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Best Streaming Performances to Watch December 22-January 2

Date: Dec 22, 2021


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In-person theatre is back in NYC, both on Broadway and beyond. But there are still wonderful shows to stream at home. Behold, 12 days of Christmas picks, from Wednesday, December 22 to Sunday, January 2, 2022, including holiday specials, dance and family shows to watch online from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.

Ongoing Throughout the Holidays

Alvin Ailey: Reunited We Dance Opening Night Gala - watch until Tuesday, December 28
Although Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater was forced to end its City Center run early due to COVID-19, the incomparable troupe is sharing a recording of its 2021 opening night gala Reunited We Dance as a special holiday treat. Enjoy performances of Robert Battle's Ella, and excerpts from Love Stories and For 'Bird' - With Love, and Ailey's masterpiece Revelations. Watch for free until Tuesday, December 28 on Ailey's YouTube channel.

Play-PerView: Brushstroke - watch until Tuesday, December 28
Earlier this month, Play-PerView presented a live reading of Brushstroke and you can watch a recording until next Tuesday. Written by and starring TV's John Ross Bowie (The Big Bang Theory, Speechless), the play centers on a '50s artist and his mysterious patron. Malcolm Barrett, Ana Ortiz, James Urbaniak and Jamie Denbo costar. Tickets are $15 and the recording is viewable until Tuesday, December 28.

Crossovers Live! The Holiday Finale with Audra McDonald and Ariana DeBose - watch until Friday, December 31
During the shutdown, Tony-winning performer and Actors Fund chairman Brian Stokes Mitchell launched this online talk show highlighting stage stars who've made it big in other mediums. In the season finale, he chats with his longtime friend, Black Theatre United cofounder, and Ragtime and Shuffle Along costar Audra McDonald, and Broadway vet-turned-big-screen performer Ariana DeBose (Schmigadoon, West Side Story). Tickets start at $10 and a portion of the proceeds benefits The Actors Fund.

Summoners Ensemble Theatre: A Christmas Carol - watch until Saturday, January 1, 2022
Every December, John Kevin Jones stars in this singular solo adaptation of Charles Dickens' holiday classic mounted at the 19th-century Merchant's House Museum in the East Village. In this historic setting, he plays Dickens performing all of the characters in his ghost tale of redemption, just like the Victorian author did back in the day. If you can't make it to the in-person production this season, you can stream a recording at home. Tickets are $35 and the recording is viewable until Saturday, January 1, 2022. Craving more Christmas Carols? Playbill has a roundup of streaming Christmas Carols across the country.

New York City Ballet: George Balanchine's The Nutcracker - watch until Sunday, January 2, 2022
Even though New York City Ballet's Christmas classic The Nutcracker is back on stage at Lincoln Center, you can also stream George Balanchine's legendary version of Tchaikovsky's fantastical ballet at home this holiday season. Recorded in 2019 during NYCB's annual engagement, this production stars principal dancers Maria Kowroski as the Sugarplum Fairy, Tyler Angle as her Cavalier and Megan Fairchild as Dewdrop. A lavish mounting with gorgeous sets and costumes, it's a must-see for dance lovers. Tickets are $20 and the recording is viewable until Sunday, January 2, 2022. Need more Nutcrackers? Playbill has a roundup of streaming Nutcrackers across the globe.

New Victory Theater: Jim Henson's Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas - watch until Sunday, January 2, 2022
New York's premier theatre for young audiences, the New Victory, is currently presenting a charming in-person production of Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas, but you can also stream this holiday show at home. Based on Muppet master Jim Henson's 1977 made-for-TV movie of the same name, the show centers on the poor but loving Emmet Otter and his mother, who both decide to enter a talent contest in the hope of winning prize money to buy each other Christmas gifts. It's a sweet story about following your dreams and being thankful for what you have, with songs by Paul Williams, direction and choreography by Tony winner Christopher Gattelli and eye-popping puppets courtesy of Jim Henson's Creature Shop. Tickets are $25 and the recording is viewable until Sunday, January 2, 2022.

Taylor Mac's Holiday Sauce... Booster! - watch Friday, December 24 to Sunday, January 2, 2022
Starting on Friday, December 24 at 4 p.m. ET, if you're in need of glitter, guffaws and radical joy, try playwright-performer Taylor Mac's virtual edition of their annual seasonal extravaganza Holiday Sauce, which was filmed in person earlier this month. The MacArthur genius and Pulitzer finalist (A 24-Decade History of Popular Music) blends music, film, burlesque and indescribable fabulousness for a jaw-dropping, NC-17-rated holiday revue. Backed by a full band, Mac slays songs and welcomes colorful special guests. The costumes alone—designed by Mac's longtime collaborator Machine Dazzle—are worth tuning in for. Tickets start at $10 and the recording is viewable until Sunday, January 2, 2022.

Cruel Intentions: The '90s Musical, Live in Concert - watch until Monday, January 3, 2022
Get ready to party like it's 1999 with Cruel Intentions: The '90s Musical, which was recorded live on stage at Hollywood's The Bourbon Room earlier this month. Based on Roger Kumble's campy cult film of the same name (a late 20th-century take on Les Liaisons Dangereuses with upper-crust New York City teenagers), the show was a hit in LA and NYC. This concert features veterans of both casts, including Constantine Rousouli, Frankie Grande, Jenn Harris, Emma Hunton and Janel Parrish, crooning tunes from the movie's iconic soundtrack, including "Colorblind" by Counting Crows, "Every You Every Me" by Placebo and "Bittersweet Symphony" by The Verve. Tickets are $20.

Paddington Saves Christmas - watch until Tuesday, January 4, 2022
Jonathan Rockefeller is a whiz at translating kid-lit classics from the page to the stage. His previous puppet musicals for young audiences include The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show and Winnie the Pooh, which is currently running Off Broadway. Paddington Saves Christmas is his first foray into filmed content and is an adaptation of his stage production Paddington Gets in a Jam, in which the beloved bear attempts to help his curmudgeonly neighbor, Mr. Curry, who needs to clean his home for holiday visitors. Paddington's good intentions wreak havoc, as always. Tickets are $10 and the recording is viewable until Tuesday, January 4, 2022.

PBS: The Nutcracker and the Mouse King - watch until Tuesday, January 11, 2022
Tony winner Alan Cumming serves as storyteller for The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, a reimagining of Tchaikovsky's holiday classic conceived by conductor John Mauceri, which explores what happened to the characters after Christmas. Watch for free until Tuesday, January 11, 2022 on PBS' website.

PBS: 20 Years of Christmas with The Tabernacle Choir - watch until Wednesday, January 12, 2022
Broadway favorite Brian Stokes Mitchell hosts this glorious retrospective of starry performances by Salt Lake City's The Tabernacle Choir. Enjoy classic clips featuring legends such as Angela Lansbury, Kristin Chenoweth, Renée Fleming, Audra McDonald, Santino Fontana and Stokes himself backed by the celebrated 360-member chorus. Watch for free until Wednesday, January 12, 2012 on PBS' website.

San Francisco Playhouse: Twelfth Night - watch until Saturday, January 15, 2022
San Francisco Playhouse is currently presenting an in-person production of Kwame Kwei-Armah and Shaina Taub's enchanting musicalization of Twelfth Night, but you can also watch a recording at home. The show premiered at Shakespeare in the Park a few seasons back and features glorious songs by Taub and a streamlined script that condenses Shakespeare's romantic comedy into 90 heartwarming minutes. This production was directed by Susi Damilano and filmed live on stage last month at the West Coast theatre. Tickets start at $15 and the recording is viewable until Saturday, January 15, 2022.

The Nice List - watch until Saturday, January 15, 2022
When Santa's away, the elves will play! That's the premise of Gary Adler and Phoebe Kreutz's one-act musical The Nice List, which was filmed remotely and debuted last December. It's back for a second helping of heartwarming holiday spirit and stars 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. Make a donation of any amount to Feeding America to watch the show, which is viewable until Saturday, January 15, 2022.

Estella Scrooge: A Christmas Carol with a Twist - watch until Monday, January 31, 2022
Recorded in 2020 during the shutdown, this musical modern-day take on the old Christmas chestnut comes from John Caird and Paul Gordon, the team behind Broadway's Jane Eyre, and incorporates popular characters and plot lines from multiple Charles 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. Jagged Little Pill Tony winner Lauren Patten, Moulin Rouge! Tony winner Danny Burstein and Hadestown's Patrick Page costar. Tickets start at $15 and the recording is viewable until Monday, January 31, 2022.

Donmar Warehouse: Constellations - watch until Monday, January 31, 2022
London's acclaimed Donmar Warehouse presents Nick Payne's Constellations, a time-bending two-hander that explores the notion of the multiverse by replaying key moments in one couple's romance. Michael Longhurst, who helmed the play on Broadway, directed this production, which was filmed on stage with four different casts alternating in this trippy tale. The pairings are Sheila Atim and Ivanno Jeremiah; Peter Capaldi and Zoë Wanamaker; Omari Douglas and Russell Tovey; and Anna Maxwell Martin and Chris O'Dowd. Tickets are £7.50 for each cast, approximately $10. Or you can watch all four for £20, approximately $27. The recording is viewable until Monday, January 31, 2022, and captions and audio description are available. You must create a Donmar Warehouse account to watch.

National Theatre at Home: War Horse - watch until Monday, January 31, 2022
A year ago, London's lauded National Theatre launched its own streaming service featuring professional stage captures of its productions. While you can buy a subscription, shows are also available to rent individually for 72 hours. New to the roster is War Horse, the profoundly moving story of a boy searching for his beloved steed against the bloody backdrop of World War I. Based on Michael Morpurgo's novel of the same name and adapted for the stage by Nick Stafford in association with the brilliant Handspring Puppet Company, the production was a smash, first at London's National Theatre and then on Broadway where it won five 2011 Tony Awards, including best play. War Horse tickets are $12 and the recording is viewable until Monday, January 31, 2022. Captions and audio description are available. It's just one of many fantastic shows you can stream so be sure to browse the entire list.

Paul Winter's 42nd Annual Winter Solstice Celebration - watch until Wednesday, June 15, 2022
Almost every holiday season since 1980, Grammy-winning saxophonist Paul Winter and his talented pals have performed a seasonal concert at NYC's Cathedral St. John the Divine. This year the festivities go virtual with a compilation of iconic performances from the event's four-decade history with special guests Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary; Ireland's Davy Spillane and Nóirín Ní Riain; Brazil's Ivan Lins and Fabiana Cozza; Russia's Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble and many others. Tickets are $20.

PBS: In Performance at the White House: Spirit of the Season - streaming indefinitely
Earlier this month, the White House hosted this festive concert, hosted by Jennifer Garner and featuring performances by an eclectic array of music stars, including Tony winner Billy Porter, opera great Andrea Bocelli and a cappella group Pentatonix. Watch for free on PBS' website.

HBO Max: Reopening Night - streaming indefinitely
Back in July, a month before Broadway started to reopen, New York's beloved Public Theater presented an all-Black mounting of Merry Wives for free as part of its annual summer Shakespeare in the Park series. It was a glorious production and, for many theatregoers, their first in-person show since the pandemic-induced shutdown. Documentarian Rudy Valdez was there to film all the behind-the-scenes work that made this milestone possible. At this challenging time for the theatre industry, this chronicle of artistic perseverance is particularly inspiring. HBO subscribers can watch for free.

All Arts: MasterVoices: Myths and Hymns - streaming indefinitely
Earlier this year, MasterVoices premiered a digital reimagining of the four-part theatrical song cycle Myths and Hymns by Light in the Piazza Tony winner Adam Guettel. Inspired by Greek myths and 19th-century Presbyterian hymns, the 1998 work explores the nature of faith and longing in our secular society. All Arts is now streaming all four chapters of this multimedia musical featuring a slew of Broadway stars including Norm Lewis, Kelli O'Hara, Renée Fleming, Joshua Henry, Shoshana Bean, Daniel Breaker and Jennifer Holliday. Watch for free on All Arts' website.

Wednesday, December 22

CBS: Kennedy Center Honors 
On Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET, earlier this fall, the annual Kennedy Center Honors were recorded in Washington, DC. This evening, you can watch the lineup of starry performances celebrating the lives and artistic achievements of operatic tenor Justino Díaz, Motown founder Berry Gordy, Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels, singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell and Tony-winning diva Bette Midler. Tony winner Kelli O'Hara and Stevie Wonder are among the performers who pay tribute. Watch for free on CBS' website.

Live from Feinstein's/54 Below: Norm Lewis: (There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays
On Wednesday at 9:45 p.m. ET, even though Feinstein's/54 Below has reopened for in-person performances, the swanky cabaret club is continuing to stream select shows live from its stage. Tonight, catch a seasonal show by Broadway favorite Norm Lewis. For years, the Porgy and Bess Tony nominee has performed an annual Christmas concert at Feinstein's/54 Below filled with uplifting songs and stories. In 2020, he even did a virtual one there. But this year he's back on stage in front of a live audience, backed by a swinging trio and joined by special guests Emilie Kouatchou (The Phantom of the Opera) and Douglas Lyons (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical). Tickets are $25. If you prefer to attend in person, click here for info.

Thursday, December 23

Stars in the House: Holiday Special
On Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, theatre mavens Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley host a holiday special featuring some of their talented pals, including Tony-nominated singing sisters Liz Callaway and Ann Hampton Callaway, Broadway vet Natascia Díaz and her father, celebrated opera singer and 2021 Kennedy Center Honoree Justino Díaz. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.

Friday, December 31

PBS: United in Song: Celebrating the American Dream
On Friday at 8 p.m. ET, ring in 2022 with this uplifting concert on PBS. Recorded in person on stage at Philadelphia's Independence Hall, the evening is hosted by Chita Rivera and features performances by Broadway favorites Lea Salonga and Paulo Szot, the Washington Ballet, the American Pops Orchestra and many others. Watch for free on TV on PBS Thirteen or on the channel's website.

Sunday, January 2

POSTPONED TO MONDAY, JANUARY 3 The Seth Concert Series: Jessica Vosk
On Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, even though show-tune savant Seth Rudetsky is back doing shows in person, he hasn't completely abandoned the virtual realm. In fact, he's relaunched his weekly live-streamed concert series! Tonight his guest is Jessica Vosk, a Broadway vet with powerhouse pipes best known for playing Elphaba in Wicked on tour and in NYC. Tickets are $25.


Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.

Top image: Taylor Mac in the 2018 edition of Holiday Sauce. The genre-busting artist is presenting a new streaming incarnation of his annual holiday show this year. Photo by Sarah Walker.