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The best live theater to stream online on April 7

Theaters are closed for now, but you can find great stage stars and events live online today

One Man, Two Guvnors
Photograph: Courtesy Joan Marcus One Man, Two Guvnors
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The isolation crisis has had a devastating effect on the performing arts. Broadway is shut down, and the ban on gatherings in New York extends to all other performance spaces as well. So the show must go online—and, luckily, streaming video makes that possible. Here are some of the best theater, opera, dance and cabaret performances you can watch today without leaving your house or apartment, many of which will help you support artists at a difficult time. We update this list completely every day, so please feel free to bookmark it and check back daily. (All show times are in Eastern Time.)

TUESDAY, APRIL 7, 2020

2pm: Stars in the House: Marlee Matlin
Showtune savant and SiriusXM host Seth Rudetsky (Disaster!) and his husband, producer James Wesley, are the animating forces behind this ambitious and very entertaining new series to benefit the Actors Fund. Twice a day, at 2pm and 8pm, they play host to a different theater star for a live, chatty interview interspersed with songs. (Rudetsky is an expert at sussing out good stories.) Dr. Jon LaPook, the chief medical correspondent for CBS News, provides periodic updates on public health; surprise virtual visitors are common as well. The main guest at today’s matinee is the fabulous and pathbreaking deaf actor Marlee Matlin, the youngest Best Actress winner in the history of the Oscars. (Amazingly, she was just 21 when she won for Children of a Lesser God.)

Marlee Matlin

4pm: CyberTank
The Tank, one of NYC’s premiere incubators of emerging talent, barrels forth with a weekly multidisciplinary variety show and discussion group, in which artists are welcome to participate remotely. This week’s edition is given over to current and former Tank interns.

6pm: The 24 Hour Plays: Viral Monologues
Since 1995, the 24 Hour Plays series has set itself a challenge: to write, cast and perform new playlets in the span of a single night and day. In this variation on that theme—which the group has now been doing for a month—20 leading writers create monologues or two-handers for 22 top actors, who record them and send them in for online broadcast. On Tuesdays from 6pm through midnight, a new piece goes live every 15 minutes on the 24 Hours Plays’ Instagram feed, where they remain viewable afterward. The actors this time include Ethan Hawke, Marlo Thomas, Michael Urie, Reed Birney, Wayne Brady, Bill Camp, Michael Cyril Creighton, Crystal Dickinson, Brandon J. Dirden, Deanna Dunagan, Marin Ireland, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Mia Katigbak, Elizabeth Marvel, Isaac Powell and Portia; among the writers are Will Arbery, Dan Kois, David Lindsay-Abaire, Christopher Oscar Peña, Max Posner, Sarah Schulman, Betty Shamieh, Jonathan Marc Sherman and Charly Evon Simpson.

7pm: New Works Series: Mommie Dearest and I Don't Want to Talk About It 
In this free half-hour live-streamed show, New York Theatre Barn's developement series Zooms in on two musicals-in-progress: Christina Crawford and David Nehl’s Mommie Dearest, adapted from Crawford’s 1978 memoir about a long-suffering movie star and the daughter who doesn’t sufficiently value the beautiful dresses she gives her; and Ben Caplan’s I Don’t Want to Talk About It, a rock musical about mental health.

7pm: The Show Must Go On…Show
Howie Michael Smith and Andy Truschinski host this new, weekly 15-minute variety show about using creativity to cope with the pandemic. Tonight’s inaugural episode features Freestyle Love Supreme's James Monroe Iglehart, Andrew “Jelly Roll” Bancroft and Anthony Venezialeas well as doctor Anthony Weiner, artists Bob and Jill Whitney Armstrong and meditation expert Minita Gandhi.

7pm: Café La MaMa Live: Take 1
In the spirit of the coffeehouse culture from which much of the Off-Off Broadway scene emerged, La MaMa inaugurates a weekly series to give writers, dancers, poets and musicians a digital stage in real time. This week’s curator is Theo Cote; participating artists include Amy Lawless, Rebecca Layton, Evan Gill Smith, Office Culture, Annie Rigney, Jeremy Wiles-Young and Ariel Yelen.

7:30pm: The Metropolitan Opera: La Fanciulla del West
The Met continues its immensely popular rollout of past performances, recorded in HD and viewable for free. A different archival production goes live at 7:30pm each night and remains online for the next 23 hours. This week’s eclectic lineup of classics continues as local favorite Deborah Voigt plays a Wild West bar owner in Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West, which had its world premiere at the Met in 1910. Nicola Luisotti conducts this 2011 performance, which costars Marcello Giordani and Lucio Gallo. 

La Fanciulla del West // Photograph: Courtesy Ken Howard

8pm: Stars in the House: Barry reunion
See 2pm above. The evening edition of this twice-daily interview show strays from its usual theatrical focus to chat with cast members of the HBO sitcom Barry, including Henry Winkler and D’Arcy Carden.

9pm–3am: Full Pink Moon
In honor of tonight’s Super Pink Moon, the experimental opera company Opera Povera is live-streaming a six-hour, quarantine-friendly adaptation of Pauline Oliveros’s radical durational piece The Lunar Opera; Deep Listening For_Tunes., which premiered at Lincoln Center in 2000. As envisioned by composer–director Sean Griffin, this six-hour performance will unite some 250 performers through Zoom; Oliveros’s score, such as it is, mandates that “each performer is responsible for their own character, costume, props and what or how to perform.” Expect some kind of profound chaos. 

BONUS (4pm–9:30pm): Marie’s Crisis Virtual Piano Bar
The beloved West Village institution keeps the show tunes rolling merrily along every night of the week. Read all about it here. Join the Maries Group page on Facebook to watch from home, and don’t forget to tip the pianist and staff through Venmo. Tonight’s scheduled pianists are James Merillat (@James-Merillat-2) and Franca Vercelloni (@Franca-Vercelloni).

BONUS: Hamilton cast reunion surprise
If you haven’t seen this yet, stop what you’re doing right—we said right now—and take seven minutes to watch Lin-Manuel Miranda and the original Broadway cast of Hamilton make a surprise mass appearance on John Krasinski’s YouTube series, Some Good News, and sing the musical’s opening number to a 9-year-old girl who didn’t get to see the show on Broadway last month. This is seven minutes of heaven. 

Hamilton on Some Good News

BONUS: National Theatre at Home: One Man, Two Guvnors
Thanks to its NT Live series, London’s venerable National Theatre has a treasure trove of excellent recordings of past productions—and now the NT is streaming one play per week for free, every Thursday on YouTube. (You get the full ensuing week to catch each one.) Kicking things off in very high spirits indeed is Richard Bean’s daffy 2011 farce One Man, Two Guvnors, a 1960s update of the 1743 Italian comedy The Servant of Two Masters. This is the show that made James Corden a major star—and won him a Tony—and it’s easy to see why. As Time Out’s David Cote wrote of the 2012 Broadway production: “Not enough praise can be heaped on Corden’s physical genius, whether trying to lift an improbably heavy trunk, getting into a knock-down, drag-out fight with himself or dragooning audience volunteers into the madness.” The play can be viewed only through tomorrow; after that it cedes its place to Sally Cookson’s Jane Eyre.

BONUS: The Downtown Seder
A New York City tradition for more than 25 years, the Downtown Seder gathers some 20 entertainers and thinkers to tell the story of the ancient Israelites' rapid exit from slavery in Egypt. Participants include Perry Farrell, Lewis Black, Speech, Rep. Jerry Nadler, Al Franken, Peter Yarrow, Max Weinberg, Judy Gold, Sandra Bernhard and Dr. Ruth Westheimer. The video remains viewable after the live broadcast on Monday evening. Read more about the Downtown Seder here

8pm: Lips Together, Teeth Apart
In honor of the late Terrence McNally, who died March 24 of coronavirus complications, Broadway.com presented an all-star reading yesterday of McNally’s 1991 play about two straight couples at the Fire Island beach house of a gay man who has recently died of AIDS. Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Zachary Quinto, Celia Keenan-Bolger and Ari Graynor play the roles originally filled, respectively, by Nathan Lane, Anthony Heald, Christine Baranki and Swoosie Kurtz. Trip Cullman directed. You can still watch it today, and make a donation: Proceeds benefit the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund.

BONUS: School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play
In Jocelyn Bioh’s ferocious comedy, set in 1986, the queen bee at an exclusive Ghanaian boarding school competes with a sunny American student for the attention of a pageant recruiter. Goodman Theatre’s Chicago production, directed by Lili-Anne Brown, was suspended before it opened, but we liked the play’s NYC premiere in 2017 very much. So did a lot of others: It was one of the buzziest shows of the season, and returned for an encore run. From this week through April 29, the Goodman is making a high-quality digital recording of its production—with good sound and multiple changes of camera angle—available for home viewing. Tickets range from $15 to $100 on a pay-what-you-choose basis; you can watch the video for up to two weeks after buying a ticket, but once you start watching you have to finish it within a day. (That won’t be hard; it’s only 80 minutes long, and it zips by.)

BONUS: Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show: Quarantine Edition
Billed as "a first look at NYC’s finest emerging variety talents and an intimate experience with circus stars from around the world," this monthly exhibition of curious human endeavors—sponsored by the Bindlestiff alt-circus gang—might feature anything from stripping clowns to heavy-metal magicians. Last night, a remote edition of the vaudevillian variety pageant hit YouTube. Keith "Bindlestiff" Nelson hosts remote artists including Nelson Lugo, Michael Bongar, Ekaterina Sknarina, Benjamin Domask-Ruh, Kathryn Carr, Matthew Lish, Zeroboy, Deborah Lohse, Butch and Buttercup, Magic Brian and Brad Shur. Contributions are welcome.

BONUS: Shakespeare’s Globe: Hamlet
London’s Shakespeare’s Globe is a replica of the Elizabethan playhouse for which the Bard wrote many of his plays, and it often aims to reproduce the production conditions under which those works were originally presented. Starting yesterday, the company is rolling out videos of six of its productions for free via YouTube. A new production drops every second Monday at 6pm GMT (i.e. 2pm EDT), and stays up for two full weeks. The first offering is Shakespeare’s magnum opus, Hamlet, where a ghost and a prince meet and everyone ends in mincemeat; in a gender-blind modern gesture, the company’s artistic director, Michelle Terry, plays the title role. In addition to the different English-language productions that the Globe will be streaming every fortnight, the company also plans to open all 34 videos from its world-spanning  2012 Globe to Globe festival for free streaming through June 28. All of them except Dominic Dromgoole’s Henry V are in languages other than English, but subtitles are provided for 20 of them.

BONUS: Neil LaBute’s Ten X Ten
The St. Louis Actors’ Studio presents a series of filmed monologues by the provocative Neil LaBute (In the Company of Men), performed in real time. A different pair will be released each Wednesday for five weeks; links are shared on STLAS’s Twitter account each Wednesday at 6pm. This week’s monologues are for characters in their thirties, and are performed by Frederick Weller and Maggie Grace. (Performers in future weeks include Jenna Fischer, Jason Patric, Richard Kind, Amy Madigan, Bill Pullman and Judith Light.)

BONUS: Ben Rimalower: Patti Issues
Everyone’s a little obsessed with Broadway überdiva Patti LuPone these days, thanks to her fabulously bonkers basement-tour videos on Twitter, but few can rival musical-theater queen and podcast host Ben Rimalower. In this revealing one-man show, which he has performed on and off for nearly a decade, Rimalower explains how his fraught relationship with his gay, narcissistic father dovetailed with his obsession with LuPone. “Patti Issues is meticulously scripted and executed, with poignant punch lines that deliver laughs, emotion and insight into gay diva worship in equal measure,” wrote As Time Out’s Raven Snook in her review of the show. “Rimalower recounts his coming-of-stage tale with such wit, feeling and conviction that you buy every outrageous word of it.” To help entertain you during this troubled time, he is now sharing a full recording of the show for free on YouTube.

BONUS: Stars in the House archives
Did you miss your favorite Broadway star when they dropped in to chat on Stars in the House? Fear not: You can watch any past episode on YouTube (except the few devoted to reading whole plays live). And remember, it’s never too late to show your appreciation by making a donation to the Actors Fund.

BONUS: Molly Pope: Molly Pope, a Gay Man, and a Piano
Molly Pope's viscerally thrilling alto is a rich gusher of sound that emerges like a full-on blast from the past, but her cabaret shows are hilariously full of present tension. In this highly entertaining 70-minute set, recorded in February at the Duplex, the downtown darling and cult gay fave applies her Ed Sullivan Show neoretro vocals to a variety of contemporary pop songs, from the Carpenters and the Bee Gees to the Scissor Sisters and Hole, joined by the frisky Matt Aument at the piano. To view the video on YouTube, send Pope $5 (or more!) through Venmo at @Molly-Pope; include your email address with the purchase, and she'll send you a link to the video.

Molly Pope // Photograph: Courtesy Allison Michael Orenstein

IN MEMORIAM: Adam Schlesinger
The hugely talented songwriter Adam Schlesinger died on Wednesday of coronavirus complications at the age of 52. It’s an unspeakable loss. A founding member of the bands Fountains of Wayne, Ivy and Tinted Windows, Schlesinger co-wrote songs for TV’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and earned an Oscar nom for the title tune of That Thing You Do. But he also loved musical theater; he co-wrote the score for the 2008 John Waters musical Cry-Baby, and his new collaboration with Sarah Silverman, The Bedwetter, was scheduled to premiere this month. In his memory, here are two songs from Cry-Baby: the Patsy Cline spoof “Screw Loose,” performed by him and co-author David Javerbaum, and the production number “A Little Upset,” performed by the show’s cast on the Tony Awards. And he won back-to-back Emmy Awards for these two numbers performed by Neil Patrick Harris as the Tonys’ host: 2011’s “It’s Not Just for Gays Anymore” and 2012’s “If I Had Time.” Both are hilarious. 

RECOMMENDED: The best musicals you can stream right now on BroadwayHD 

 

NOTE: If you would like to be considered for a listing on this page, please write to Adam Feldman at theaterfromhome@gmail.com. 

 

 

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