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 Friday, December 4 to Sunday, December 6, for free or at low cost.
Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS presents Janet Hood and Bill Russell's groundbreaking 1989 song cycle Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens, inspired by the AIDS Memorial Quilt. A starry cast, including Broadway favorites Brooks Ashmanskas, Robin de Jesús, Lena Hall, Lisa Howard, James Monroe Iglehart, Cherry Jones, Nathan Lane, Norm Lewis, Jessie Mueller, Anthony Rapp, Krysta Rodriguez, Alysha Umphress and Cynthia Nixon, performs poignant songs and monologues about some of the loved ones lost during the early days of the epidemic. Watch for free until Saturday, December 5 at 8 p.m. on Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS' YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
The Shows Must Go On!: 42nd Street
On Friday at 2 p.m. ET, The Shows Must Go On! presents the West End revival of 42nd Street about a spunky chorus girl who goes out a youngster but comes back a star after the leading lady gets injured. Filmed at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in 2018, the lavish production features jaw-dropping tap numbers and iconic Broadway songs by Harry Warren and Al Dubin including "We're in the Money," "Lullaby of Broadway" and the title tune. Bonnie Langford plays the sidelined star Dorothy Brock and Clare Halse is Peggy Sawyer, the nobody who doesn't throw away her shot. The ultimate backstage musical! Watch for free until Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on YouTube.
Virtual Halston: Lewis Black
On Friday at 3:30 p.m. ET, Broadway scene-stealer Julie Halston welcomes stand-up comic Lewis Black to her weekly chatfest. Although he's best known for his uproariously angry, politically charged rants in comedy clubs, Black actually started out in theatre—in the '80s, he was the playwright-in-residence and associate artistic director of West Bank Cafe's downstairs stage. We know he spent the summer driving across America during the pandemic and we can't wait hear his blunt take on the current state of our nation. Watch for free on YouTube.
The Ars Nova Forever Telethon
On Friday at 6 p.m. ET, one of Off-Off Broadway's most innovative incubators, Ars Nova has served as the launching pad for lots of big things, including the musical Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 and Lin-Manuel Miranda. As befits the iconoclastic institution, it's presenting an unconventional online benefit: a 24-hour telethon showcasing folks you've certainly heard of (Josh Groban, Brooke Shields, Tina Fey), and artists you'll be thrilled to get to know. Featuring more than 150 performers, the cavalcade is organized into a dozen two-hour sections. Highlights include a Great Comet cast reunion at 8 p.m. ET; the anything-goes variety revue Showgasm. with NYC comedy icons Bridget Everett and Murray Hill at 10 p.m. ET; a morning cabaret hosted by A Strange Loop's Larry Owens and Natalie Walker and featuring Broadway vets Gavin Creel and Celia Keenan-Bolger at 10 a.m. ET; and a Freestyle Love Supreme improvised hip-hop performance at 2 p.m. ET. And that's just a taste of what you can watch. For once, insomnia may be a good thing! Watch for free until Saturday at 6 p.m. ET on Ars Nova's website though donations are encouraged. Can't stay up all night? A recording of the telethon is viewable until Tuesday.
Long Wharf Theatre: New Works Festival: The Merit System
On Friday at 7 p.m. ET, Connecticut's Long Wharf Theatre kicks off a weekend of new play readings by diverse dramatists. First up is Edwin Sánchez's The Merit System about the challenges immigrants face when trying to get ahead. Watch for free on Long Wharf's YouTube channel.
Broadway's Great American Songbook: Ben Vereen and Klea Blackhurst
On Friday at 7 and 10 p.m. ET, The York Theatre Company continues its Broadway's Great American Songbook cabaret series with a dynamic duo: Ben Vereen and Klea Blackhurst. He's a Broadway legend who won a Tony for his iconic performance in Pippin. She's a cabaret star who does a mean Ethel Merman. We can't wait to hear these two harmonize! Michael Feinstein hosts this intimate concert. Tickets are $20 but if you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase them at a discount.
The Metropolitan Opera: Carmen
On Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents Richard Eyre's thrilling mounting of Bizet's Carmen, featuring Elina Garanca as the title character, who captivates all the men around her. Filmed in 2010, the production was choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, and costars Barbara Frittoli, Roberto Alagna and Teddy Tahu Rhodes. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Macbeth, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Stars in the House: New Works Virtual Festival Preview
On Friday at 8 p.m. ET, during the pandemic, online theatre has exploded. But the New Works Virtual Festival, which kicks off this Saturday, may be the most ambitious project yet. The goal: to present 20 plays in 20 days featuring starry casts to raise money for The Actors Fund. Tonight, Stars in the House hosts Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome some of the heavy hitters involved in the fest, including Broadway vets Marc Kudisch, Shuler Hensley, Brenda Braxton, Andy Karl, Orfeh, Marsha Mason, Adam Jacobs, John Rubinstein, Judy Kuhn, Liz Larsen, George Wendt and Carmen Cusack. Watch for free on YouTube.
Isaac Mizrahi: Isaac@CaféCarlyle
On Friday at 8 p.m. ET, performer, wit and fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi kicks off a series of cabaret concerts recorded at an empty Café Carlyle. Singer-storyteller Suzanne Vega is his guest for this inaugural offering, as the duo performs holiday numbers and standards backed by a six-piece band. Tickets are $22.
John Lloyd Young's Vegas Holiday
On Friday at 9 p.m. ET, John Lloyd Young performs a live holiday concert from The Space in Las Vegas. The perpetually boyish actor-singer won a Tony Award for his star-making turn as Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys. He'll croon tunes from that musical in between holiday favorites, plus songs by Roy Orbison, Smokey Robinson and Little Anthony. Tickets cost $30.
Club Cumming: Ute Lemper: Rendezvous with Marlene
On Saturday at 2 p.m. ET, Alan Cumming, who hosted downtown divas at his eponymous East Village club pre-COVID, is now sharing their fabulousness online. Today, internationally renowned German chanteuse Ute Lemper stars in Rendezvous with Marlene, a celebration of Marlene Dietrich inspired by a three-hour conversation she had with the Hollywood icon back in 1988. Directed by Daniel Nardicio as a cinematic cabaret, the performance features some of Dietrich's signature numbers as well as secrets divulged during that long-ago chat. Tickets are $25.
Broadway's Great American Songbook: Ben Vereen and Klea Blackhurst
On Saturday at 2:30 and 7 p.m. ET, The York Theatre Company continues its Broadway's Great American Songbook cabaret series with a dynamic duo: Ben Vereen and Klea Blackhurst. He's a Broadway legend who won a Tony for his iconic performance in Pippin. She's a cabaret star who does a mean Ethel Merman. We can't wait to hear these two harmonize! Michael Feinstein hosts this intimate concert. Tickets are $20 but if you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase them at a discount.
On Saturday at 7 p.m. ET, the new producing org Cast Black Talent assembles an impressive cast for Hurt Village, Katori Hall's powerful play about a struggling Black family in a Memphis, Tennessee housing project on the cusp of what they hope is a better future. Originally seen at Off-Broadway's Signature Theatre in 2012, this reading stars Loretta Devine as family matriarch Big Mama; Slave Play Tony nominee Joaquina Kalukango as her grandchild Crank; J. Alphonse Nicholson as an Iraq War vet with PTSD; and Stranger Things' Priah Ferguson as their daughter Cookie, an aspiring teenage rapper. Real-life rapper Snoop Dogg has a supporting role and the prolific Steve H. Broadnax III directs. Register to receive the free viewing link though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Round House Theatre: Ohio State Murders
On Saturday at 7 p.m. ET, Maryland's Round House Theatre continues its celebration of avant-garde African-American playwright Adrienne Kennedy with Ohio State Murders, about a writer recalling the trauma of her 1950s college experience filled with racism, misogyny and shocking violence. Lynda Gravatt and Billie Krishawn play the central character at different ages, and Valerie Curtis-Newton directs. Tickets are $15 and the recording is viewable until February 2021.
The Metropolitan Opera: Ariadne auf Naxos
On Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares a gem from its vaults: late diva Jessye Norman in Strauss' opera-within-an opera Ariadne auf Naxos about a commedia dell'arte troupe stranded on an island populated by mythic Greek characters. James King is Bacchus and Kathleen Battle is the leader of the itinerant players. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Carmen, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Long Wharf Theatre: New Works Festival: Dream Hou$e
On Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET, Connecticut's Long Wharf Theatre continues its weekend of new play readings by diverse dramatists. Today's offering is Eliana Pipes' Dream Hou$e exploring how gentrification impacts communities. Watch for free on Long Wharf's YouTube channel.
Live from the West Side: Women of Broadway: Vanessa Williams
On Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, from beauty queen to pop icon to screen star to Broadway leading lady, Vanessa Williams has spent most of her life being a diva in the best sense of the word. Tonight, she performs a live concert direct from Shubert Virtual Studios in Midtown Manhattan featuring songs from her Broadway career (expect lots of Sondheim!), plus under-the-radar favorites and personal stories about her incredible career. This event is part of the Women of Broadway series benefiting 20 nonprofit theatres across the country. Tickets are $30 and a recording is viewable until Tuesday.
POSTPONED An Evening with Kelli O'Hara
On Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, Connecticut's Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts presents Tony winner Kelli O'Hara in a live concert streamed to an at-home audience. In addition to performing numbers from her Broadway career, including leading roles in revivals of The King and I, Kiss Me, Kate and The Pajama Game, as well as new musicals The Bridges of Madison County and The Light in the Piazza, she will croon American Songbook favorites and holiday classics. A live Q&A follows the concert. Tickets are $20.
New Works Virtual Festival: Oscar and Walt
On Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, the ambitious New Works Virtual Festival kicks off tonight, offering 20 fresh plays in 20 days, with a debut every evening at 8 p.m. ET through Christmas. First up is Donald Steven Olson's Oscar & Walt inspired by a real-life meeting between Oscar Wilde and Walt Whitman in 1882 when they were at very different points in their respective literary careers. Tony winner John Rubinstein plays the legendary American poet while Sam Underwood is the witty British playwright. Judy Kuhn rounds out the cast. Watch for free on YouTube.
Holidays at Stars in the House
On Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley kick off the holiday season with some of their famous friends, including Tony nominee and Disney princess Liz Callaway. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Metropolitan Playhouse: The Widow's Veil
On Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, Metropolitan Playhouse, an Obie-winning company that revives forgotten plays, presents a reading of The Widow's Veil, Alice Rostetter's eerily timely dark comedy about a young woman preparing to become a widow as her husband because of the 1918 influenza pandemic. Laura Livingston directs. Watch for free on the company's website though donations are encouraged.
The Tank: A Play about Doing a Play about Jared Kushner on Zoom!
On Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, indie theatre incubator The Tank presents A Play about Doing a Play about Jared Kushner on Zoom! Originally, Stephanie Swirsky's romp about a Jewish woman traveling back in time to break Jared Kushner's penis was meant to be performed in person at the theatre. This online adaption is about all the things that can go wrong when mounting an outrageous comedy on Zoom. Tickets start at $5.
This Is Who I Am
On Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ET, D.C.'s Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and NYC's PlayCo present This Is Who I Am, Amir Nizar Zuabi's touching two-hander about a father in Ramallah and his son in New York trying to bridge their geographical and emotional divide by cooking together via Zoom. Performed live, the play stars Ramsey Faragallah and Yousof Sultani, and is directed by Evren Odcikin. Tickets start at $16.
A Celebration of Light
On Sunday at 10 a.m. ET, celebrate Hanukkah a few days early with this concert of Yiddish songs performed by Tony nominee Eleanor Reissa and Zalmen Mlotek, the artistic director of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene. Tickets are pay-what-you-wish and the recording is viewable until Sunday, December 20.
La MaMa: Last Gasp WFH
On Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, La MaMa presents Last Gasp WFH, a series of playful and poignant vignettes about how we're living, creating and caring for each other today, written and performed by Split Britches' Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver, two icons of the downtown theatre scene. A post-performance Q&A is included. Tickets start at $5.
Theater Mitu: remnant
On Sunday at 3 p.m. ET, the high-tech, avant-garde Brooklyn collective Theater Mitu reimagines remnant, its 2018 multimedia meditation on war, death and loss for digital consumption. Crafted out of extensive interviews and research with doctors, soldiers and other experts, the show is helmed by the company's artistic director, Rubén Polendo. Tickets are $10.
This Is Who I Am
On Sunday at 4 p.m. ET, D.C.'s Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and NYC's PlayCo presents This Is Who I Am, Amir Nizar Zuabi's touching two-hander about a father in Ramallah and his son in New York trying to bridge a great geographical and emotional divide by cooking together via Zoom. Performed live, the play stars Ramsey Faragallah and Yousof Sultani, and is directed by Evren Odcikin. Tickets start at $16.
Theater of War Productions: The Book of Job
On Sunday at 4 p.m. ET, Theater of War Productions, a company that uses classical texts to examine contemporary issues, presents a starry reading of passages from The Book of Job, the ancient biblical story of how people react when disaster strikes, followed by a town hall-style discussion with the audience. Bill Murray, Frankie Faison, David Strathairn, Marjolaine Goldsmith, Kathryn Erbe and Nyasha Hatendi read the text, and director-adapter Bryan Doerries facilitates a post-performance conversation about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on individuals, families and communities. Register to receive the free viewing link. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.
Eva Noblezada in Concert
On Sunday at 5 p.m. ET, Adelphi University presents Eva Noblezada in a live virtual concert. At just 24, she's already a two-time Tony nominee for her captivating turns as a teenage orphan in the 2017 revival of Miss Saigon and the plucky Eurydice in Hadestown. In this intimate set, she'll croon numbers from her career and share details about her journey from performing arts high school to Broadway. Tickets are $20.
On Sunday at 3 and 7 p.m. ET, the new producing org Cast Black Talent assembles an impressive cast for Hurt Village, Katori Hall's powerful play about a struggling Black family in a Memphis, Tennessee housing project on the cusp of what they hope is a better future. Originally seen at Off-Broadway's Signature Theatre in 2012, this reading stars Loretta Devine as family matriarch Big Mama; Slave Play Tony nominee Joaquina Kalukango as her grandchild Crank; J. Alphonse Nicholson as an Iraq War vet with PTSD; and Stranger Things' Priah Ferguson as their daughter Cookie, an aspiring teenage rapper. Real-life rapper Snoop Dogg has a supporting role and the prolific Steve H. Broadnax III directs. Register to receive the free viewing link though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
The Metropolitan Opera: Tosca
On Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents Puccini's Tosca, starring Shirley Verrett as the title diva, Luciano Pavarotti as her artist lover and Cornell MacNeil as the man who stands in the way of their happiness. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Ariadne auf Naxos, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
The Seth Concert Series: Ana Gasteyer
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, 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, and tonight's headliner is Ana Gasteyer. Although this funny lady is best known for her work on sitcoms and Saturday Night Live, she's also a powerhouse vocalist and Broadway vet who played Elphaba in Wicked. Expect hilarity along with high notes. Tickets are $25.
New Works Virtual Festival: Secret Hour
On Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, the ambitious New Works Virtual Festival showcases 20 fresh plays in 20 days, with a debut every evening at 8 p.m. ET through Christmas. Tonight is Jenny Stafford's Secret Hour about a 35-year-old ethics professor whose struggle with infertility plunges her into a moral quandary. Kate Loprest, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's Vincent Rodriguez III and Kevin Pollack star. Watch for free on YouTube.
Broadway's Best Shows: Time Stands Still
Broadway's Best Shows continues its virtual season with Time Stands Still, Donald Margulies' emotional drama about a Brooklyn couple, a photojournalist and a foreign correspondent, trying to heal after a traumatic war experience. This performance reunites the original Broadway cast of this Tony-nominated play, Laura Linney, Brian d'Arcy James, Alicia Silverstone and Eric Bogosian, with director Daniel Sullivan. Tickets start at $5 and proceeds go to The Actors Fund. The recording is viewable until Monday at 8 p.m. ET.
Manhattan Theatre Club: Old Friends New Works Benefit
Manhattan Theatre Club enlists some of its famous collaborators for an evening of brand-new pieces. The hour-long program includes Edie Falco performing a monologue by Simon Stephens; Laura Linney reprising her Tony-nominated turn as Lucy Barton in a follow-up monologue by Elizabeth Strout; and Jeremy Pope crooning a new tune by Jason Michael Webb. Watch for free until Monday on MTC's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
Dylan McDermott in Night of the Iguana
La Femme Theatre Productions presents Night of the Iguana, Tennessee Williams' steamy tale of an Episcopal priest turned tour guide, who gets into love trouble south of the border. Dylan McDermott stars as the struggling reverend, and Phylicia Rashad, Roberta Maxwell, Carmen Berkeley and Jean Lichty are some of the ladies who complicate his life. Emily Mann directs this prerecorded reading. Tickets start at $10 and all proceeds go to The Actors Fund. The recording is viewable until Sunday.
Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes — At Home Holiday Special
For the first time since its 1933 debut, Radio City Music Hall's annual Christmas Spectacular is not going on... not on stage at least. Instead, NBC has put together an hour-long special featuring archival recordings of the show's most beloved segments starring the legendary, leggy Radio City Rockettes. In between numbers such as the "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers," Whoopi Goldberg, Josh Groban, John Legend and other celebrities share personal season's greetings. Watch on NBC's streaming service Peacock, which is free to join.
Manual Cinema's Christmas Carol
On Friday at 8 p.m. ET; Saturday at 4 and 8 p.m. ET; and Sunday at 4 and 7 p.m. ET, yes, there are a lot of virtual Christmas Carols this season. But the one by Manual Cinema, a company acclaimed for combining shadow puppetry and filmic elements, is surely the most original. Performed live from the troupe's Chicago studio, the production uses hundreds of paper puppets, miniatures, silhouettes and a live original score to conjure Dickens' holiday redemption tale. Tickets start at $15.
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater: Lockdown
On Thursday, Off-Off Broadway's Rattlestick Playwrights Theater presented a live reading of Lockdown and you can watch a recording all weekend. Cori Thomas' drama is inspired by interviews with people serving life sentences at California's San Quentin State Prison. Kent Gash, the director of the theatre's 2019 production of the play, reunites with actor Keith Randolph Smith for this virtual version. Lillian Andrea De León, Reynaldo Piniella, Travis Raeburn and Heather Alicia Simms round out the cast. Watch for free on Rattlestick's YouTube channel.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Opening Night Gala Benefit
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's annual holiday season goes online this year, with a rich lineup of performances, family programming and conversations. The festivities kicked off this week with an opening night gala celebrating the impact of Ailey's seminal work Revelations, a chronicle of African-American history set to spirituals, gospel, jazz and blues. The evening includes excerpts from a recorded performance of the piece at the Bronx's Wave Hill Public Garden & Cultural Center and a new virtual performance by current troupe members. Watch for free until Wednesday, December 9 on Vimeo though donations are encouraged.
The Nice List
When Santa's away, the elves will play! That's the premise of Gary Adler and Phoebe Kreutz's new one-act holiday musical The Nice List starring Aladdin Tony winner James Monroe Iglehart as Kris Kringle, who leaves his underlings in charge when he goes to check on his mall stand-ins. Broadway vets Telly Leung, Julia Mattison, Ann Harada, Jennifer Barnhart, Nick Kohn and Don Darryl Rivera play his eager if inefficient elfin employees. Watch for free until Thursday, December 31 on the show's website.
TheaterWorks Hartford: Christmas on the Rocks
Deck the halls with tales of folly with Christmas on the Rocks, TheaterWorks Hartford's irreverent holiday staple. Conceived and directed by Rob Ruggiero, it's a cavalcade of Christmas jeer as iconic kid characters from holiday movies and specials share their woes in satirical shorts. Tickets are $25 and the recording is viewable until Thursday, December 31. Closed captions are available.
MNM Theatre Company: Closer Than Ever
Florida's MNM Theatre Company presents Closer Than Ever, Richard Maltby Jr. and David Shire's witty musical revue of insightful songs about love and life. Propelled by theme not plot, the show features a cast of four and was filmed live on stage during quarantine in an empty theatre. Director Jonathan Van Dyke's clever blocking delivers a sense of intimacy while keeping actors socially distant. Tickets are $20 and the recording is viewable until Thursday, December 31.
Basil Twist's Symphonie Fantastique
Puppet master Basil Twist presents a recording of his breakthrough show Symphonie Fantastique, an underwater ballet danced by vibrant pieces of fabric, sheets of plastic and other inanimate objects to Berlioz's title composition. A one-of-a-kind spectacle, this production was filmed during the show's 20th anniversary run at HERE Arts Center in 2018 and includes behind-the-scenes moments illustrating how the magic is made. Tickets are $20 for a 48-hour rental.
Out of the Box Theatre Company: Out of the Box Follies
On Friday at 8 p.m. ET; Saturday at 3 and 8 p.m. ET; and Sunday at 3 p.m. ET, for three decades, Out of the Box Theatre has been presenting Off-Off Broadway shows starring actors over age 50. This weekend, the troupe members take their talents to cyberspace with Out of the Box Follies, an old-fashioned revue featuring classic songs and sketches. Tickets are $20 but if you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase them at a discount.
Top image: the cast of 42nd Street at London's Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Photo by Sophie Thomas.