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 Memorial Day weekend, May 23 to 25, for free (or at very low cost).
National Theatre: A Streetcar Named Desire
London's National Theatre presents A Streetcar Named Desire starring Gillian Anderson as the tragic Blanche DuBois opposite Ben Foster's unforgiving Stanley Kowalski. Directed by Benedict Andrews, this radical reimagining of Tennessee Williams' classic had a sold-out limited run at Brooklyn's St. Ann's Warehouse and features a slowly rotating set, fiery emotions and some truly brutal moments. Prepare to see this familiar play from a new perspective. Watch for free anytime through Thursday, May 28 at 2 p.m. ET on the National Theatre's YouTube channel.
New York City Ballet: Liturgy and Carousel (A Dance)
NYCB continues its online spring season with a pair of pieces by Tony-winning American in Paris choreographer Christopher Wheeldon. Liturgy is a pensive pas de deux featuring Maria Kowroski and Jared Anglhas, set to music by Arvo Pärt. Carousel (A Dance) is his take on the iconic "dream ballet" from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, with Lauren Lovette and Tyler Angle. Watch for free anytime through Monday at 8 p.m. ET on NYCB's YouTube channel.
The unofficial Harry Potter parody Puffs, which ran for years Off Broadway, flies into your home through the magic of streaming. Subtitled Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic & Magic, the comedy focuses on an average wizardry student and his pals living in the shadow of you know who. This performance was filmed in 2018 and is available on Playbill.com. Tickets are $8.99 with a portion of the proceeds going to the charity Frontline Foods. Watch anytime through Sunday, May 31.
Bombshell in Concert/Smash Cast Reunion
Despite its title, TV's campy love letter to Broadway, Smash, was more of a cult sensation. The NBC series about the making of a Broadway bio-musical about Marilyn Monroe only ran for two seasons, but the fan love never died (which is probably why it's now aiming for Broadway). In 2015, The Actors Fund presented a one-night-only concert of Bombshell, the theatre show within the TV show, with songs by the Tony-winning Hairspray team of Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, and that was a bona fide smash. Earlier this week, People.com posted a recording of that still talked about event, with a virtual Smash cast reunion during the intermission featuring most of the TV show's stars, including Christian Borle, Will Chase, Brian d'Arcy James, Jack Davenport, Ann Harada, Megan Hilty, Jeremy Jordan, Katharine McPhee, Andy Mientus, Debra Messing, Leslie Odom Jr., Krysta Rodriguez and Wesley Taylor. Watch for free on People's Facebook page.
The Homebound Project
The Homebound Project has released its second edition of playlets, and the lineup is once again stellar. Enjoy new shorts by big-name dramatists including Pulitzer Prize finalists Sarah DeLappe and Will Arbery, and Off-Broadway darlings Adam Bock and Anne Washburn, featuring stage stars such as Tony winner Mary-Louise Parker and Zachary Quinto. The brainchild of playwright Catya McMullen and director Jenna Worsham, this initiative is raising money to support food insecure kids during the pandemic. Tickets start at $10 and you can watch anytime through Sunday, May 24.
Shakespeare's Globe: The Winter's Tale
London's Shakespeare's Globe shares a recording of its 2018 mounting of The Winter's Tale, Shakespeare's genre-shifting comedy-tragedy-romance about an insanely jealous king, a pair of determined young lovers, an oracle, a magical statue and a bear. Watch for free anytime through Sunday, May 31 on the theatre's YouTube channel.
Timon of Athens at the Stratford Festival
Ontario's venerable Stratford Festival continues its Shakespeare on Film series with one of the Bard's lesser produced tragedies, Timon of Athens, often labeled as one of his problem plays. Stratford vet Joseph Ziegler stars as the title character, a wealthy and generous man whose friends disappear with his funds. Watch for free anytime through Thursday, June 11 on the Stratford Festival's YouTube channel.
MCC LiveLabs: One Acts: The Sentinels
MCC Theater presents The Sentinels, a one-act by The Inheritance playwright Matthew Lopez featuring a formidable foursome of fierce females: Tony winners Jane Alexander, Katrina Lenk and Priscilla Lopez, and Tony nominee Denée Benton. A meditation on mourning that moves backwards in time, the drama centers on three September 11 widows who meet every year on the anniversary of the tragedy that upended their lives. Watch the performance for free through Saturday evening on MCC Theater's YouTube page.
On Saturday at 2 p.m. ET, catch the musical rom-com Marry Harry, seen at NYC's York Theatre Company in 2017. An old-fashioned romp, it centers on an unlikely couple and their overbearing parents, who almost detail the relationship. The cast includes Tony nominee Veanne Cox. Watch for free on the show's website
Stars in the House Re-airs The Little Dog Laughed
On Saturday at 2 p.m. ET, Stars in the House re-airs its April reading of The Little Dog Laughed, Douglas Carter Beane's uproarious Tony-nominated comedy about an up-and-coming gay actor whose ambitious agent wants him to stay in the closet. Two members of the original Broadway cast reprise their roles: Johnny Galecki (of Roseanne and Big Bang Theory fame) as a charming hustler and the riotous Julie White, who won a Tony Award for her acerbic turn as the no-holds-barred agent. Watch for free on YouTube.
Martha Graham Dance Company: Letter to the World
On Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET, the Martha Graham Dance Company presents Letter to the World, the modern dance legend's exploration of the imagination and emotional life of Emily Dickinson. The piece is being divided into two parts over two weeks. Today you can see footage of an early cast with Graham, Erick Hawkins and Merce Cunningham, as well as a 1972 mounting with Pearl Lang. Watch for free on the dance company's YouTube channel.
Mauricio Martinez at Feinstein's/54 Below
On Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET, Feinstein's/54 Below shares a concert by On Your Feet! star Mauricio Martinez. After playing Emilio Estefan on Broadway and in the first national tour, the heartthrob returned to his adopted city to perform a show about his life and career, including the many musicals he headlined in his native Mexico. Tony nominee Orfeh and Mariand Torres guest star. Watch for free on the club's YouTube channel. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.
Faust at the Met
On Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares its 2011 mounting of Gounod's Faust, starring Marina Poplavskaya, Jonas Kaufmann and René Pape, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. The production was filmed for the company's Live in HD series, and is available to watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's offering, Don Giovanni, until 6:30 p.m. today.
Creede Repertory Theatre: Ripcord
On Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET, Colorado's Creede Repertory Theatre shares a recording of its production of Ripcord, Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire's dark comedy about a pair of assisted living roommates who enter into a life-changing bet. Tickets are available to purchase from the theatre but TDF members get a discount. Also on Sunday.
LAByrinth Theater Company: Our Lady of 121st Street
On Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, the celebrated LAByrinth Theater Company presents a reading of one of its biggest hits, Stephen Adly Guirgis' Our Lady of 121st Street about a bunch of former friends reuniting at the Harlem funeral of their Catholic school teacher Sister Rose. Tony nominee Elizabeth Rodriguez directs this event, which features cast members from the original 2002 production alongside Bobby Cannavale and Tony winner Laurence Fishburne. Watch for free for 24 hours on LAByrinth's website.
Chita Rivera on Stars in the House
On Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, Broadway legend Chita Rivera holds court on Stars in the House, and she's bringing some of her best friends with her. Given all the A-listers she's worked with over the decades, we can't wait to see who shows up. Hosted by Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley, this twice daily show benefits The Actors' Fund. You can watch for free on YouTube.
Lower East Side Festival of the Arts: The Mt. Olympus of LES Love!
On Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, let's hear it for Off-Off Broadway theatre! For the past 25 years, the East Village's Theater for the New City has thrown a three-day arts festival on Memorial Day weekend that spills out into the streets. It's a reflection of this scrappy outfit's tenacity that a pandemic won't stop the fun. Prerecorded shows featuring more than 250 artists of all genres are available to view throughout the weekend. But the big event is tonight, a live performance featuring downtown luminaries Charles Busch, Phoebe Legere, Penny Arcade and Austin Pendleton, as well as Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham. Watch for free on the Theater for the New City's website.
TimeLine Theatre Company: To Master the Art
On Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ET, Chicago's TimeLine Theatre Company shares a recording of its production of To Master the Art, William Brown and Doug Frew's play about Paul and Julia Child's glorious journey of discovery in 1950s Paris. Tickets are available to purchase from the theatre but TDF members get a discount. Also on Sunday.
Stars in the House Presents Do You Read Me?
On Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, Stars in the House continues its weekly Plays in the House Jr. reading series with Kat Funkhouser's Do You Read Me?, a comedy about trying to farm on Mars, starring real-life Broadway babies Amaya Braganza (The King and I), Savvy Crawford (Amélie), Hudson Flynn (son of Andréa Burns), Presley Ryan (Beetlejuice) and Gregory Diaz IV. Watch for free on YouTube.
On Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, one of the nation's leading family theatre companies, TheaterWorksUSA, presents a reading of the musical Bunnicula, based on the children's book of the same name about a family that seemingly adopts a vampire bunny. The inimitable Charles Busch wrote the script and the original Off-Broadway cast reunites for this special event, which is sure to be a scream. Watch for free on TheaterWorksUSA's Facebook page though donations are encouraged.
Irish Arts Center: A Night in November Parts I and II
On Sunday at 3 p.m. ET, the Irish Arts Center presents the second installment of A Night in November, Marie Jones' one-man play about an Irishman's gradual epiphany in 1990s Belfast. Performed by Matthew Forsythe, the show is being released in three free installments. Part I is already online, and you can watch Part II on Sunday on the Irish Arts Center's YouTube channel. Part III will be released May 31.
Theatre for a New Audience: Caryl Churchill's Mad Forest
At 5 p.m. ET, Brooklyn's Theatre for a New Audience and the Fisher Center at Bard present a Zoom adaptation of Mad Forest, groundbreaking playwright Caryl Churchill's drama exploring the Romanian Revolution of 1989. Directed by Ashley Tata and starring students from the Bard Theater & Performance Program, the production combines live acting and video technology. The show is free but you must reserve your spot by Sunday at noon in order to receive the viewing link! If you miss out today, it will be performed once more on Wednesday May 27 at 3 p.m.
Lyrics & Lyricists: Jerry Herman - You I Like
On Sunday at 7 p.m. ET, the 92nd Street Y shares a tuneful tribute to Tony-winning songwriter Jerry Herman, whose feel-good musicals Mame, Hello, Dolly! and La Cage Aux Folles have been enthralling audiences for the past half century. Herman passed away last December, and a few months later 92Y presented this concert as part of its Lyrics & Lyricists series. Tony winner Cady Huffman directs and performs in this revue alongside fellow Broadway vets Quentin Earl Darrington, Bryonha Marie Parham and Ryan Vona . Watch for free anytime through Sunday, May 31 on the 92Y's website.
Manon at the Met
On Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares its 2012 mounting of Massenet's Manon, starring Marina Poplavskaya, Jonas Kaufmann and René Pape, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. The production was filmed for the company's Live in HD series, and is available to watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's offering, Faust, until 6:30 p.m. today.
Laura Benanti Guest Hosts Stars in the House
On Monday at 2 p.m. ET, Tony winner Laura Benanti, beloved for her crystalline soprano and wry sense of humor, guest hosts Stars in the House, and she's bringing some as-yet-unnamed friends with her. Expect a few fellow Broadway stars and perhaps some of the talented tykes she discovered through her viral #SunshineSongs initiative. This twice daily series supports The Actors Fund, and you can watch for free on YouTube.
The Joyce Theater: And Still You Must Swing
On Monday at 5 p.m. ET, dance haven The Joyce Theater celebrates National Tap Dance Day with selections from And Still You Must Swing, choreographer Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards' exploration of the history of the genre. She dances alongside fellow tappers Derick K. Grant and Jason Samuels Smith, and Tony-nominated dance-maker Camille A. Brown also makes a guest appearance. Watch for free for 24 hours on the Joyce's YouTube channel.
Bedlam: Much Ado About Nothing
On Monday at 6 p.m. ET, Bedlam, a theatre company lauded for its reinventions of classics (Sense & Sensibility, The Crucible), presents a reading of Shakespeare's effervescent comedy Much Ado About Nothing. Many of the troupe's regulars are performing, including artistic director Eric Tucker, and the evening kicks off with a half hour of live music. Watch for free on YouTube though donations are encouraged.
On Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET in honor of Memorial Day, the new theatre streaming service Broadway on Demand is screening Bandstand, an underrated musical starring Laura Ones and Corey Cott about WWII vets trying to win a music contest while grappling with PTSD. At 7:30 p.m. ET, Cott and members of the creative team will talk about the making of the musical, which begins at 8 p.m. ET. Tickets cost $6.99 and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), which supports those who've lost a military loved one.
La Damnation de Faust at the Met
On Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares its 2008 mounting of Berlioz's La Damnation de Faust, starring Susan Graham, Marcello Giordani and John Relyea, conducted by James Levine. The production was filmed for the company's Live in HD series, and is available to watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's offering, Manon, until 6:30 p.m. today.
Bindlestiff Open Stage: Quarantine Edition
On Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET, run away with the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus at the troupe's weekly live-streamed variety show, hosted by adorkable ringmaster Keith Nelson. Enjoy a cavalcade of jaw-dropping acts, including magician Lou Johnson, contortionist juggler Kira DiPietrantonio, aerialist Candice Storley, The Damm Family Circus and hula hooper Leonid the Magnificent. Watch for free on Bindlestiff's Facebook page though donations are encouraged.
A Coven of Elphabas on Stars in the House
On Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley host a quartet of performers who've defied gravity as Elphaba on Broadway: Eden Espinosa, Brandi Massey, Julia Murney and Jessica Vosk. This twice daily show benefits The Actors' Fund. You can watch for free on YouTube.
Jim Caruso's Pajama Cast Party
On Monday at 8 p.m. ET, cabaret maven Jim Caruso welcomes renowned singers and up-and-comers at Pajama Cast Party, a live-streamed version of his popular weekly Cast Party gatherings that have taken place at Birdland for decades. Tonight's lineup includes Cats Tony winner Betty Buckley, jazz pianist Rocco Fiorentino, performer, impressionist and friend to TDF Christina Bianco and Mo Rocca from CBS Sunday Morning. Watch for free on YouTube though tips via the Venmo app are appreciated.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
Top image: Corey Cott, Laura Osnes and the cast of Bandstand on Broadway. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.