next month, the multimedia theatre collective Manual Cinema, which combines puppetry and filmic elements, is sharing recordings of one eye-popping show each week. First up is its 2012 coming-of-age fable Lula del Ray, set in the mid-century American Southwest and inspired by classic country and western music. Watch for free until Monday on the company's website.

Disney Cruise Line: Tangled: The Musical
This hour-long production of Disney Cruise Line's Tangled: The Musical gives us a taste of two things we can't do right now: in-person theatre and cruises! Recorded in 2015 aboard one of its boats, the show is based on Disney's animated movie of the same name and features all of the beloved songs by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, plus three new numbers. Broadway director Gordon Greenberg helmed this production, which has amazing puppets created by Beetlejuice wiz Michael Curry. Watch for free on Disney Parks' YouTube channel.

A Kids Play About Racism
Forty-one children's theatres across the country are behind this new online musical for kids that explores racism and how to fight to dismantle it in an age-appropriate way. Based on Jelani Memory's A Kids Book About Racism, this short but powerful piece was adapted and directed by Khalia Davis, with music by Justin Ellington and lyrics by Davied Morales, who also stars. Recommended for ages 5 and up. Watch for free on Broadway on Demand though donations are encouraged.


Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.

Top image: The opening number of Broadway Bares 2018. Photo by Matthew Murphy.