The current crisis has had a devastating effect on the performing arts. Broadway has shut down for at least the rest of 2020, and the ban on gatherings in New York extends to all other large performance spaces as well. So the show must go online—and streaming video makes that possible. Here are some of the best theater, opera, dance and cabaret events you can watch today without leaving home, many of which will help you support artists and charities. Performances that go live today are at the top of the list; scroll down past the daily listings to find events you can still watch for a limited time and, below that, a bonus section of videos that have no expiration. We update this page daily, so bookmark it for the latest information.
Oregon Shakespeare Festival: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Now (available through July 22)
Located in Ashland, Oregon, the OSF has had more than 20 million visitors since it was established back in 1935. On its new streaming service, Shows on O!, the company is now sharing a video of director Joseph Haj’s pre-closure 2020 production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in which a bossy Bottom falls into a wild world of drugged-up fairy sex. Also currently available for streaming (through July 15) is Karen Zacarias’s The Copper Children, which looks at a crisis that erupted in 1904 when orphans from New York were sent to live with Mexican families in Arizona. Each recording can be rented for 48 hours for $15.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream | Photograph: Jenny Graham
National Theatre: The Deep Blue Sea
Now (available for one week)
Thanks to its NT Live series, London’s venerable National Theatre has a treasure trove of excellent recordings of past productions—and now it is streaming one play per week for free on YouTube in a series that comes to an end on July 16. This next-to-last offering, filmed in 2016, is director Carrie Cracknell’s highly acclaimed revival of Terence Rattigan’s melancholy 1952 drama The Deep Blue Sea, starring Helen McCrory as a woman trying to piece her life together after an unsuccessful suciide attempt. “It’s a beautifully judged, exquisitely sad production that remains faithful to Rattigan’s period setting, but subtly enhances it,” wrote Andrzej Lukowski in his five-star Time Out London review. “What is most striking about [McCrory’s] performance is not her weakness but her strength, her almost fearsome calm and composure. Where Hester’s flash lover Freddie (Tom Burke) is a drunken, self-centred mess and her wealthy estranged husband William (Peter Sullivan) has a sweet lack of complexity, Hester is lucid, self-possessed and agonisingly self-aware.”
The Deep Blue Sea | Photograph: Richard Hubert Smith
Stratford Festival: Romeo and Juliet
Now (available through July 30)
The pride of Canadian theater, Ontario's Stratford Festival, has been forced to put its 2020 season on hold, but every week it is offering a free taste of its excellence: full recordings of a dozen past Shakespeare productions, which were filmed for cinematic release. Each show remains viewable for three weeks. In this latest offering, Scott Wentworth directs a 2017 production of Shakespeare's family-feud tragedy, in which rebellious teens have sex and score drugs from a local priest. Antoine Yared and Sara Farb play the title roles.
Romeo and Juliet | Photograph: Lynda Churilla
HERE: A Series of Landscapes
Friday 1pm EDT / 6pm BST (live only)
Seven performers Zoom together in A Series of Landscapes, a dreamlike original opera-theater work created by the New York new-music collective thingNY and presented by the arts center HERE. The creators are Gelsey Bell, Isabel Castellvi, Andrew Livingston, Paul Pinto, Erin Rogers, Dave Ruder and Jeffrey Young. Tickets are pay-what-you-can, and reservations are required; the show is performed live this afternoon and twice tomorrow.
A Series of Landscapes | Photograph: thingNY
The Shows Must Go On!: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Friday 2pm EDT / 7pm BST (available for 48 hours)
The YouTube channel The Shows Must Go On! began by rolling out a different Andrew Lloyd Webber musical every week, then moved on to NBC’s live broadcasts of musicals. As its last offering before going on hiatus through at least the middle of August, the series returns to the beginning: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which it first streamed way way back at the start of April, not long after the crisis began. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's first musical is a cheeky pop-rock Bible story about a flashy dresser who gets sold into slavery and then rises to power after a false accusation of sexual assault. This direct-to-video 1999 film version is pure camp and a good deal of fun. Donny Osmond has the central role, and is frequently without even a shirt much less a coat. Maria Friedman does most of the vocal lifting as the Narrator; Richard Attenborough and Joan Collins have cameos as, respectively, Jacob and Potiphar's Wife.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat | Photograph: Courtesy the Really Useful Group
Royal Ballet : Romeo and Juliet
Friday 2pm EDT / 7pm BST (available through July 22)
The Royal Opera House at Covent Garden has been streaming operas and ballets every week to help culture-hungry Brits and others get through the coronavirus pandemic. This week's selection is Kenneth MacMillan’s 1965 stab at Romeo and Juliet, set to Prokofiev’s beloved score. The star-crossed stars of this 2015 performance are Yasmine Naghdi and Matthew Ball.
Romeo and Juliet | Photograph: Alice Pennefather
Cirque du Soleil
Friday 3pm EDT / 8pm BST
In its ongoing CirqueConnect series, the Québécois neocircus behemoth Cirque du Soleil continues to draw treasures from its rich vault of archives. This week's special includes acrobatic highlights from Luzia, Bazzar and the steampunk-themed Kurios—Cabinet of Coriosities.
Luzia | Photograph: Matt Beard
Marie’s Crisis Virtual Piano Bar
Friday 4pm–9:30pm EDT / 9pm–2:30am BST
See Thursday 4pm. Tonight’s scheduled pianists are Kenney Green (@KenneyGreenMusic) and Brandon James Gwinn (@brandonjamesg).
Julie Halston: Virtual Halston
Friday 5pm EDT / 10pm BST
The divinely daffy Julie Halston suggests a cross between Teri Garr and Thelma Ritter, and her career includes many shows as Charles Busch's longtime muse as well as memorable supporting turns in such Broadway productions as Gypsy, You Can’t Take it With You and Tootsie. Now she hosts a weekly half-hour talk show, and why not? She’s one of the city’s most amusing talkers. Her guests on this episode are actor-singer Anthony Wayne (Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical) and On Stage host Frank DiLella.
Julie Halston | Photograph: Walter McBride
Bristol Riverside Theatre: Summer Music Fest: From Phantom to Mame
Friday 7pm EDT / midnight BST (live only)
Pennsylvania’s Bristol Riverside Theatre offers a virtual edition of its annual concert series, Summer Music Fest. Each of the three shows is performed live and recorded to be shown again at two later dates. From Phantom to Mame, which debuted on July 1, is devoted to songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber and the late Jerry Herman. Keith Baker serves as host and music director; the lineup of singers comprises Demetria Joyce Bailey, Rebecca Robbins, Keith Spencer, Sean Thomspon and Donna Vivino (who was playing Grizabella in the national tour of Cats before the pandemic). Tickets cost $35, which will help the Bucks County company collect some much-needed bucks.
Donna Vivino | Photograph: Justin Patterson
Metropolitan Opera: Eugene Onegin
Friday 7:30pm EDT / 12:30am BST (available for 23 hours)
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 usually remains online for the next 23 hours. In tonight’s offering, Tchaikovsky’s 1879 Pushkin adaptation Eugene Onegin, the great Russian soprano Anna Netrebko plays a young woman whose heart is broken by an aristocrat—the title character, played by Mariusz Kwiecień—who comes to regret his Onegin off-again approach to romance. The great Irish actor Fiona Shaw directs this 2013 production; Valery Gergiev conducts, and the cast also includes Piotr Beczała, Alexei Tanovitski, Oksana Volkova and Elena Zaremba.
Eugene Onegin | Photograph: Ken Howard
Dixon Place: Hot! Festival
Friday 7:30pm and 9pm EDT / 12:30am and 2am BST (live only)
Escape your humdrum black-and-white life for the many shades of gay at the Hot! Festival, Dixon Place's annual celebration of all things same-sex. The festival flames on tonight with Jack Tracy’s feature film Snowflake (7:30pm), the musical-theater showcase Tin Pan Alley 2 (7:30pm) and the original sex-worker comedy Fuck Off, Julia (9pm), by the boylesque artist and porn star Chris Harder. Reservations are required.
Chris Harder | Photograph: David Ayllon
Bernadette Peters: A Special Concert
Friday 8pm EDT / 1am BST (available through July 14)
In a Broadway career that has spanned more than 60 years to date—in such shows as Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods and revivals of Gypsy and Follies—the perpetually lovable Bernadette Peters has established herself as one of the great musical-theater leading ladies of all time, with a special affinity for the work of Stephen Sondheim. This recording of her full 2009 concert Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre is being streamed as a benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The online event includes a new conversation between Peters and the charming actor Michael Urie.
Bernadette Peters | Photograph: Peter James Zielinski
Aye Defy: Salt Pepper Ketchup
Friday 8pm EDT / 1am BST (live only)
Actor and Play-PerView cofounder Mirirai Sithole is the motivating force behind Aye Defy, a new series of live-only readings to raise money for charity. Tonight’s play is Josh Wilder’s Salt Pepper Ketchup, which looks at an old-school Chinese take-out joint in a South Philadelphia neighborhood that is undergoing gentrification. Jeremiah Davidson directs a diverse cast of eight that includes Eston Fung and Jenelle Chu. Reservations are required, and tickets cost $5 and up; tonight’s performance benefits Classical Theatre of Harlem and True Colors Theatre.
Eston Fung | Photograph: Courtesy of the artist
Four Walls Theater: Rights of Passage
Friday 8pm EDT / 1am BST (available through July 24)
Four Walls Theater, a company created specifically to rise to the challenges of the coronavirus crisis, presents a live reading of Michelle Tyrene Johnson’s drama Rights of Passage, in which A white police officer seeks legal counsel after killing an unarmed Black youngster. Sibyl Rolle directs a cast THAT consists of 2020 graduates from college and MFA programs. Anyone can watch, but audience members who reserve in advance can participate in a postshow discussion on Zoom. (Proceeds partly benefit Black Lives Matter.)
Michelle Tyrene Johnson | Photograph: Courtesy of the artist
City Garage: Iphigenia
Friday 8pm EDT / 1am BST (available though July 8)
The experimental-theater company City Garage has been blowing minds in Santa Monica, California, since the 1980s. This weekend it is streaming an archival recording of its 2006 production of Iphigenia, Charles L. Mee’s adaptation of Euripides' tragedy Iphigenia at Aulis, in which the Greek warrior Agamemnon sacrifices his family for job advancement, with dire future consequences. Directed by Frederíque Michel, the show is the third and final installment of City Garage’s trilogy of Mee’s postmodern takes on the ancients.
Iphigenia | Photograph: Paul Rubenstein
Joe’s Pub: Natalie Weiss
Friday 8pm EDT / 1am BST
The essential downtown music hub Joe’s Pub continues its rollout of favorites from its archives. This 2019 concert features riff analyst, YouTube video star, Wicked understudy witch and American Idol semifinalist Natalie Weiss. The stream is free but donations are welcome via Venmo (@thenatalieweiss).
Natalie Weiss | Photograph: Michael Carlo
Mirrorbox Theatre: Listen for the Light
Friday 9pm EDT / 2am BST (live only)
Based in Cedar Rapids, Mirrorbox Theatre bills itself as Iowa’s only company exclusively dedicated to presenting new plays in their state premieres. In its Out of the Box series, the company presents free Zoom readings of contemporary plays every Friday night. Tonight’s offering, directed by Cavan Hallman, is Kara Lee Corthron’s Listen for the Light, which stars Peter Mark Kendall as Mormon prophet Joseph Smith and Omarr Hatcher and Catherine Blades as his two companions—a former slave and a teenage girl—in 1844 Illinois. Seating is limited and registration is required.
Peter Mark Kendall | Photograph: Courtesy of the artist
Pixel Playhouse: Definitely Not Clue
Friday 9pm EDT / 2am BST (live only)
The digital-theater Pixel Playhouse presents a virtual production of Sara Beil’s interactive musical murder mystery, which blends live and recorded performances and asks audiences to solve puzzles and unlock new scenes. The story concerns a reunion of high school friends that takes an ominous turn. Ryan O’Connor directs a cast of eight. Any resemblance between the characters they have mustered and those in the board game Clue is surely just plum coincidence.
Definitely Not Clue | Photograph: Courtesy Pixel Playhouse
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