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 Halloween weekend, Friday through Sunday, October 30 to November 1, for free or at low cost.
Friday, October 30
Signature Theatre: The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World Reunion Reading
Four years ago, Off Broadway's lauded Signature Theatre revived Suzan-Lori Parks' The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World AKA the Negro Book of the Dead. Sadly, the play's exploration of violence against Black bodies feels even more urgent now, which is why the theatre reunited the cast to record a live reading. Lileana Blain-Cruz once again directs William Demeritt, Patrena Murray, Reynaldo Piniella, Julian Rozzell, Roslyn Ruff, Mirirai Sithole, David Ryan Smith, Daniel J. Watts, Jamar Williams and Amelia Workman in this poetic evocation of a never-ending cycle of racism as a Black man dies over and over and over. Tickets are required to receive the free viewing link; the recording is viewable until Saturday at 6 p.m. ET.
George Street Playhouse: Conscience
New Jersey's George Street Playhouse presents Conscience about US Senator Margaret Chase, who heroically denounced McCarthyism in her 1950 "Declaration of Conscience" speech. Written by Memphis Tony winner Joe DiPietro, this play was running at the New Brunswick theatre when the shutdown hit. Director David Saint reunites castmates Mark Junek, Lee Sellars, Cathryn Wake and Tony winner Harriet Harris as the courageous Chase for this virtual production. Tickets are pay-what-you-wish but a $25 donation is suggested. The recording is viewable until Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.
Virtual Halston: Bill Irwin
On Friday at 5 p.m. ET, after taking off most of the month, Broadway scene-stealer Julie Halston resumes her weekly chatfest with Tony-winning actor, director and master mime Bill Irwin. Halston is one of his biggest fans, and he's been doing some really fabulous work both online and in person since the shutdown, so they'll definitely have lots to discuss. Watch for free on YouTube.
Karen, I Said
On Friday at 6 p.m. ET, writer, performer and TDF Stages contributor Eliza Bent explores the phenomenon of white wokeness with wit and bite in her solo show Karen, I Said, directed by Tara Ahmedinejad. Tickets start at $5 and a portion of the proceeds go to the Black LGBTQ org Brave Space Alliance.
Theatre for a New Audience: Sovereignty
On Friday at 7 p.m. ET, Brooklyn's Theatre for a New Audience kicks off its digital fall season with Mary Kathryn Nagle's drama Sovereignty, about a present-day Cherokee lawyer fighting a pivotal jurisdiction case before the US Supreme Court that brings up the painful legacy of her marginalized people. Laurie Woolery directs DeLanna Studi, Gary Farmer, Derek Garza, Danforth Comins, Shyla Lefner, Enrico Nassi, Max Woertendyke, Daniel Pearce and Christopher Ryan Grant in this live performance. Reservations are required to receive the free viewing link.
New Federal Theatre: Stories About the Old Days
On Friday at 7 p.m. ET, New Federal Theatre, one of NYC's leading Black companies, wraps up its Friday night reading series of important plays from its past with Bill Harris' Stories About the Old Days, about two struggling old-timers in '80s Detroit. LaTanya Richardson Jackson first directed this production in 1986, and she returns to helm this virtual performance starring Broadway vet Michael Potts (The Prom, The Book of Mormon) and Pauletta Washington as two singers who form an unexpected bond. Watch for free until Sunday on New Federal Theatre's website though donations are encouraged.
Christina Bianco: Crown Control
On Friday at 7 p.m. ET, midtown jazz haunt Birdland presents powerhouse singer and crackerjack impressionist Christina Bianco in a new solo concert. The Forbidden Broadway star had just finished an acclaimed Paris engagement in Funny Girl when the shutdown hit. Expect numbers from that classic musical, plus Bianco's signature diva impressions. Tickets are $20.
Stephen Petronio Company: Virtual Bloodlines Festival
On Friday at 7 p.m. ET, NYC choreographer Stephen Petronio continues his multi-year Bloodlines project exploring his modern dance influences with three programs of archival performances. The second features Merce Cunningham's Rainforest (1968) and Trisha Brown's Glacial Decoy (1979). There will be a live post-screening conversation with Petrino and fellow choreographers Wendy Perron and Davalois Fearon. Tickets are required to receive the free viewing link; donations are encouraged. The recording will be viewable until Friday, November 6.
On Friday at 7 p.m. ET, Play-PerView presents a live reading of Christian Durso's gloomily nostalgic Shiner, about a pair of unhappy teens in spring 1994 who decide to end it all... they just want to see Nirvana in concert first. Knud Adams directs Susannah Perkins and Paul Pontrelli in this tale of finding reasons to live. Tickets start at $5 and benefit The Mental Health Fund.
St. Ann's Warehouse: Donmar Warehouse Shakespeare Trilogy Weekend
On Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET, this weekend you can binge-watch all three productions in Phyllida Lloyd's acclaimed Donmar Warehouse Shakespeare Trilogy courtesy of St. Ann's Warehouse. Tony nominee Harriet Walter headlines an all-female ensemble as inmates mounting The Tempest, Julius Caesar and Henry IV in prison, a framing that provides a fresh perspective on familiar works. All three shows were filmed in front of live audiences in 2016, with handheld and GoPro footage edited in to give them a kinetic feel. Watch the trilogy for free until Sunday on St. Ann's website though donations are encouraged.
Barrington Stage Company: Typhoid Mary
On Friday at 7:30 p.m., Massachusetts' Barrington Stage Company presents two-time Tony winner Judith Ivey in Typhoid Mary, Mark St. German's drama about history's most infamous superspreader, a cook who infected dozens of New Yorkers with typhoid fever in the early 20th. Joe Morton, Kate MacCluggage and T.R. Knight play two doctors and a priest trying to balance humane treatment of a patient with public health. Tickets are $25.
The Metropolitan Opera: Boris Godunov
On Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera continues its week of politically minded productions with Boris Godunov, Mussorgsky's epic about the 16th-century Russian ruler during the Time of Troubles. René Pape is captivating as the title Tsar; Ekaterina Semenchuk, Aleksandrs Antonenko, Oleg Balashov, Evgeny Nikitin, Mikhail Petrenko and Vladimir Ognovenko costar in this 2010 mounting. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Nixon in China, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
New York City Ballet: Festival of New Choreography
On Friday at 8 p.m. ET, New York City Ballet wraps up its digital fall season with five nights of world premieres performed at different locations around the city and filmed by director Ezra Hurwitz. Tonight, catch Jamar Roberts' solo Water Rite, danced by Victor Abreu to Ambrose Akinmusire's score. Watch for free on NYCB's YouTube channel.
Norm Lewis in Dracula
On Friday at 8 p.m. ET, Broadway heartthrob Norm Lewis takes on his scariest role since The Phantom of the Opera, Dracula, in this live audio play by Resounding. Based on Orson Welles' 1938 radio adaptation, this hour-long drama is a feast for your ears as a haunting soundscape conjures the bloody horror tale. Lindsay Nicole Chambers, Siho Ellsmore, Chris Renfro, Dick Terhune, Stuart Williams and John Stimac costar, Steve Wargo directs. Tickets are $20 but TDF members get a discount.
In Search of the Sanderson Sisters: A Hocus Pocus Hulaween Takeover with Bette Midler
On Friday at 8 p.m. ET, every Halloween, Tony-winning diva Bette Midler throws an exclusive costume gala for her nonprofit New York Restoration Project. This year the festivities move online and everyone is invited! Hosted by Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, the hour-long program is a mockumentary about the Sanderson Sisters, the witchy trio from the cult classic Hocus Pocus starring Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker. They'll be joined by castmates Thora Birch, Omri Katz and Doug Jones, and a slew of special guests including Alex Brightman, Glenn Close, Billy Crystal, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jennifer Hudson, Martin Short, Sarah Silverman, John Stamos and Meryl Streep. Tickets are $13. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.
Penny Arcade: Notes from the Underground
On Friday at 8 p.m. ET, East Village alt-cabaret Pangea presents one of its regulars, inestimable performance artist and truth teller Penny Arcade in Notes from the Underground, a mixed-media warning on the devolution of art and culture and the eradication of freedom. A NYC mainstay since Andy Warhol's Factory days, Arcade shares her insights with audacious humor and the conviction of a prophet. Tickets are $20 and the recording is viewable until Monday. November 30.
Saturday, October 31
Karen, I Said
On Saturday at noon ET, writer, performer and TDF Stages contributor Eliza Bent explores the phenomenon of white wokeness with wit and bite in her solo show Karen, I Said, directed by Tara Ahmedinejad. Tickets start at $5 and a portion of the proceeds go to the Black LGBTQ org Brave Space Alliance.
The Joyce Theater: State of Darkness
On Saturday at 5 and 8 p.m. ET, The Joyce Theater welcomes dancers to its stage for seven live-streamed performances of choreographer Molissa Fenley's celebrated solo State of Darkness. Set to Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, Fenley's new adaptation of her 1988 tour de force will be interpreted by different acclaimed dancers each time. At 5 p.m. ET, see Martha Graham Dance Company's Lloyd Knight; at 8 p.m. ET, American Ballet Theater's Cassandra Trenary tackles the half-hour piece. Tickets are $13 and a recording is viewable until Saturday, November 7.
James Monroe Iglehart in The Nightmare Before Christmas
On Saturday at 7 p.m. you're jokin', you're jokin', I can't believe my eyes! A spooktacular lineup of Broadway stars croon tunes from The Nightmare Before Christmas, the Tim Burton-Danny Elfman animated classic about Halloween Town's identity crisis. Organized by Aladdin Tony winner James Monroe Iglehart, who plays Oogie Boogie, the performance costars Rafael Casal as Jack Skellington, Tina's Adrienne Warren as Sally; Danny Burstein as Santa; and Nik Walker, Leslie Margherita and Rob McClure as Lock, Shock and Barrel. Tickets are $5 and benefit The Actors Fund and the Lymphoma Research Foundation.
The Tank: Host Invite
On Saturday at 7 p.m. ET, The Tank presents Tarik Davis's horror satire Host Invite, starring Kelly AuCoin as an investigative reporter looking into a major corporation's labor violations who uncovers a much scarier plot. Micah Sherman directs a cast that includes Tony-winning Urinetown cowriter Greg Kotis and Kristin Stokes from Broadway's The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical. Tickets start at $10.
Barrington Stage Company: Typhoid Mary
On Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Massachusetts' Barrington Stage Company presents two-time Tony winner Judith Ivey in Typhoid Mary, Mark St. German's drama about history's most infamous superspreader, a cook who infected dozens of New Yorkers with typhoid fever in the early 20th. Joe Morton, Kate MacCluggage and T.R. Knight play two doctors and a priest trying to balance humane treatment of a patient with public health. Tickets are $25.
The Metropolitan Opera: The Ghosts of Versailles
On Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera continues its week of politically minded productions with a gem from its vaults: John Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles, an offshoot of the Figaro operas by Rossini and Mozart. Commissioned by the Met to celebrate its 100th anniversary season in 1992, this production centers on Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (Håkan Hagegård), the real-life creator of Figaro, as he tries to stop Marie Antoinette (Teresa Stratas) from being executed. Gino Quilico, Graham Clark, Marilyn Horne and a very young Renée Fleming costar. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Boris Godunov, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
New York City Ballet: Festival of New Choreography
On Saturday 8 p.m. ET, New York City Ballet concludes its digital fall season with a brand-new work choreographed and directed by Tony winner Justin Peck, the touchingly titled Thank You, New York, set to music by Chris Thile and danced by Christopher Grant, Sara Mearns, Georgina Pazcoguin and Taylor Stanley. Watch for free on NYCB's YouTube channel, where you'll also find the four other world premieres that dropped this week: Jamar Roberts' Water Rite, Andrea Miller's new song, Pam Tanowitz's Solo for Russell: Sites 1-5 and Sidra Bell's pixelation in a wave (Within Wires).
Norm Lewis in Dracula
On Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, Broadway heartthrob Norm Lewis takes on his sexy-scariest role since The Phantom of the Opera, Dracula, in this live high-tech audio play by Resounding. Based on Orson Welles' 1938 radio adaptation, this hour-long drama is a feast for your ears, as a haunting soundscape conjures the bloody horror tale. Lindsay Nicole Chambers, Siho Ellsmore, Chris Renfro, Dick Terhune, Stuart Williams and John Stimac costar; Steve Wargo directs. Tickets are $20 but TDF members get a discount.
Sunday, November 1
Daylight saving time ends, so remember to turn clocks back an hour!
Theatre for a New Audience: Sovereignty
On Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, Brooklyn's Theatre for a New Audience kicks off its digital fall season with Mary Kathryn Nagle's drama Sovereignty, about a present-day Cherokee lawyer fighting a pivotal jurisdiction case before the US Supreme Court that brings up the painful legacy of her marginalized people. Laurie Woolery directs DeLanna Studi, Gary Farmer, Derek Garza, Danforth Comins, Shyla Lefner, Enrico Nassi, Max Woertendyke, Daniel Pearce and Christopher Ryan Grant in this live performance. Reservations are required to receive the free viewing link.
The Joyce Theater: State of Darkness
On Sunday at 5 p.m. ET, The Joyce Theater welcomes dancers to its stage for seven live-streamed performances of choreographer Molissa Fenley's celebrated solo State of Darkness. Set to Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, Fenley's new adaptation of her 1988 tour de force will be interpreted by different acclaimed dancers each time. At 5 p.m. ET, see the final performance as New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns tackles the half-hour piece. Tickets are $13 and a recording is viewable until Saturday, November 7.
Belly of the Beast
On Sunday at 7 p.m. ET, Daniel Dae Kim and Joel de la Fuente headline Belly of the Beast, Margaret Vandenburg's timely new play about a pair of campaign executives trying to manipulate the presidential election via social media. Antonia Thomas, Tamlyn Tomita and Carrie Preston costar; Lisa Rothe directs. Tickets cost $5 and all proceeds go to the Creative Coalition.
The Metropolitan Opera: Satyagraha
On Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera wraps up its week of politically minded productions with Philip Glass' Satyagraha, loosely inspired by Mahatma Gandhi's life. Richard Croft stars as the world leader in this 2011 mounting. 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.
The Seth Concert Series: Beth Malone
On Sunday at 8 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, musical 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, and tonight's headliner is Beth Malone. A Tony nominee for her star-making turn as grown-up Alison in Fun Home, Malone also played the title character in a revisal of The Unsinkable Molly Brown earlier this year. Expect numbers from her career, songs from dream roles and maybe even a few country tunes—after all, she grew up in Nebraska with a country crooning mom. Tickets are $25.
The Shed: November
On Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, Claudia Rankine's buzzy play Help had just started previews at The Shed when the shutdown hit. Now the playwright and performance venue have transformed the piece into a short film titled November, which was shot during quarantine. Real-life exchanges Rankine had with white men in public spaces are reenacted by five Black women, Zora Howard, Tiffany Rachelle Stewart, Crystal Dickinson, April Matthis and Melanie Nicholls-King, examining how privilege impacts the way one navigates the world. A fusion of stage and cinema, November was filmed at The Shed, with Taibi Magar directing the actors on stage and Phillip Youmans behind the camera. Register to receive the free viewing link; the recording is viewable until Saturday, November 7.
Vineyard Theatre: Lessons in Survival Episode 8
On Sunday at 8:30 p.m. ET, Off Broadway's invaluable Vineyard Theatre wraps up Lessons in Survival, an intriguing project featuring a collective of 40 theatre artists sharing historic conversations, interviews and speeches about race by listening to the original speakers in an earpiece while repeating their words verbatim. Conceived by actors Marin Ireland, Peter Mark Kendall and Reggie D. White and director Tyler Thomas, this singular series ends with an episode titled "To Teach Is a Revolutionary Act," featuring Kyle Beltran, Kalyne Coleman, Nana Mensah and Joe Morton channeling the second half of a celebrated 1971 interview between poet Nikki Giovanni and author James Baldwin about their different generational approaches to the civil rights movement. Tickets start at $5.
Broadway's Best Shows: Race
Broadway's Best Shows, which presented powerhouse readings of plays such as Love Letters and November in the spring, continues its virtual season with David Mamet's provocative Race, about three lawyers defending a wealthy white executive accused of raping a Black woman. As one of the attorneys and the defendant, respectively, Tony nominees David Alan Grier and Richard Thomas reprise the roles they originated in the drama's 2009 Broadway premiere. Modern Family's Ed O'Neill and Alicia Stith round out the morally malleable legal team. Phylicia Rashad directs this conversation starter. Tickets start at $5 and proceeds go to The Actors Fund. The recorded performance will be viewable until Monday at 8 p.m. ET.
I Put a Spell on You
For years, Broadway scene-stealer Jay Armstrong Johnson (Hands on a Hardbody, On the Town) has been resurrecting the enchanting Sanderson Sisters from the cult movie Hocus Pocus for an in-person Halloween extravaganza. This year the concert goes online, with Johnson (in the Bette Midler role) and his sorceress siblings Allison Robinson and Amanda Williams Ware recruiting some of pop culture's coolest villains to ensure the holiday's a real scream. Expect bewitching numbers from Broadway favorites such as Gavin Creel, Drew Gehling, Todrick Hall, Robyn Hurder, Eva Noblezada and Will Swenson, and drag icons Bob The Drag Queen and Alexis Michelle. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS are encouraged. The recording will be viewable until Wednesday, November 4.
The New Group: Evening at the Talk House and Aunt Dan and Lemon
Earlier this week, The New Group presented live reunion readings of two Wallace Shawn plays previously produced by the Off Broadway company, and you can watch the recordings. Evening at the Talk House takes place at the 10th anniversary gathering of a failed play, set in a world where theatre—and freedom—have all but died. Matthew Broderick, real-life spouses Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker, John Epperson (aka Lypsinka), Claudia Shear, Larry Pine, Annapurna Sriram and playwright Shawn star. Kristen Johnston and Lili Taylor headline Aunt Dan and Lemon, about an inappropriate relationship between an adult and a child and the shocking allure of cruelty. Marcia Stephanie Blake, Liam Craig, Isaach De Bankole, Melissa Errico, Carlos Leon, Emily Cass McDonnell, Brooke Sunny Moriber, Maulik Pancholy, Stephen Park and Bill Sage costar. Tickets to both plays are $45 or buy each individually for $25; the recordings are viewable until Sunday, November 29.
City Center: 2020 Fall for Dance Festival
Every autumn, City Center welcomes famous movers and shakers for its Fall for Dance Festival. Of course this 17th annual edition looks a little different: the dancers are still on the venue's stage but audiences stream the performances at home. The second program includes a pair of world-premiere commissions: tap great Dormeshia performing Lady Swings the Blues, a tribute to the legacy of Black women in dance; and Kyle Abraham's titled to be seen danced by American Theatre Ballet principal Calvin Royal III. Joseph Gordon and Adrian Danchig-Waring performing the male duet from Concerto Six Twenty-Two; and Ashley Bouder, Tiler Peck and Brittany Pollack dancing excerpts from George Balanchine's Who Cares? round out the evening. Tickets are $15 and the recording is viewable until Sunday.
Incidental Moments of the Day: The Apple Family: Life on Zoom
It's your last chance to catch Richard Nelson's Incidental Moments of the Day, the final installment of his of-the-moment Zoom trilogy 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, followed by And So We Come Forth in July. 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. Watch for free until Thursday, November 5 on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Irish Repertory Theatre: A Touch of the Poet
On Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. ET; Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m. ET, Off Broadway's intrepid Irish Rep presents its digital take on Eugene O'Neill's compelling immigrant drama A Touch of the Poet, featuring Tony nominee Robert Cuccioli as Con, an Irish-American inn owner near Boston in 1828, clinging to a gentlemanly past that never was. Ciarán O’Reilly directs a cast that includes Ciaran Byrne, Kate Forbes and Mary McCann. Tickets are free but required to receive the viewing link; a $25 donation is suggested.
Macbeth: A Surround Sound Experiment
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, a bloody good cast gives voice to Shakespeare's tragedy in this brand-new audio production. Director Joseph Discher's condensed 90-minute take stars Tamara Tunie, Laila Robins, Derek Wilson, Joel de la Fuente, Robert Cuccioli, Geoffrey Owens and Jacob Cogman. Tickets start at $13 but TDF members get a discount.
City Lyric Opera: The Threepenny Opera
City Lyric Opera premieres a modern-day digital take on Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's groundbreaking The Threepenny Opera, offering a timely critique of capitalism along with iconic songs such as "Mack the Knife" and "Pirate Jenny." Presented in two parts, the production was filmed during quarantine but this is no disconnected Zoom piece. The trailer shows how technology was used to give the sense of actors playing together on an actual stage, and the performance fuses prerecorded and live elements. Part I runs on Saturday, part II on Friday and Sunday; times vary. Tickets start at $12 per part but TDF members get a discount.
Top image: Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Midler and Kathy Najimy in a scene from Disney's Hocus Pocus, which is getting two loving spoofs this weekend.