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 Wednesday, January 27 and Thursday, January 28, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.
Mischief Movie Night In
On Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. ET, Mischief Theatre, the uproarious British troupe behind NYC's long-running comedy The Play That Goes Wrong, presents a live improvised movie night, with the audience tasked with suggesting the title, genre and setting. Beyond lots of laughs, no one has any idea of what to expect—not even the performers. Tickets are £10, approximately $13.50.
TDF: A Conversation with Marsha Mason and Jack O'Brien
On Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET, Oscar-nominated actress Marsha Mason and Tony-winning director Jack O'Brien have known each other for a long time. So long, in fact, they finish each other's paragraphs. These frequent collaborators have lots of thoughts on the history of the American theatre industry and its future, and TDF is thrilled to give them a chance to say whatever they want—these two do not self-censor! Watch for free on TDF's Facebook page.
Irish Repertory Theatre: YES! Reflections of Molly Bloom
On Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET, this winter, the venerable Irish Rep is presenting encore streams of its entire digital season. This afternoon, catch a matinee of YES! Reflections of Molly Bloom, Aedín Moloney's solo adaptation of the "Penelope episode" from James Joyce's Ulysses. This monologue play was a hit at the theatre in 2019 and offers intimate insights into one woman's desires and dreams, with brief musical interludes composed by Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains. Tickets are free but required to receive the viewing link; donations are encouraged.
The Metropolitan Opera: La Donna del Lago
On Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET, ever since the shutdown began, the Metropolitan Opera has been sharing productions from its Live in HD series nightly at 7:30 p.m. ET. But it also presents weekly student streams that debut on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. ET. These productions have been specially selected for families, and Zoom education sessions leading up to the screening teach school-age kids about opera. This week's offering is La Donna del Lago, Rossini's retelling of Sir Walter Scott's epic poem The Lady of the Lake. Joyce DiDonato is at the center of this 2015 mounting of the romantic opera, costarring Daniela Barcellona, Juan Diego Flórez, John Osborn and Oren Gradus. Watch for free until Friday at 5 p.m. ET on the Metropolitan Opera's website.
David Strathairn in Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski
On Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. ET, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day with excerpts from Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski, a solo show starring Oscar-nominated actor David Strathairn as the title WWII hero, who disseminated firsthand accounts of the horrors of the Holocaust as a courier for the Polish Underground. After the performance, there will be a discussion with Strathairn, cowriters Derek Goldman and Clark Young, and other members of the creative team. Register to receive the free viewing link.
Ballet Hispánico: ¡Si Señor! ¡Es Mi Son!
On Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. EST, Ballet Hispánico presents a recording of the troupe's 1995 performance of ¡Si Señor! ¡Es Mi Son!, choreographer Alberto Alonso's celebration of Cuba set to music by Gloria Estefan. Watch for free on the dance company's Facebook page.
Theatre for a New Audience: An Exploration of The Merchant of Venice
On Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET, Brooklyn's Theatre for a New Audience enlists director Arin Arbus and Tony-nominated actor John Douglas Thompson for an exploration of scenes from Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. The two have collaborated on multiple productions at the theatre over the years (Othello, Macbeth, A Doll's House) and Merchant is their next project, with Douglas as the complex Shylock. Tonight, they're tackling four key scenes from the first three acts; on Saturday they'll perform Act IV's explosive trial. A talkback follows both performances, and Isabel Arraiza, Danaya Esperanza, Ian Lassiter, Ajay Naidu, Alfredo Narciso and Graham Winton costar. Register to receive the free viewing link.
Theater of War Productions: "Those Winter Sundays"
On Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET, Theater of War Productions, a company that uses classical texts to examine contemporary issues, presents actors Bill Murray and Moses Ingram reading Robert Hayden's 1962 poem "Those Winter Sundays," followed by a town hall-style discussion about the challenges we're all facing this very dark season. Director Bryan Doerries will facilitate the conversation and a wide array of community organizers and public servants are set to participate. Tickets are free but required to receive the viewing link.
The Tank: The Black Queen Screen Tests Act I
On Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET, Off-Off Broadway's The Tank presents Act I of Jerome A. Parker's The Black Queen Screen Tests, a queer musical epic set to the hits of Dinah Washington, aka the Queen of the Blues. Created, performed and designed by an all-Black team, the surreal show fuses drag, lip-syncing and dance. Acts II and III stream later this week. Tickets start at $10.
On Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET, one of NYC's most celebrated Latinx theatres, Pregones/PRTT, presents a reading of Torched!, an in-development play with music set during the infamous era when the Bronx was burning. Written by the company's artistic director Rosalba Rolón, it's a compelling exploration of the arson for hire scourge that impacted so many residents, workers and firefighters. Tickets are pay-what-you-wish.
La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival
On Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET, avant-garde haven La MaMa wraps up the online edition of its La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival featuring new pieces created specifically for digital consumption. Nicky Paraiso curated and hosts the series, which ends with work by Tamar Rogoff and Kevin Augustine. Tickets start at $5.
The Metropolitan Opera: Faust
On Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents Des McAnuff's riveting 2011 production of Gounod's Faust, starring Jonas Kaufmann as a man who makes a deal with the devil. René Pape and Marina Poplavskaya costar. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Le Comte Ory, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Museum of Jewish Heritage: 18 Voices: A Liberation Day Reading of Young Writers' Diaries from the Holocaust
On Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET, NYC's Museum of Jewish Heritage marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day with a reading of excerpts from diaries kept by Jewish children during that terrible time. Anne Frank is just one of 18 young writers whose words continue to resonate and remind us of the more than 1 million Jewish kids killed by the Nazis. Liev Schreiber serves as narrator, and the selections will be read by Mandy Gonzalez, Arielle Hader, Daniel Kahn, Adam Kantor, Caissie Levy, Telly Leung, Stephanie Lynne Mason, Zalmen Mlotek, Amit Rahav, Eleanor Reissa, Alexandra Silber, Abby Stein, Danny Strong, Yelena Shmulenson and Michael Zegen. Register to receive the free viewing link though donations are encouraged.
Irish Repertory Theatre: The Weir
On Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET, this winter, the venerable Irish Rep is presenting encore streams of its entire digital season. Tonight, catch The Weir, Conor McPherson's haunting 1997 drama about a quartet of Irishmen sharing ghost stories at a pub in order to impress a comely lass. The Off-Broadway company originally mounted the play in 2013; this virtual adaptation reunites director Ciarán O'Reilly with three cast members from that production, Dan Butler, Sean Gormley and John Keating, along with Amanda Quaid and Tim Ruddy, who appeared in its 2015 encore run. Tickets are free but required to receive the viewing link; donations are encouraged.
Origin 1st Irish Theatre Festival: Mustard
On Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET, since 2008, Origin Theatre Company has presented the annual Origin 1st Irish Festival featuring readings, productions and panels. This year the event goes virtual with daily offerings through the end of the month. Tonight, Dublin's Fishamble theatre presents Mustard, Eva O'Connor's solo show about heartbreak and heartburn. Hildegard Ryan directs. Tickets are $10.
Stars in the House: Baby Reunion
On Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET, it's guest host week on Stars in the House! Tonight, Tony nominee Liz Callaway welcomes some of her Broadway Baby costars, Todd Graff, Beth Fowler, Catherine Cox and Martin Vidnovic, along with the writers of the musical, Richard Maltby, Jr. and David Shire. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
The Exponential Festival: Double Bill
On Wednesday at 8 p.m. p.m. ET, every January since 2016, The Exponential Festival has showcased cutting-edge stage works mostly on Brooklyn stages. For its sixth annual edition, the event goes virtual with performances by some of the most exciting theatre-makers in the digital space. Tonight, catch Sanaz Ghajar's Enter Porter, an alcohol-infused adaptation of Macbeth, and Ben Holbrook's audio play Theatre Immaterial. Watch both for free on the fest's YouTube channel.
London Coliseum: I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change
On Thursday at 2:30 p.m. ET, the London Coliseum presents a digital mounting of I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, a musical comedy revue poking fun at in-laws, remote control battles, blind dates. sex and other relationship challenges. Written by Tony winner Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts, this show was a smash Off Broadway, running almost a dozen years. This new production was recorded live on stage during quarantine at the London Coliseum and stars West End vets Simon Lipkin, Brenda Edwards, Alice Fearn and Oliver Tompsett. Tickets are £17.25, approximately $24.
Mischief Movie Night In
On Thursday at 2:30 p.m. ET, Mischief Theatre, the uproarious British troupe behind NYC's long-running comedy The Play That Goes Wrong, presents a live improvised movie night, with the audience tasked with suggesting the title, genre and setting. Beyond lots of laughs, no one has any idea of what to expect—not even the performers. Tickets are £10, approximately $13.50.
African Caribbean MixFest: Tigress of San Domingue
On Thursday at 6 p.m. ET, throughout the month, Off Broadway's Atlantic Theater Company is presenting African Caribbean MixFest, a series of free readings by African Caribbean dramatists. Tonight, catch Tigress of San Domingue, the second installment of France-Luce Benson's Haitian Revolution trilogy centering on Cécile, an enslaved African healer turned rebel soldier rising up the military ranks. Awoye Timpo directs China Brickey, Safiya Fredericks, Dan Hopman, Fedna Jacquet, Russell G. Jones, Guyviaud Joseph, Margaret Odette and Bechir Sylvai in this epic tale about the birth of a nation. Register to receive the free viewing link.
Irish Repertory Theatre: Love, Noël
On Thursday at 7 p.m. ET, this winter, the venerable Irish Rep is presenting encore streams of its entire digital season. Tonight, catch Love, Noël, a virtual reinvention of its 2019 celebration of playwright, songwriter and sparkling wit Noël Coward. Barry Day devised this two-person tribute featuring seasoned cabaret stars Steve Ross and KT Sullivan singing Coward's songs, such as "Mad About the Boy," "Together with Music" and "I'll Follow My Secret Heart," and channeling his famous friends, including Gertrude Lawrence, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo and Elaine Stritch. Tickets are free but required to receive the viewing link; donations are encouraged.
The Tank: The Black Queen Screen Tests Act II
On Thursday at 7 p.m. ET, Off-Off Broadway's The Tank presents Act II of Jerome A. Parker's The Black Queen Screen Tests, a queer musical epic set to the hits of Dinah Washington, aka the Queen of the Blues. Created, performed and designed by an all-Black team, the surreal show fuses drag, lip-syncing and dance. Act III streams later this week. Tickets start at $10.
The Homebound Project: Special Edition: 2021
At 7 p.m. ET, one of last year's most critically acclaimed digital series, The Homebound Project, returns with a fresh edition of world-premiere playlets. The 13 shorts, all inspired by the simple yet loaded prompt 2021, include Deirdre O'Connell and Christopher Abbott in a piece by Lucy Thurber; married thespians Becky Ann and Dylan Baker in a work by David Lindsay-Abaire; Michael Chernus in a playlet by Adam Rapp and Carolyn Ratteray in a solo by Bekah Brunstetter; plus a musical performance by Sting. The brainchild of playwright Catya McMullen and director Jenna Worsham, this initiative is raising money to support food insecure families during the pandemic. Tickets start at $10 and proceeds go to No Kid Hungry. The recording is viewable until Sunday at 7 p.m. ET.
Lincoln Center Theater: Looking Back at The Light in the Piazza
On Thursday at 7 p.m. ET, Lincoln Center Theater continues its Spotlight Series with a Light in the Piazza reunion. Adam Guettel's 2005 musical was a big hit for the theatre, and original stars Victoria Clark, Matthew Morrison and Kelli O'Hara join director Bartlett Sher to reminisce. Register for the free Zoom link.
Reflections of Native Voices Festival: Looking for Tiger Lily
On Thursday at 7 p.m. ET, two East 4th Street powerhouses, New York Theatre Workshop and La MaMa, are partnering for the Reflections of Native Voices Festival, a two-week lineup of theatre, music and dance performances by Indigenous artists from across the country. Tonight, catch Looking for Tiger Lily, an autobiographical solo performance by Anthony Hudson about growing up a queer mixed Native person bombarded by problematic cultural references. Expect drag, storytelling and songs, yes, even Cher's "Half-Breed." Tickets are $10.
MCC Theater: Beirut
On Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET, Off Broadway's MCC Theater presents Beirut starring Oscar Isaac and Academy Award winner Marisa Tomei. Alan Bowne's one-act was written back in 1987, yet it remains an eerily timely tale about a young man in quarantine and the girlfriend who won't leave his side. This virtual production premiered last spring but is being rebroadcast as a benefit for the company. Tickets start at $5.
WP Theater: The Nourish Project
On Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET, WP Theater presents The Nourish Project, an innovative interactive experience curated by Rebecca Martínez, who brings together musicians, dancers and poets to explore how we feed ourselves physically, emotionally and spiritually. When booking, audiences choose one of four natural elements—water, earth, fire or air—which guide their multisensory journey. Tickets are required to receive the free viewing link though donations are encouraged.
The Metropolitan Opera: Falstaff
On Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents Verdi's Falstaff, featuring a libretto by Arrigo Boito inspired by Shakespeare's comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor as well as scenes from Henry IV. Ambrogio Maestri is the lascivious and louche title character, who's outwitted by the clever ladies around him, played by Angela Meade, Stephanie Blythe and Jennifer Johnson Cano in this 2013 production. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Faust, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Stars in the House: Guest Host Jack Plotnick
On Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, it's guest host week on Stars in the House! Tonight, actor-writer-director Jack Plotnick engages in games and shenanigans with guests Wilson Cruz, Merrin Dungey, Lesli Margherita and Tom Lenk. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
The Exponential Festival: Heidegger's Indiana
On Thursday at 9 p.m. ET, every January since 2016, The Exponential Festival has showcased cutting-edge stage works mostly on Brooklyn stages. For its sixth annual edition, the event goes virtual with performances by some of the most exciting theatre-makers in the digital space. Tonight, catch Panoply Performance Lab's Heidegger's Indiana, a performance art piece about necropolitics. Watch for free on the fest's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
Marisa Tomei and Bobby Cannavale in Three Hotels
Tectonic Theater Project presents Three Hotels, Jon Robin Baitz's celebrated 1993 play about a superficially successful couple hiding their moral and emotional decay. Told via monologues set in hotel rooms in Morocco, the Virgin Islands and Mexico, the production stars two-time Tony nominee Bobby Cannavale as an unethical international businessman and Oscar winner Marisa Tomei as his wife. Moisés Kaufman directs this digital performance. Watch for free until Saturday on Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS' YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
Round House Theatre: The Catastrophist
Prolific and popular playwright Lauren Gunderson turns her perceptive pen on her husband, famed virologist Nathan Wolfe, who helped track Ebola, swine flu and now COVID-19. Gunderson has written many plays about historical figures in science but this is the first time she's explored the life and career of her spouse, who's portrayed by William DeMeritt in this one-man play, which was recorded at California's Marin Theatre Company and is co-presented by Maryland's Round House Theatre. Don't worry if stats and data make your head spin—as always, Gunderson is more interested in what makes her characters tick personally rather than professionally. Tickets are $32.50 and the recording is viewable until Sunday, February 28.
Red Bull Theater: The Woman Hater
On Monday, NYC's Red Bull Theater, known for reinvigorating forgotten classics, presented a live reading of The Woman Hater, and you can watch a recording until Friday. This rarely seen proto-feminist satire by Frances Burney centers on the jilted Sir Roderick, who really hates ladies. Although Burney wrote the play at the turn of the 19th century, it remained unpublished and unperformed until 2007, when it was finally mounted in London. A comedy of manners and misogyny, the performance is directed by Everett Quinton and stars Bill Army, Arnie Burton, Veanne Cox, Rebecca S'Manga Frank, Cherie Corinne Rice, Matthew Saldivar, Jenne Vath and Nick Westrate. Watch for free on Red Bull's YouTube channel though a $25 donation is suggested.
Metropolitan Opera Stars Live in Concert: Piotr Beczala and Sondra Radvanovsky
Last Saturday, the Metropolitan Opera presented Piotr Beczala and Sondra Radvanovsky performing from Germany's Historische Stadthalle Wuppertal and you can watch a recording. This is the first time the duo has sung together for Met audiences since 2015, and the lineup includes beloved arias and duets from Giordano's Andrea Chénier, Dvorák's Rusalka and Verdi's La Forza del Destino. Tickets are $20 and the recording is viewable until Friday, February 5.
St. Ann's Warehouse: The Approach
Last week, Brooklyn's St. Ann's Warehouse streamed a live performance of The Approach from Dublin's Project Arts Centre and you can watch a recording all week. Mark O'Rowe's enigmatic play centers on three women (Cathy Belton, Derbhle Crotty and Aisling O'Sullivan) telling different but interconnected tales. Tickets are €20, approximately $24, and the recording is viewable until Sunday.
All Arts: Isolation to Creation
Since 1984, the Guggenheim Museum has given audiences behind-the-scenes peeks at upcoming shows in its Works & Process series. But when the pandemic hit, the program changed its focus and began commissioning digital shorts from music, dance and theatre artists. All Arts' new documentary series Isolation to Creation explores how the pieces were created in our new abnormal. This inaugural episode focuses on dance, with interviews and performances by Ephrat Asherie, Les Ballet Afrik, Tony-nominated choreographer Joshua Bergasse, Sara Mearns from New York City Ballet, Alvin Ailey's Jamar Roberts and The Missing Element. Watch for free on All Arts' website.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
Top image: Oscar Isaac, who costars with Marisa Tomei in MCC Theater's Beirut on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET. Photo by Carol Rosegg for The Public Theater.