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, January 8 to Sunday, January 10, for free or at low cost.
The Shows Must Go On!: Michael Ball: Heroes
On Friday at 2 p.m. ET, The Shows Must Go On! presents beloved British stage and singing star Michael Ball in his concert Heroes recorded live at Birmingham Symphony Hall. While Ball is best known on this side of the pond for headlining a pair of Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals on Broadway, he's a household name in his homeland. This 2011 performance is filled with covers of classics made famous by his idols, including "Summer Wind" by Frank Sinatra, "Play Me" by Neil Diamond, Billy Joel's "New York State Of Mind" and Tony Bennett's "For Once in My Life," plus favorite show tunes. Watch for free until Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on YouTube.
Virtual Halston: John Tartaglia
On Friday at 5 p.m. ET, Broadway funny lady Julie Halston welcomes puppet master John Tartaglia to her weekly chatfest. The performer and puppeteer started his career on Sesame Street and went on to snag a Tony nomination as the human behind Princeton in Avenue Q. Watch for free on YouTube.
The Metropolitan Opera: Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci
On Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents a pair of one-act works: Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana about a tragic love triangle, and Leoncavallo's Pagliacci about the leader of a vaudeville troupe. David McVicar staged this 2015 double bill, with tenor Marcelo Álvarez starring in both lead roles. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, I Puritani, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Stars in the House: Donna McKechnie
On Friday at 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome A Chorus Line Tony winner Donna McKechnie to Stars in the House. The Broadway legend will be talking about The American Dance Machine, a troupe that teaches vintage Broadway choreography to the next generation. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
The Exponential Festival: On View: WFH
On Friday at 8 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, watch performer-choreographer Sunny Hitt work in On View: WFH, a durational installation as she creates at home in real time. Watch for free on the fest's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
Isaac Mizrahi: Isaac@CaféCarlyle
On Friday at 8 p.m. ET, performer, wit and fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi continues his cabaret series recorded at an empty Café Carlyle. For this New Year's-themed concert, he's backed by a six-piece band and joined by Broadway scene-stealer Jackie Hoffman, who's sure to inspire much-needed laughs. Tickets are $22.
Theatre for a New Audience: Swingin' the Dream
On Saturday at 2 p.m. ET, in 1939, an ambitious, jazz-infused adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream debuted on Broadway starring Louis Armstrong, Butterfly McQueen and a teenage Dorothy Dandridge. Although the show only ran for a few weeks, its backstory and place in history are fascinating. Today, the UK's Royal Shakespeare Company and Brooklyn's Theatre for a New Audience present a live concert of a work in progress exploring the creation of the musical, featuring some of the original songs by Count Basie, Benny Goodman and Jimmy Van Heusen. Register in advance to receive the free viewing link.
Round House Theatre: Etta and Ella on the Upper West Side
On Saturday at 7 p.m. ET, Maryland's Round House Theatre wraps up its celebration of Adrienne Kennedy with a brand-new work by the 89-year-old, avant-garde, African-American playwright: Etta and Ella on the Upper West Side. The haunting tale of two brilliant sisters whose lifelong rivalry is careening toward mutual destruction, the drama was filmed on stage during quarantine. Timothy Douglas directs. Tickets are $17.50 and the recording is viewable until February.
The Metropolitan Opera: Maria Stuarda
On Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera's presents David McVicar's acclaimed 2012 mounting of Donizetti's Maria Stuarda about Mary, Queen of Scots. Joyce DiDonato stars as the tragic title character, with Elza van den Heever as Queen Elizabeth and Matthew Polenzani as Leicester. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's double bill, Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Stars in the House: Effies from Dreamgirls
On Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome a trio of delightful divas who played Effie in Dreamgirls on Broadway: Tony winner Lillias White, Kecia Lewis-Evans and Roz Ryan. All three were replacements in the original production, and White also reprised the role in the 1987 revival and the one-night-only 20th anniversary benefit concert in 2001. You're gonna love them! Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
The Exponential Festival: Triple Bill
On Saturday at 9 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 a triple bill of short works: Virtual Queerality (VQ) Live, LGBTQ audio stories curated by performance artist Teresa Braun; Kennie Zhou's digital naturescape A Blueish Fever Dream; and Tina Wang's meditation on the cost of comfort ¿comfortidades?. Watch all three for free on the fest's YouTube channel.
West End Bares: Turned On
On Sunday at 3 p.m. ET, Broadway performers aren't the only ones who take it all off for charity. The UK's equivalent of Broadway Cares, Make a Difference Trust, reimagines its annual R-rated fundraiser for online consumption. London stage stars shows off their talents and their toned bodies in this sexy benefit, with special appearances by Graham Norton, Michelle Visage and Todrick Hall. Tickets are $7.
The Exponential Festival: Look Out Shithead
On Sunday at 5 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. Today, catch Object Collection's provocatively titled Look Out Shithead, a supernatural love story inspired by the films of Éric Rohmer. Watch for free on the fest's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
The Metropolitan Opera: Il Trovatore
On Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares David McVicar's mounting of Verdi's Il Trovatore, starring Marcelo Álvarez as Manrico, the passionate troubadour, Sondra Radvanovsky as his lady love and Dmitri Hvorostovsky as the evil Count di Luna 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, Maria Stuarda, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
The Seth Concert Series: Wayne Brady
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 Wayne Brady. Although he came to fame making up songs on the long-running improv TV series Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Brady has also charmed audiences on Broadway in Kinky Boots, Freestyle Love Supreme and Chicago. Expect songs from his theatre career, maybe even from his recent turn in Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical. Tickets are $25.
PlayhouseLive Online: You I Like: A Musical Celebration of Jerry Herman
On Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, California's Pasadena Playhouse presents You I Like, a tribute to Jerry Herman, whose songs for La Cage aux Folles, Mame and Mack & Mabel are some of the catchiest show tunes of all time. Lesli Margherita, Ashley Blanchet and Nicholas Christopher are among the Broadway vets who'll belt out his tunes, and the online opening night includes a pre-show tribute to Herman by Bernadette Peters and David Hyde Pierce, who recently costarred in his biggest hit Hello, Dolly! Tickets are $30.
David Bowie's Lazarus
On Friday and Saturday at 9 p.m., and Sunday at 4 p.m. ET, to mark the birth and death of David Bowie, you can stream Lazarus, a trippy sequel to the 1976 sci-fi movie The Man Who Fell to Earth featuring songs from the rock star's catalog, a book by Once Tony winner Enda Walsh and direction by iconoclast Ivo van Hove. This surreal musical had its world premiere at New York Theatre Workshop during the 2015-2016 season and sold out within minutes. Sadly, it was one of Bowie's final projects as he died of cancer during the show's limited run. His demise informs this existential tale of Newton (Michael C. Hall), an alienated extraterrestrial (a part originated by Bowie in the film) who's desperate to return to his home planet. As he wastes away on Earth, he's wooed by his assistant, haunted by the ghost of a murdered girl and stalked by a very dapper demon. The narrative is, admittedly, weird, but the singing and stagecraft are breathtaking. This recording is of the show's 2016 production at London's King's Cross Theatre, starring Hall, Bettlejuice's Sophia Anne Caruso, Michael Esper and Amy Lennox. If you're a Bowie or Hall fan, you don't want to miss this. Tickets are $21.50.
The Public Theater's Under the Radar Festival
Since its founding in 2005, The Public's Under the Radar Festival has been a mecca for avant-garde artists from around the globe, showcasing performances by hundreds of trailblazers. This year, the event goes online and all performances are free. This weekend, you can catch:
HERE Arts Center: Prototype Festival
Since 2013, Prototype, a festival featuring works that fuse opera and theatre, has defied genre expectations. Co-produced by HERE Arts Center and Beth Morrison Projects, the event goes (mostly) digital this year with six eclectic pieces. All premiere this weekend, and five are online and on demand until Saturday, January 16. (Ocean Body is an in-person, by-appointment-only installation at HERE, so we are not including it below.) Most offerings are free.
Feinstein's/54 Below: Sondheim Unplugged
For the past decade, cabaret impresario Phil Geoffrey Bond has hosted Sondheim Unplugged, a series of concerts starring NYC stage favorites crooning songs by the musical theatre legend to piano accompaniment. Now he's brought the show online with a performance filmed last month at the swanky Feinstein's/54 Below. Go into the web with old friends Darius de Haas, Natalie Douglas, Telly Leung, T. Oliver Reid, Nicholas Rodriguez and Lucia Spina as they remind us why Sondheim is great company! Tickets are $25 and the recording is viewable until Saturday, January 23.
The Mint Theater: Days to Come
Off Broadway's esteemed Mint Theater Company, which has been unearthing forgotten plays since 1992, presents a recording of Days to Come by legendary dramatist Lillian Hellman. Although it only ran briefly on Broadway, this rarely seen family drama is set against the backdrop of labor strife in a small Ohio town. Directed by J.R. Sullivan, The Mint's 2018 production stars Mary Bacon, Janie Brookshire, Larry Bull, Chris Henry Coffey, Dan Daily, Ted Deasy, Roderick Hill, Betsy Hogg, Kim Martin-Cotton, Geoffrey Allen Murphy and Evan Zes. Fill out this GoogleForm in order to receive the password to watch the show for free until Sunday, February 21 on The Mint's website. Donations are encouraged.
TWEED TheaterWorks: 'Taint
Like many NYC nightspots, East Village alt-cabaret club Pangea is in dire financial straits. So, over the holidays, the camp masters at TWEED TheaterWorks put together an irreverent variety show to help see the venue through the new year. The lineup is a who's who of downtown divas, including drag legend Charles Busch, storyteller David Cale, opera singer Joseph Keckler and vocal impressionist Amber Martin. Tickets are $20 and the recording is viewable until Wednesday, January 20.
Fake Friends: Circle Jerk
Fake Friends presents an encore stream of Circle Jerk, a critically acclaimed satire about gay white supremacists. Penned and performed by Michael Breslin and Patrick Foley, who wrote the book for the viral Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical, this is an unsettling examination of right-wing trolling in the queer community. Tickets start at $5 and the recording is viewable until Sunday, January 17.
Estella Scrooge: A Christmas Carol with a Twist
If you haven't yet watched this tuneful, modern-day take on Dickens' old Christmas chestnut, you have until the end of this week! This holiday musical comes from John Caird and Paul Gordon, the team behind Broadway's Jane Eyre, and incorporates popular characters and plot lines from multiple Dickens' novels. Betsy Wolfe (Waitress) is the title character, a ruthless real estate mogul, who heads to her hometown for the holidays to foreclose on a hotel for the homeless run by her childhood sweetheart, Philip "Pip" Nickleby (Clifton Duncan). But soon three spirits arrive to scare her sweet. Broadway favorites Lauren Patten (Jagged Little Pill), Patrick Page (Hadestown), Carolee Carmello (Parade) and Danny Burstein (Moulin Rouge!) costar. Tickets start at $25 but if you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase them at a discount.
New Ohio Theatre: Journey Around My Bedroom
On Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m., and Sunday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. ET, if you're looking for an engaging family show, consider going on a Journey Around My Bedroom. Presented by Off-Off Broadway's innovative New Ohio Theatre, the story revolves around a young girl with a huge imagination, bored in her bedroom until a mysterious stranger appears and asks for help fixing his fantastical flying machine. Inspired by the writings of French author Xavier de Maistre and performed live, the hour-long show fuses toy theatre elements, contemporary puppetry, original songs and audience participation. Tickets are pay-what-you-can though a $25 donation per family is suggested.
Top image: Amy Lennox, Michael C. Hall and Sophia Anne Caruso in Lazarus. Photo by Johan Persson.