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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Alvin Ailey's Revelations
Photograph: Bill Hebert Revelations

The best live theater to stream online on June 4

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

By Adam Feldman
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The current crisis has had a devastating effect on the performing arts. Broadway has 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 home, many of which will help you support the artists involved.

Events that go live today are at the top of the list; scroll down past the daily listings to find events you can still stream for a limited time and, below that, a bonus section of videos that have no expiration date. We update this page every day, so please feel free to bookmark it and check back. 

NOTE: Several events that had been scheduled to stream today have been postponed in response to ongoing protests for racial equality across the United States.

 Shakespeare in the Park: Much Ado About Nothing
Final week (U.S. only, through June 7)
The Public Theater's beloved Shakespeare in the Park has been canceled this year, but you still have a few more days to catch this delightful 2019 staging of the Bard's tart-tongued romcom Much Ado About Nothing. Filmed at Central Park's open-air Delacorte Theater for PBS's Great Performances, the production stars Orange Is the New Black's radiant Danielle Brooks and an adorably goofy Grantham Coleman as too-witty longtime enemies whose friends plot to get them together. "Shakespeare in the Park's modernized new production of Much Ado About Nothing is powered by strong women of color—and most of the actresses in Kenny Leon's all-black ensemble command authority thrillingly as they win our laughs and hearts," wrote Raven Snook in her Time Out review. "As much fun as this Much Ado provides, however, it isn’t all a romp. After the climatic and joyous finale, a somber button reminds us that the battle of the sexes and the battle for equality both are far from won."

Much Ado About Nothing | Photograph: Joan Marcus

Ma-Yi Theater Company: The Romance of Magno Rubio 
Last chance (through midnight)
Ma-Yi Theater Company, which focuses on the perspective of Asian-American artists, streams its Obie-winning 2003 production of Lonnie Carter’s The Romance of Magno Rubio, inventively adapted from Carlos Bulosan’s short story about a simple Filipino migrant worker in 1930s California who strikes up an epistolary romance with a white girl in Arkansas. As directed by Loy Arcenas for Ma-Yi Theatre Company and performed by a remarkable cast (led by the excellent Jojo Gonzalez), the show is fleet-footed and exciting; it includes several lively musical numbers and a comic slow-motion fight. Carter’s writing, peppered with Tagalog and mostly written in spry rhyming couplets, draws dramatic energy from specific Filipino history and cultural traditions. This archival performance was filmed before a live audience in the Philippines. 

The Romance of Magno Rubio | Photograph: Matt Zugale

NT Live: Coriolanus
2pm EDT / 7pm EST (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, every Thursday on YouTube. The latest offering stars Tom Hiddleston, best known to American audiences as the tricksy Loki of the Avengers franchise, in director Josie Rourke’s action-packed 2013 production of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, a tragedy in which the hoi polloi of Rome turn against an arrogant war hero when he refuses to show them his scars. “In the midst of all the blood, graffiti and pyro, Hiddleston plays the eponymous Roman general not as a hearty veteran, but a gifted young man whose martial honour and prefect-ish sense of fair play are fatally spiked by a complete incomprehension of the lower orders,” wrote Andrzej Lukowski in his Time Out London review. “When he begrudges the release of grain to hoodie-wearing civilians who haven’t ‘earned’ it, the spectre of our government's anti-welfare rhetoric looms disturbingly large.”

Coriolanus | Photograph: Johan Persson

Stars in the House: Variety Thursday!
2pm EDT / 7pm BST
Showtune savant and SiriusXM host Seth Rudetsky (Disaster!) and his husband, producer James Wesley, are the animating forces behind this ambitious and very entertaining series to raise money for charity; after months of fundraising for the Actors Fund, the series has pivoted to benefit the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Twice a day, at 2pm and 8pm, they play host to different theater stars in a live, chatty interview often 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. Every Thursday is a variety show.

Marie’s Crisis Virtual Piano Bar
4pm–9:30pm EDT / 9pm–2:30am BST
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 Alex Barylski (@Alexander-Barylski) and Adam Michael Tilford (@Adam-Tilford-1).

Justin Vivian Bond
5pm EDT / 10pm BST
Caustic wit, witchy charisma and fearless queer wisdom have made Bond one of New York’s essential performers. In the alter ego of Auntie Glam, the alt-cabaret star and trans icon has been putting the Mx. in mixology with a weekly camp-glam oasis on Facebook and Instagram Live. This episode dispenses with that conceit and raises funds for the anti-prison advocacy group Black and Pink

Justin Vivian Bond | Photograph: Distilled Studio

Scott Siegel's Great American Songbook Concert: Volume 4
7pm EDT / midnight BST 
Cabaret producer Scott Siegel, well known for his multiple concert series at the Town Hall and Feinstein’s/4 Below, has developed a promising model for his new virtual programming: He crowdsources funding in advance so he can actually pay the performers who are singing remotely. In the fourth episode, recorded and edited in advance, Siegel serves as host for a lineup that includes Elizabeth Stanley, Kerry Butler, Lesli Margherita, Tom Wopat, Lisa Brescia, Beth Malone, Jason Graae and Sam Gravitte, Stephanie D'Abruzzo, Jill Paice, Danny Gardner, Ali Ewoldt and Lisa Howard. 

Elizabeth Stanley | Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

Mardie Millit: Live from Lockdown!
7:15pm EDT / 12:15am BST 
The skilled and witty husband-and-wife duo of nightclub chanteuse Mardie Millet and pianist-songwriter Michael Garin invite you into their home and mix a cabaret cocktail of showtunes, standards, pop songs and original comic parodies. 

Michael Garin and Mardie Millit | Photograph: Joe Henson

The Metropolitan Opera: Tosca
7:30pm EDT / 12:30am BST (available for 23 hours)
The Met continues its immensely popular rollout of past performances, recorded (mostly) 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. Tonight’s offering, which predates the HD era, is 1978 TV broadcast of Puccini’s crackling Roman melodrama Tosca, with a cast led by Shirley Verrett, Luciano Pavarotti and Met staple Cornell MacNeil. James Conlon directs a production staged by the Italian baritone Tito Gobbi, who had starred in the opera himself nearly a thousand times. 

Tosca | Photograph: James Heffernan

Let’s Stay (in) Together: A Benefit to Support the Apollo Theater
7:30pm EDT / 12:30am BST
Originally scheduled for Tuesday, June 2, this Black Music Month concert benefit for Harlem’s historic Apollo Theater has moved its showtime to tonight. The event, which centers of performances of songs by such past Apollo stars as Patti Labelle and Steve Wonder, includes appearances by Dionne Warwick, Kool & the Gang, Michael McDonald, Vernon Reid, Gary Clark Jr., Ziggy Marley, Keb’ Mo’, Lil Buck and Jon Boogz, Celisse Henderson, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Doug E. Fresh, Teddy Riley, “Captain” Kirk Douglas (of the Roots), Robert Randolph, Infinity’s Song, Ray Chew, Warren Haynes, Roy Wood Jr. and DJ Reborn.

Dionne Warwick | Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Chroma, Grace, Takademe and Revelations
8pm EDT / 1am BST (through July 18)
Lincoln Center at Home continues its Dance Week, in which the essential NYC cultural institution shares tersichorean highlights from the past four decades. The focus this time is on Alvin Ailey’s revered modern dance troupe, founded in 1958 to expand opportunities for African-American performers and creators. This collection, filmed in 2015 for cinematic releases as part of the series Lincoln Center at the Movies: Great American Dance, comprises four works: Wayne McGregor’s Chroma (2006), set to songs by the White Stripes; Ronald K. Brown’s  Grace  (1999), a blend of modern and West African dance; current artistic director Robert Battle’s brief, funny solo Takademe (1999), which makes us of Indian Kathak rhythms; and the troupe’s signature work, Ailey’s enormously popular 1960 group piece Revelations, which explores the African-American soul in a group dance set to spirituals, gospel songs and holy blues.

Revelations | Photograph: Christopher Duggan

Beyond the Shelter: An Interactive Virtual Pride Kick-Off Party!
8pm EDT / 1am BST
Director-choreographer Matthew Johnson Harris has gathered a diverse cast of entertainers for this live interactive Pride Month concert to benefit New Alternatives, which provides assistance to homeless LGBTQ youth. The virtual event is scheduled to include performances or appearances by performers from Broadway and beyond, including Tituss Burgess, Alex Newell, Elizabeth Stanley, Lauren Patten, Christian Dante White, Morgan Lee, Marty Thomas, Zach Miko, Mykal Kilgore, Jevon McFerrin, Nicholas Rodriguez, Angela Birchett, Candice Marie Woods, Antoine L. Smith,, Aisha Jackson, Alyssa Fox, Steven LaBrie, Arielle Jacobs, JJ Caruncho, Brie Zimmer, Jarvis Manning, Emilie Battle, Madge Dietrich and Marquise Hitchcock. 

Christian Dante White | Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

Joe’s Pub: Isaac Oliver
8pm EDT / 1am BST 
The essential downtown music hub Joe’s Pub continues its rollout of favorites from its archives. Tonight’s selection kicks off Pride Month with a 2018 “sit-down comedy” show by Isaac Oliver. If David Sedaris and Fran Lebowitz had a baby who wrote about subways, theater patrons and blow jobs, he might be a lot like Oliver; the hilarious and poignant comic essayist is also a deft deliverer of his own work. At Joe's he shares new work as well as pieces from his compulsively readable debut collection, Intimacy Idiot.

Isaac Oliver | Photograph: Zack DeZon

Stars in the House: James Monroe Iglehart
8pm EDT / 1am BST
Guests at tonight’s edition of the interview show (see 2pm above) include Broadway's James Monroe Iglehart, who won a Tony in 2014 for his spectacular turn in Aladdin

James Monroe Iglehart | Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

NOTE: If you would like to be considered for this page, please write to Adam Feldman at theaterfromhome@gmail.com. Listings continue below.  

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LIMITED RUNS

Charles Edwards in This House (2012)
Photograph: Johan Persson

This House (National Theatre)

Through June 4 at 2pm EDT / 7pm EST
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, every Thursday on YouTube. The latest offering is This House, a 2012 political drama by James Graham (Ink) that takes place behind the closed doors of the Parliament in the 1970s. Jeremy Herrin (People, Places and Things) is the director. “Largely set in the Tory and Labour rival whips’ offices, This House highlights the passion, commitment and skullduggery of those on both sides as they fight a four-and-a-half year 'war of attrition' from the hung parliament of 1974 to the dawn of Thatcher,” wrote Time Out London in its five-star review of the play’s 2016 West End transfer. “It humanises politics and politicians at a time when it seems fashionable to deride them. And for all the apparent dryness of its subject, the play is rich in humour and sentiment.”

Stephanie Blythe (with guitar) as Orfeo in Gluck's "Orfeo ed Euridice"
Photograph: Ken Howard

Orfeo ed Euridice (Metropolitan Opera)

Through June 4 at 6:30pm EDT / 11:30 BST
The Met's 12th week of free offerings continues with Richard Strauss’s intense 1905 opera Salome, adapted from a 2009 performance of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, which revisits the ancient Greek myth (about a musician who can’t help looking back on his dead lover) but tacks on a happy ending. James Levine conducts the production, which is staged by modern dance master Mark Morris and features costumes by Isaac Mizrahi. Mezzo Stephanie Blythe plays Orfeo, a role that was written for a castrato; Danielle de Niese is Euridice and Heidi Grant Murphy is an atypically forgiving deity of love.

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Cynthia Hopkins: A Living Documentary
Photograph: Ian Douglas

(Re)Live Arts Streaming

Through June 4 at 7:30pm
Bill T. Jones’s dance and performance complex, New York Live Arts, has been releasing three videos from its archives every Thursday. This week’s batch includes: Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company's D-Man in the Waters (1989), which wrestles with the devastations of the AIDS epidemic to the strains of Felix Mendelssohn’s Octet for Strings; Cynthia Hopkins’s semiautobiographical A Living Documentary (2014), which explores the struggles of the 21st-century New York City performance artist; and a 2018 conversation between Jones and conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas.

Sordid Lives
Photograph: Courtesy of the artists

Sordid Lives

Through June 4 at 8pm EDT / 1am BST
Del Shores’s 1996 black comedy Sordid Lives, about a gay actor trying to come out to his wacky Texas relatives at the funeral of the family matriarch, has spawned a cottage industry that has included two films and a series on LOGO. For this benefit reading of the original play, he reunites cast members from several of those projects, including Bonnie Bedelia, Emerson Collins, Beau Bridges, Beth Grant, Caroline Rhea and national quarantine mascot Leslie Jordan. Among those joining the fun remotely are Carson Kressley, Alec Mapa, Tony-winning charmer Levi Kreis (Million Dollar Quartet) and Olivia Newton-John. Donations benefit 23 struggling southern theater companies. 

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Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said
Photograph: Carol Rosegg

Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said (Mabou Mines)

Through June 4
Few experimental companies in NYC have had the impact of Mabou Mines, which was founded by a quartet of major theater artists in 1970 and is still kicking today. During the pandemic crisis, the company has been sharing archival performances every Friday. This week's selection is Linda Hatinian’s 1985 adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s dystopian 1974 sci-fi novel Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, directed by Bill Raymond.

Stephen Petronio Company: Full Half Wrong
Photograph: Sarah Silver

#LoveSpreadsFaster (Stephen Petronio Company)

Through June 5 at 10am
Founded in 1984, Stephen Petronio Company has spent a solid chunk of its past few years on its Bloodlines project, which revisits the work of postmodern dance masters. In this virtual event, he draws on his scrappy early experience to create a new full-company work, #GimmeShelter, created on Zoom with his remote dancers. Also included in this program is a solo excerpt from his 1993 piece Full Half Wrong (performed by Jaqlin Medlock), a response of sorts to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.

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Children with bloody hands in Handel's Messiah at Bristol Old Vic
Photograph: Jon Rowley

Messiah (Bristol Old Vic)

Through June 5 at 2pm EDT / 7pm BST 
The Bristol Old Vic, which is housed in the oldest continuously operating theater in the English-speaking world, gets into the online streaming game this week with a striking dramatized concert of Handel’s oratorio Messiah. At the helm is BOV artistic director Tom Morris, who won a Tony in 2011 for War Horse; the performance, which features the Baroque orchestra the English Concert, was filmed in 2017 for cinematic release.

Paul Spera
Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

Hamlet Live and Uncut (Brave New World Rep)

Through June 5 at 2pm EDT / 7pm BST
Every Monday in June, Brooklyn’s Brave New World Rep showcases a different cast and director in live readings of Shakespeare's wordy tragedy, where a ghost and a prince meet and everyone ends in mincemeat. Today’s inaugural edition is directed by Alessia Siniscalchi and stars Paul Spera as the melancholy Dane; advance reservations are required to watch it live, after which it will remain viewable on the BNW site for four days, starting at 6pm.

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Women covered in sheets in Hussein Chalayan's Gravity Fatigue
Photograph: Hugo Glendinning

Gravity Fatigue (Sadler’s Wells)

Through June 5 at 2:30pm EDT / 7:30pm BST
The London dance powerhouse Sadler's Wells, which has been kicking around in some form or other since the 17th century, leaps firmly into the present with streams from its significant archival collection. In Gravity Fatigue, which premiered in 2015, the British fashion designer Hussein Chalayan ventures into theater with an assist from contemporary dance choreographer Damien Jalet. Expect dramatic use of fabrics and unusual contortions among the 13 dancers.

La Traviata (Metropolitan Opera)
Photograph: Marty Sohl

La Traviata (Metropolitan Opera)

Through June 5 at 5pm EDT / 10pm BST
In addition to its nightly filmed productions, the Met offers an additional free opera from its Live in HD series every Wednesday through its Free Student Streams program. The videos stay live for 48 hours, and supplemental materials help newcomers unpack each offering. This week's study subject is Verdi's La Traviata, a tale of conspicuous consumption starring Diana Damrau as a Parisian courtesan. This 2018 production, directed by Broadway’s Michael Mayet (Spring Awakening) and featuring a set by Christine Jones (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), costars Juan Diego Flórez and Quinn Kelsey; Yannick Nézet-Séguin is the conductor.

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San Francisco Ballet in Marston's Snowblind
Photograph: Erik Tomasson

Snowblind (San Francisco Ballet)

Through June 5 at 6pm EDT / 11pm BST
San Francisco Ballet stays on its toes by streaming a different complete ballet from its archives every week. This one is Snowblind, a 2018 one-act created for the company’s Unbound festival by Cathy Marston, whose The Cellist is also streaming this week (see 2pm above). The piece is adapted from the Edith Wharton novella Ethan Frome, in which romantic feeling between a married man and his sickly wife’s cousin send them on a slippery slope to disaster. The music, arranged by Philip Feeney, draws on work by Wharton’s contemporaries in the early-20th-century American arts.

Lady M
Photograph: Courtesy Heartbeat Opera

Heartbeat Opera: Lady M soirées

Through June 6
The inventive, queer-edged NYC company Heartbeat Opera was scheduled to premiere its latest work, Lady M—director-adapter Ethan Heard’s reconception of Verdi’s Macbeth—this week at Brooklyn’s Irondale Center. Instead, it is offering a series of 45-minute “virtual soirées” that include introductory remarks, a live performance by one of the show’s six cast members, a documentary about Heartbeat’s current activities and a video of Felicia Moore, as Lady Macbeth, performing the pivotal sleepwalking scene. The troupe is holding one or two soirées on most days through June 6; tickets cost $30.

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Ann Harada
Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

Free Speech: Performing Artists and the Power of the Spoken Word

Through June 7 at 2pm EDT / 7pm BST
The invaluable Stars in the House series responds to the national protests with an anthology of monologues, speeches, peotry and songs oerformed by actors including Andréa Burns, Karen Olivo, Ann Harada, Orville Mendoza, Gilbert Bailey, Gabriel Brown, Michelle Liu Coughlin, Darian Dauchan, Samy Figerado, Ines Nassara, Nova Peyton, Christopher Richardson, Awa Sal Secka, Pearl Sun and Jason Veasey. Proceeds benefit the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

To Master the Art
Photograph: Lara Goetsch

To Master the Art (TimeLine Theatre)

Through June 7
Chicago’s TimeLine Theatre Company, which successfully streamed the provocative
Kill Stop Paradise earlier in the quarantine season, shifts gears to offer a gentler past work: William Brown and Doug Frew’s To Master the Art, a 2010 portrait Julia Child and her husband, Paul, in Paris in the 1950s. The show was such a hit that it was remounted in 2013, when this video was filmed with Karen Janes Woditsch and Craig Spidle reprising their leading roles. A limited number of $15–$25 tickets are sold for each streaming; you have a week to watch the video after the virtual performance you book.

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Martha Henry as Prospero in The Tempest
Photograph: David Hou

The Tempest (Stratford Festival)

Through June 11
The 80-year-old Stratford Festival legend Martha Henry, who made her festival debut as Miranda in The Tempest in 1962, plays Prospero in director Antoni Cimolino’s captivating 2018 production, which features Michael Blake as Caliban and André Morin as Ariel. This was the last play that Shakespeare wrote by himself, and he throws everything into the pot: a sorcerer’s revenge, young lovers, a shipwreck, a monster, a fairy slave and two regicide plots.

Marcelino Sambe, Matthew Ball and Lauren Cuthbertson in The Cellist (Royal Ballet)
Photograph: Bill Cooper

The Cellist (Royal Ballet)

Through June 11 
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 Cathy Marston’s The Cellist, a bioballet about the highly dramatic life of Jacqueline du Pré, whose career as a master instrumentalist and classical-music celebrity (alongside her husband, conductor Daniel Barenboim) was cut short by multiple sclerosis. Lauren Cuthbertson, Matthew Ball and Marcelino Sambé—who redefines the term playing the cello— star in this 2020 production. Philip Feeney's score incorporates music by composers including Elgar, Beethoven and Rachmaninoff.

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Michael Sheen
Photograph: Sarah Dunn

Under Milk Wood (92Y)

Through June 12
Dylan Thomas’s first public reading of his play Under Milk Wood—a funny and lyrical wide-angle group portrait of the inhabitants of the fictional Welsh fishing village of Llareggub (whose name you should certainly not read backward)—was on May 14, 1953, at the 92nd Street Y. In 2014, an all-Welsh cast assembled there for a reading led by stage and screen star Michael Sheen (The Queen). 92Y is now making a never-before-seen recording of that evening available for $10 through June 12. The rest of the cast comprises Kate Burton, Karl Johnson, Mark Lewis Jones, Francine Morgan and Matthew Aubrey.

Stephen Petronio Company in Merce Cunningham's Tread
Photograph: Ian Douglas

Stephen Petronio Company: Tread

Through June 14
The Merce Cunningham Trust shares an archival recording of the Stephen Petronio Company performing Cunningham’s uncharacteristically light-hearted Tread (1970) at the Skirball Center in 2019 as part of a multivenue celebration of the modern dance master’s centennial. The music is by Christian Wolff; the set, by conceptual artist Bruce Nauman, prominently features a row of large fans.

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The Merry Wives of Windsor
Photograph: Helen Murray

The Merry Wives of Windsor (Shakespeare’s Globe)

Through June 14
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. The company currently offers a free production from its archives every second Monday. The latest is The Merry Wives of Windsor, a lesser Shakespearean comedy that spins off the Henry IV plays’ breakout character, the knight Sir John Falstaff, into the central figure of a silly sex farce. “The highlight of this production (well, it was never going to be the risible-in-the-wrong-sense plot) is undoubtedly Pearce Quigley’s central performance,” wrote Time Out London of Elle While’s 2019 production. “He’s not the jovial, boozing Falstaff stereotype: instead, he’s hilariously dour and mournful, a sad sack of a man who’s emptied of his last shred of dignity by the title’s conniving merry wives.”

Joseph Ziegler as Timon in Timon of Athens
Photograph: Cylla von Tiedemann

Timon of Athens (Stratford Festival)

Though June 18
Directed by Stephen Ouimette, this 2017 Straford Festival staging of the Bard’s furious, rarely performed Timon of Athens stars Joseph Ziegler in a morality tale about an altruistic ancient Greek gentleman whose view of the world curdles dramatically after his friends prove more selfish than he had believed.

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The Time Machine
Photograph: Richard Budd

The Time Machine (Creation Theatre)

Through June 21
In honor of the 125th anniversary of H.G. Wells’s sci-fi novella The Time Machine, Creation Theatre was performing a site-specific production of Jonathan Holloway’s play at the London Library when the pandemic descended. Now the company has retooled the show as a Zoom experience, directed by Natasha Rickman and featuring sets and costumes by Ryan Dawson Laight. To suggest the concept of parallel universes, multiple scenes play out simultaneously in different digital rooms, each audience member has a different experience. The show is performed live by a cast of seven ten times a week through June 21. Tickets are limited, and cost £20 (about $25) per device; the May dates are already sold out, so book now for June.

Mike Shara in Love's Labour's Lost (Stratford Festival 2015)
Photograph: Don Dixon

Love’s Labour’s Lost (Stratford Festival)

Through June 25
This selection from Canada's world-class Stratford Festival, directed by John Caird (Les Misérables), is a 2015 staging of Shakespeare's comedy about noblemen who forswear love for scholarship—only to be dragged back into the game by visiting French maidens. Mike Shara and Ruby Joy lead the cast.

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Sorry (The Apple Plays)
Photograph: Joan Marcus

What Do We Need to Talk About? (Public Theater)

Through June 28
In this original microdrama, commissioned and written during the current pandemic crisis, writer-director Richard Nelson continues his exhaustive chronicle of middle-class, middle-aged family life in Rhinebeck, New York, as previously explored in four plays about the Apple family, three about the Gabriels and one about the Michaels. Here he returns to the Apples, last seen in 2014, to check in with how they are holding up in quarantine. The wonderful cast from the original tetralogy returns via Zoom: Jay O. Sanders, Maryann Plunkett, Laila Robins, Sally Murphy, Jon DeVries and Stephen Kunken. In the spirit of the Public’s civic mission, it is being offered for free, but donations to the Public are encouraged. 

The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey
Photograph: Matthew Murphy

The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey (92Y)

Through June 30
Writer and actor James Lecesne, who wrote the Oscar-winning gay-kid short Trevor, plays multiple characters in The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey, a solo show based on his young-adult novel about the disappearance of a teenage boy in a small town. Tony Speciale directs; the incidental music is by Duncan Sheik. The play ran Off Broadway in 2015, and 92Y hosted a one-night encore performance in 2016. It is now sharing a recording of that performance for free.

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Black-Eyed Susan in Red Fly/Blue Bottle
Photograph: Julien Jourdes

Red Fly/Blue Bottle (HERE)

Through June 30
This HERE selection is a 2009 experimental multimedia piece by Stephanie Fleischmann that  features music by Christina Campanella, a gorgeous set by Jim Findlay and films by Peter Norrman. Mallory Catlett directs a cast that includes Jesse Hawley, Chris Lee and longtime Ridiculous Theatrical Company regular Black-Eyed Susan as an elderly entomologist.

Love, Loss, and What I Wore (92Y)
Photograph: Vladimir Weinstein/ Michael Priest Photography

Love, Loss, and What I Wore (92Y)

Through July 5
Nora and Delia Ehpron’s sweet and insightful 2008 collection of monologues about women and clothing, adapted from Ilene Beckerman’s 1995 book, ran for more than 1,000 performances at the Westside Theatre with a rotating cast of famous actors. The 92nd Street Y, the cultural epicenter of the Upper East Side, held a reunion reading of the show in 2017 with former cast members Rosie O’Donnell, Natasha Lyonne, Carol Kane, Lucy DeVito and Tracee Ellis Ross, directed by Karen Carpenter. As a fund-raiser, 92Y has released a recording; tickets cost $10.

THEATER MULTIPLEXES

Clare Halse in 42nd Street
Photograph: Courtesy Brinkhoff/Moegenburg

The best musicals now on BroadwayHD

A streaming service specifically aimed at theater lovers, BroadwayHD offers a slate of almost 300 whole, high-quality, professionally filmed live theater performances from Broadway, London's West End and beyond, including The Phantom of the Opera, Bob Fosse's Pippin and Hugh Jackman in Oklahoma! For new subscribers, the first week is free. Here are the musicals currently featured there that you won't want to miss.

BONUS CONTENT

Fleabag
Photograph: Joan Marcus

Fleabag Live

If you can’t get enough of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s superb TV series Fleabag—and since she’s said the second season was its last, you probably won’t get any more of it—here is some very good news: The solo stage show from which the first season was adapted can now be viewed on Amazon Prime. It costs just $5, and all of the money it raises will go to charity. Also, it’s bloody great. As Helen Shaw wrote in her Time Out review of it last year: “Waller-Bridge is a brilliant comic in total technical control, and she shapes her monologue perfectly around her own skills. She subverts and then re-subverts expectations at whiplash speed, detonating small bombs of emotion just when we expect a joke. As an expression of craft, it’s dazzling.” Don’t miss this one.

Chita Rivera
Photograph: Laura Marie Duncan

Chita: A Legendary Celebration

One of the great Broadway leading ladies of all time, Chita Rivera came to New York in the early 1950s, and the rest is razzle-dazzle history: starring roles in the original casts of West Side Story, Bye Bye Birdie and Chicago; 10 Tony nominations (and two wins); the 2002 Kennedy Center Honors. She’s often called a legend, but she’s determinedly real. In tonight’s live-only fundraiser, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is streaming a recording of the 2013 concert evening Chita: A Legendary Celebration, recorded at the August Wilson Theatre when Rivera was a mere 80 years old. Written by the late Terrence McNally and directed by Graciele Daniele, the event features performances by Rivera, Tommy Tune and Ben Vereen, as well as a video appearance by the great Broadway tunesmith John Kander. The BC/EFA broadcast also includes new interviews with Rivera, conducted remotely by Richard Ridge. 

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Tribute to Balanchine (Live from Lincoln Center 1983)
Photograph: Courtesy Lincoln Center

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (New York City Ballet)

Lincoln Center shares one of the most beloved works in New York City Ballet’s repertoire: George Balanchine’s bewitching full-length 1962 version of Shakespeare’s magic-forest romp, set to music by Felix Mendelssohn (including the now-ubiquitous “Wedding March”). NYCB opened its first season at Lincoln Center with Balanchine’s ballet back in 1964; this performance, recorded for the PBS series Live from Lincoln Center in 1986, includes Maria Calegari as Titania, Ib Anderson as Oberon and Jean-Pierre Frohlich as Puck.

Alexandra Silber
Photograph: Rebecca Michaelson

I Wish: The Roles That Could Have Been (54 Below At Home)

Feinstein’s/54 Below has been streaming shows from its archives, but this one is different: a live-from-home edition of a series conceived and hosted by Alexandra Silber (Fiddler on the Roof), in which Broadway performers get a chance to dreamcast themselves in parts they will probably never get to play. Performers include Elizabeth Stanley, Julia Murney, Drew Gehling, Nicholas Barasch, Robyn Hurder, Samantha Massell, Isabelle McCalla, Jelani Remy,  Kirsten Scott, Matthew Scott and Nik Walker. Ben Caplan serves as musical director. 

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Breaking the Waves (Opera Philadelphia)
Photograph: Nicholas Korkos

Breaking the Waves (Opera Philadelphia)

Opera Philadelphia presents the broadcast premiere, in full, of its acclaimed 2016 adaptation of Lars von Trier’s brutally bleak 1996 film about a pious woman who degrades herself sexually at the request of her paralyzed husband. The composer is Brooklyn’s Missy Mazzoli—a rare woman composer in the world of opera—and the librettist Royce Vavrek. Soprano Kiera Duffy and baritone John Moore play the lead roles in a performance conducted by Steven Osgood.

Paramodernities, Marc Crousillat
Photograph: Hayim Heron

Netta Yerushalmy: Paramodernities

Netta Yerushalmy aims her analytical cannons at the canon of 20th-century dance in Paramodernities, an insightful and deservedly acclaimed deconstruction of terpsichorean landmarks. Performed by a cast of 20 dancers and scholars, the show casts a critical eye on works by Vaslav Nijinski, Martha Graham, Alvin Ailey, Merce Cunningham, Bob Fosse and George Balanchine. The show’s 2019 run at New York Live Arts was recorded, and Yerushalmy has rollied it out in six fascinating installments—each a kind of beautifully illustrated seminar. (Episodes 1 and 4, about Nijinsky and Cunningham, feature standout West Side Story dancer Marc Crousillat.) Interesting discussions follow each section.

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ZviDance: On The Road
Photograph: Yi-Chun Wu

ZviDance: On the Road

In this show, presented at Joe's Pub by Dance Now in 2019, Israeli-American contemporary choreographer Zvi Gotheiner reprises a work inspired by Jack Kerouac's novel and his company's retracing of its narrator's cross-country journey. His multimedia piece, performed by four dancers, is set to music by Jukka Rintamki and features Americana-themed video by Joshua Higgason.

Ballet Hispánico: Carmen.maquia
Photograph: Courtesy Paula Lobo

Ballet Hispánico: CARMEN.maquia and Club Havana

Lincoln Center shares two works by the venerable Ballet Hispánico, which turns 50 this year. Pedro Ruiz’s Club Havana, is a celebration of Cuban dance including the conga, rumba, mambo and cha cha; Gustavo Ramírez Sansano's Carmen.maquia, which was the company’s first evening-length narrative ballet, is based on the classic Bizet opera and incorporates Spanish paso doble and flamenco.

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Marie Mullen
Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

The Gifts You Gave to the Dark (Irish Repertory Theatre)

After its success earlier this month with a virtual revival of Brian Friel’s Molly Sweeney, the Irish Rep now launches an entire summer season of online offerings. Starting things off is the world premiere of The Gifts You Gave to the Dark, a short play written by Darren Murphy in response to the current crisis and directed by the Abbey Theatre’s Caitríona McLaughlin. Marty Rea plays a man who, while confined to his sickbed in Belfast by COVID-19, telephones his dying mother in Dublin to share a memory of a day they once spent together. Marie Mullen, who won a 1998 Tony for The Beauty Queen of Leenane, plays the older woman; Seán McGinley completes the cast. The play will remain viewable for free on YouTube through October.

PLAYBILL BUNNY Jenn Harris takes audiences down comedic rabbit holes.
Photograph: Allison Michael Orenstein

Pussy Fright!

With his wicked witticisms, ardent social activism and cultivated mid-Atlantic accent—he sounds like Lauren Bacall in a saucy mood—Justin Sayre is an avatar of retroqueer cultivation. The Zoom reading of his zany Hitchcock spoof The Ducks last month was an absolute hoot, Now he is keeping the camp fires burning with another black comedy: Pussy Fright!, in which Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Tom Lenk plays a sad heiress whose plan to leave her fortune to her cat gets her entangled in multiple webs of nefarious intrigue. The cast, directed by Tom DeTrinis, includes some of America’s funniest actors: Larry Owens (A Strange Loop), Drew Droege, Jeff Hiller, Rob Maitner, Sam Pancake, Ryan Garcia, Leslie-Ann Huff and Jenn Harris as the cat. Viewers can donate via Venmo (@PussyFright) to benefit the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center and New York’s Ali Forney Center.

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Wallies
Photograph: Walter Wlodarczyk

Wallies (The Brick)

The Brick Theater continues its Archival Streaming Series with Simple Town’s collectively written and performed comedy about life in a police state, which played at the venue in March 2020 (just before the curtains came down). The stream is free, but donations are welcome.

Mark Morris
Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

Mark Morris Dance Group: Dance On!

Mark Morris and his joyous ensemble spread a little light in the darkness of isolation with a special Zoom program that includes the premieres of four short works choreographed by the inventive modern dance master. Rehearsed and filmed remotely, the pieces are Lonely Waltz (set to Maurice Ravel’s La Valse), Lonely Tango (set to piano music by Erik Satie), Anger Dance (set to music by Henry Cowell) and Sunshine (set to Gene Autrey’s recording of “You Are My Sunshine”).

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Ivan Nagy, Eleanor D'Antuono, Ellen Everett and Karena Brock in Les Sylphides
Photograph: Louis Peres

American Ballet Theatre at the Metropolitan Opera House

Lincoln Center streams a classic from more than 40 years ago: an evening of American Ballet Theatre repertory works, as captured in a 1978 broadcast of Live from Lincoln Center. Natalia Makarova and Fernando Bujones dance the Act III Grand Pas de Deux of Don Quixote, and Gelsey Kirkland and Mikhail Baryshnikov perform George Balanchine’s plotless Theme and Variations, set to music by Tchaikovsky. Also included are two works by the seminal Ballet Russes choreographer Michel Fokine: Les Sylphides, set to music by Chopin and featuring a cast led by Rebecca Wright, Marianna Tcherkassky and Ivan Nagy; and Firebird, a magical story set to a score by Stravinsky.

Ralph Fiennes as Prospero in The Tempest at Theatre Royal Haymarket
Photograph: Catherine Ashmore

Shakespeare Sonnet Marathon (Irondale Ensemble)

Brooklyn’s Irondale Ensemble assembled more than 100 participants on April 23 for an eight-hour Zoom session in honor of Shakespeare’s 456th birthday. Performers range from famous actors and Irondale performers to amateur volunteers, each of whoms deliver their choice of 14-liners from among the Bard’s 154 sonnets. Well-known participants include Ralph Fiennes (Sonnet 129 at 2:09), Lea DeLaria (Sonnet 8 at 7:07), Daphne Rubin-Vega (Sonner 23 at 1:34), Cady Huffman (Sonnet 60 at 2:40), Michael Musto (Sonnet 30 at 0:50), American Ballet Theatre's James Whiteside (Sonnet 20 at 1:05) and Sopranos actor John Ventimiglia (Sonnet 116 at 6:05–6:09), who amusingly doesn't realize that he's live for the first few minutes he's on. Musical settings are provided by Rufus Wainwright (Sonnet 20 at 4:12) and Kenyon Phillips (sonnet 66 at 0:47). Irondale cofounder Jim Niesen presides, with supassing gentleness, over most of the event.

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Elizabeth Marvel in "Elizabeth in the Barn"
Photograph: Courtesy of the artists

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 weekly variation on that theme, writers create 24 monologues or two-handers for 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. Among the 28 actors participating in this round are Jason Biggs, Alex Brightman, Sophia Anne Caruso, Aya Cash, Michael Cerveris, Michael Chernus, Merle Dandridge, Johanna Day, Maria Dizzia, Evan Handler, Jessica Hecht, Elizabeth Marvel, Ben Shenkman and Mirirai Sithole; among the writers are Chad Beckim, Joshua Conkel, Laura Eason, Rebecca Gilman, Daniel Goldfarb, Dylan Guerra, J. Holtham, David Lindsay-Abaire, Wendy MacLeod, Donald Margulies, Itamar Moses, Dan O’Brien and Jonathan Marc Sherman.

The Season 1 cast of NBC's Smash (2012)
Photograph: Mark Seliger/NBC

Bombshell in Concert

Whether you loved it, hated it, loved to hate it, hated to love it or maintained a studious feigned indifference to it, the behind-the-Broadway-scenes NBC series Smash was the talk of the theater world for its two stormy seasons in 2012 and 2013. What everyone agrees about is that the musical numbers that Hairspray’s Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman wrote for its show-within-a-show, the Marilyn Monroe biomusical-in-progress Bombshell, were consistently pretty great. In 2015, Smash’s cast gathered at the Minskoff Theatre to perform those songs in a sold-out concert co-directed by Wittman and choreographer Joshua Bergasse; everything clicked, the audience went wild and the Actors Fund raised $800,000. Now People adds to the tally by streaming a recording of that electric night as an Actors Fund benefit. Renée Zellweger introduces the program, and at intermission the acerbic Julie Klausner hosts a live virtual reunion with cast members Megan Hilty, Katharine McPhee, Debra Messing, Christian Borle, Leslie Odom Jr., Jeremy Jordan, Andy Mientus, Jack Davenport, Jaime Cepero, Will Chase, Brian d’Arcy James, Ann Harada, Krysta Rodriguez and Wesley Taylor. Tune in and get Smashed. 

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Natalie Joy Johnson
Photograph: Kevin Thomas Garcia

Natalie Joy Johnson: The Annual NJJ Birthday Show

Gutsy musical-theater neodiva Johnson (Kinky Boots) had a cabaret breakthrough with 2011's Relentless at Joe's Pub, and has been rocking New York City nightlife ever since. Even inquartantine, her birthday extravaganza promises to be a rollicking night of song, sex and showbiz excess.

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Brandon Victor Dixon
Photograph: Dario Calmese

Brandon Victor Dixon (The VT Show)

In this episode of the Vineyard Theatre's weekly series, the superb singer-actor Brandon Victor Dixon—who has memorably appeared in The Color Purple, Shuffle Along, Hamilton and the TV broadcast of Jesus Christ Superstar—shares stories and songs from his career, including the Vineyard’s premiere production of The Scottsboro Boys

Ruby Rose
Photograph: Greg Gayne/The CW

Twelfth Night (Acting for a Cause)

A Chicago producer-director named Brando Crawford has set up his own charity called Acting for a Cause, and has been gathering very impressive casts of young Hollywood stars for super-casual live Zoom readings of classic plays. This installment stars Ruby Rose—who just made international headlines for her dramatic departure from the CW’s Batwoman—as Viola in Twelfth Night, Shakespeare's ever-popular comedy of cross-purposes, cross-dressing and cross-gartered stockings. Joining her in the cast are Brandon Thomas Lee, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Froy Gutierrez, Nicole Kang and Dear Evan Hansen graduates Will Roland, Taylor Trensch and Ben Levi Ross. Donations are welcome, and proceeds benefit Chicago’s Mount Sinai Hospital and the Entertainment Industry Foundation. 

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Biter
Photograph: Walter Wlodarczyk

The Brick: Biter (Every Time I Turn Around)

The Brick Theater continues its Archival Streaming Series with title:point’s wild 2015 comedy, Biter (Every Time I Turn Around), which the venue hosted as part of the first Exponential Festival in 2016. “Ryan William Downey and Spencer Thomas Campbell's lunatic farce feels cold and fresh, a bracing change from an experimental scene that can seem to have lost its teeth,” wrote Time Out’s Helen Shaw in her rave 2015 review. “But Biter's got bits that go back generations—its hilarious central act is basically a tarted-up Abbott & Costello routine, if those two had stumbled onto a Richard Foreman set and been horribly murdered there.”

The Pigeoning
Photograph: Richard Termine

The Pigeoning (HERE)

HERE streams Robin Frohardt’s puppet-theater portrait of an uptight 1980s office drone who suspects that park birds are conspiring to disrupt his orderly existence. “The titular pigeons in Robin Frohardt’s eerie, hilarious, apocalyptic puppet fable have a weird preknowledge of the end-time to come,” wrote Helen Shaw in her 2013 Time Out review. “But the most chilling element of this beautifully realized, not-for-kids (but adorable) nightmare is its evocation of nine-to-five office mindlessness."

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Harvey Fierstein in Hairspray
Photograph: Paul Kolnik

Past casts of Hairspray sing “You Can’t Stop The Beat”

If you’ve been feeling less than your best, watch this four-minute video of one of the great Broadway feel-good songs of all time: “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” the triumphantly peppy and defiant finale of Hairspray. The video is a massive undertaking, with more than 150 actors, dancers and musicians contributing from home—starting with Tracy originators Ricki Lake and Marissa Jaret Winokur and eventually including (among many others) Harvey Fierstein, Michael Ball, Matthew Morrison, Darlene Love, Martin Short, Andrea Martin, Jackie Hoffman, Billy Eichner, Randy Rainbow, Andrew Rannells, Kerry Butler, Laura Bell Bundy, Sean Hayes, Kristin Chenoweth, Teri Hatcher, Bruce Vilanch, Garrett Clayton, Ephraim Sykes, Keala Settle, Alex Newell, Maddie Baillio, Nikki Blonsky, choreographer Jerry Mitchell and songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. It pulls out all the stops, and it's unbeatable.

Audra McDonald
Photograph: Autumn de Wilde

A Night of Covenant House Stars

Tony Award hoarder Audra McDonald and 60 Minutes correspondent John Dickerson host this star-studded benefit for the worthy Covenant House, a charity that serves homeless and trafficked young people. Produced by Broadway director Jeff Calhoun (Newsies), the event aired live on multiple sites and platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, Amazon Prime and the newly launched theater streaming service Broadway on Demand. The list of performers and participants is a doozy: Dolly Parton, Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton, Jon Bon Jovi, Stephen Colbert, Dionne Warwick, Morgan Freeman, Martin Short, Randy Jackson, Dawn O’Porter, Jodi Picoult, Rachel Brosnahan, Tony Shalhoub, Charlie Day, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Chris O’Dowd, Zachary Quinto, Robin Thicke, Deborah Cox, Zachary Levi, songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and Frank Wildhorn, and Broadway’s Karen Olivo, Andrew Rannells, Jeremy Jordan, Will Swenson, Stephanie J. Block, Alex Newell, Laura Osnes, Quentin Earl Darrington, Ariana DeBose, Darius de Haas, Eden Espinosa, Jordan Fisher, Stephanie Hsu, Ramona Keller, Capathia Jenkins, Shereen Pimentel, Keala Settle, Jake David Smith, Bobby Conte Thornton and Ana Villafane—plus the choir Broadway Inspirational Voices.

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Alanis Morissette 2
Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

You Live, You Learn: A Night with Alanis Morissette and Jagged Little Pill

The Broadway cast of the suspended Alanis Morissette jukebox musical Jagged Little Pill,  which traces the fault lines in a seemingly happy suburban family, reunites remotely in a one-hour concert benefit for the Actors Fund, hosted by Morissette herself. Along with musical numbers by the ensemble cast—led by Elizabeth Stanley, Sean Allan Krill, Celia Rose Gooding, Derek Klena, Lauren Patten, Kathryn Gallagher and Antonio Cipriano—the event features appearances by book writer Diablo Cody (Juno), director Diane Paulus, choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and musical arranger Tom Kitt.

Paulo Szot in Leonard Bernstein's Mass (Ravinia Festival)
Photograph: Patrick Gipson/Ravinia Festival

Leonard Bernstein’s Mass (Great Performances)

Leonard Bernstein's unconventional Mass, written for the 1971 christening of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, includes traditional elements of Catholic liturgy in Latin but also elements of jazz, rock and musical theater. (It is subtitled A Theater Piece for Singers, Players, and Dancers, and Bernstein co-wrote the libretto with Godspell-era Stephen Schwartz.) Now the PBS series Great Performances shares its recording of a lavish 2019 production of the piece at Illinois’s Ravinia Festival, directed by Kevin Newbury and conducted by Marin Alsop. The formidable classical baritone Paulo Szot, who won a 2008 Tony for Broadway’s South Pacific, plays the central role of the Celebrant.

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A Night in November
Photograph: Christopher Barr

A Night in November (Irish Arts Center)

The Irish Arts Center has hosted two previous productions of Marie Jones’s 1994 solo drama, a muticharacter looks at the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and was scheduled to bring in Soda Bread Theatre Company’s 25th-anniversary version this spring. Instead, in three Sunday matinees, the company is offering a free serialized adaptation of the show, adjusted to fit the tech exigencies of the troublesome present. Matthew Forsythe performs the piece from home, directed by Matthew McElhinney; each of the three episodes is bookended by conversations between Jones and  McElhinney, who is also her son. (If you miss an installment, don't fret: They'll remain viewable on the Irish Arts website.)

Beth Malone
Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

Scott Siegel's Great American Songbook Concert: Volume 3

Cabaret producer Scott Siegel, well known for his multiple concert series at the Town Hall and Feinstein’s/4 Below, has developed a promising model for his new virtual programming: He crowdsources funding in advance so he can actually pay the performers who are singing remotely. In the third episode, recorded and edited in advance, Siegel serves as host for a lineup that includes, among others, Beth Malone, Quentin Earl Darrington, Karen Mason, Jenny Lee Stern, Stephen DeRosa, Jeremy Benton and Sal Viviano.

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Jake Gyllenhaal in A Life
Photograph: Richard Hubert Smith

Jake Gyllenhaal sings "Across the Way"

It's no secret anymore that Jake Gyllenhaal has serious musical-theater chops, as he demonstrated in the 2015 City Center concert of Little Shop of Horrors and the 2017 Broadway revival of Sunday in the Park with George. In this one-off offering from the ongoing 24 Hour Plays series on Instagram, he sings a touching original song about quarantine romance, written by Jeanine Tesori (Caroline, or Change) and David Lindsay-Abaire (Good People). If you have four minutes to spare gazing dreamily into Jake Gyllenhaal's eyes as he sings to you, it's as tender a four-minute ballad about cruising a stranger across the street as one could wish.

Cole Escola
Photograph: Allison Michael Orenstein

Cole Escola: Help, I'm Stuck!

The saucer-eyed costar of Difficult People and At Home with Amy Sedaris, the brilliantly funny Cole Escola, has dropped an hour-long online version his perpetually sold-out solo sketch comedy act, which continues to reveal new facets of a talent that gleams with scrappy razzle-dazzle. Blending boyish mischief with dark neurosis and the ruthless coyness of a starlet bent on fame, Escola’s comic persona suggests a street urchin raised by The Match Game. It's an hour of silly wigs, genre parodies, absurdist humor and refreshing pseudo-honesty that you won't soon forget.

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Ken Davenport
Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

The Producer’s Perspective

 

Producer Ken Davenport has been hosting a weekly podcast for years in which he interviews actors, writers, producers and other theater makers about their experiences in the business of show. Since late March, in response to the coronavirus crisis, he has taken the series to Facebook—where it is streamed live every single night. Visit the Producer’s Perspective website for a list of future guests and an archive of past episodes, which are generally 35–40 minutes long. 

Pam Tanowitz: Double Andante
Photograph: Rachel Neville

NYTB/Chamberworks: The Living Room Series

 

The company formerly known as New York Theatre Ballet, which turns 40 this year, offers favorites from its archives every Friday. This batch includes two works from 2015, Pam Tanowitz’s Double Andante and Nicolo Fonte’s There, And Back Again, as well as Merce Cunningham’s 1967 Scramble, which the company performed last year as part of the Cunningham centennial celebration. The first two stay viewable indefinitely on the NYTB website; the last disappears on June 13. 

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Ekow Quartey in Macbeth
Photograph: Courtesy Shakespeare's Globe

Macbeth (Shakespeare's Globe)

To its ongoing biweekly rollout of productions from its archives, London’s Shakespeare’s Globe now adds its 2020 production of Macbeth, a 90-minute condensation of the Scottish play that was created for its student-oriented Playing Shakespeare series. Ekow Quartey plays the regicidal thane and Elly Condron is his red-handed wife. Unlike other Globe offerings, this one stays viewable until the end of quarantine.

The Scarlet Ibis
Photograph: Cory Weaver

The Scarlet Ibis (HERE)

Seen at the 2015 Prototype Festival, The Scarlet Ibis is a beautiful chamber opera by composer Stefan Weisman and librettist (and longtime Time Out theater critic) David Cote. Adapted from a James Hurst short story, the show uses delicate puppetry alongside flesh-and-blood singers to convey the tale of a disabled boy in rural North Carolina in the early 20th century. Mallory Catlett directs, and Steven Osgood conducts the American Modern Ensemble.

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Neon sign saying "I AM A BOT" in the Blurring Test—Songs from MrMind
Photograph: Peggy Weil

The Blurring Test—Songs from MrMind (The Brick)

The Brick Theater continues its Archival Streaming Series with a performance piece that it presented as part of the Exponential Festival in January 2020: Peggy Weil and Varispeed’s musically variegated work-in-progress song cycle, based on conversations between the online chatbot MrMind and various web users attempting to prove that they are indeed human beings. Members of the Brick team join in to chat during the premiere; the stream is free, but donations are encouraged to help keep the Brick from sinking.

Mandy Gonzalez
Photograph: Jacob Blickenstaff

The VT Show: Eli's Comin'

In its distinguished history, the East Village’s Vineyard Theatre has given us such shows as How I Learned to Drive, Three Tall Women, Avenue Q and the recent Dana H. In this brand-new weekly series, past and future Vineyard artists offer insights into their creative process. In this edition, three mighty talented cast members of the 2001 Laura Nyro musical Eli’s Comin’—Judy Kuhn, Mandy Gonzalez and Anika Noni Rose—reunite to discuss the show and sing a few numbers.

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Holoscenes
Photograph: Waleed Shah

Lars Jan: Holoscenes

The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi streams a video of a beautiful durational performance-installation event it hosted in 2016: Lars Jan’s trippy Holoscenes, in which a series of costumed performers inhabit a 13-foot aquarium whose water levels rise and fall around them, often submerging them completely. Intended to evoke humankind’s struggle to adapt to climate change, Jan’s visually arresting work is almost five hours long, but you can watch as much or as little of it as you like; the director-conceiver and members of the company hold a live Q&A session halfway through it. To get a sense of the piece, check out this trippy one-minute time-lapse video. Tip: It's best viewed on a very big screen.

Alan Cumming
Photo: Kevin Garcia

Alan Cumming: Legal Immigrant (Joe's Pub)

The bright-eyed, bouncy-kneed Scottish stage-and-screen actor Alan Cumming plays fast and louche with the cabaret format, sprinkling naughty words into long comic stories and putting a completely fresh interpretive spin on familiar songs. He became an American citizen in 2008, a decade after taking New York by storm in Cabaret, and this 2018 Joe's Pub set explores his immigrant experience. Venmo tips to Cumming’s band are welcome.

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Emily McNamara
Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

Return to Mostly Sondheim 

For 12 years, the Duplex's second-floor showroom played home on Friday nights to Mostly Sondheim, a late-night open-mic showtune fest that served as a zany, joyful, frequently overseved second home to many hardcore musical-theater enthusiasts. The show had multiple hosts over the years, including Brandon Cutrell, Kate Pazakis, Marty Thomas, Emily McNamara, Ben Cameron, Todd Buonopane, Molly Pope, Colleen Harris and Eric Michael Krop—with piano wizard Brian Nash at the keys for most of the run. Here they all reunite for a live virtual concert, joined by a bunch of longtime regulars. Expect nostalgic mayhem. (You can tip the artists via Venmo at @MostlySondheim.)

Yvonne Roen in Performance for One
Photograph: Courtesy Arthur Cornelius

Performance for One

Writer-director Edward Einhorn’s suggestive microplay about memory and connection was originally performed as a brief encounter between one actor and one audience member at a time. Now Einhorn has adapted it so that homebound viewers can connect with performers via Skype, with the 1:1 ratio intact. The piece unfurls in two parts; the first last about six minutes, and the more emotional second is slightly longer. It’s an unusually intimate experience, and a lovely way to feel a personal connection through theater. Email Einhorn directly to book a slot; it is currently being performed by Yvonne Roen, for whom it was written, on Tuesdays from 11am through 1pm, and by Elizabeth Chappel on Thursdays and Sundays from 2pm to 4pm. (You can pay what you wish for it through Venmo at @Edward-Einhorn.)

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Amanda Szeglowski: Stairway To Stardom
Photograph: Benjamin Heller

Stairway to Stardom (HERE)

Szeglowski and her company, cakeface, pay oblique homage to the 1980s cable-access talent show Stairway to Stardom, whose hapless performers made up in ardency what they may have lacked in talent. Absorbing and suggestive, this 2017 dance-theater piece is less campy and more disciplined than one might expect; performed by an impressive cast of five women in disco-ball-silver outfits, it weds sharp synchronized choreography (partly inspired by moves from the series) to equally tight deadpan delivery of interview-based textual fragments about aspiration and mundanity. Jagged video and sound design add to the sense of determined disconnect.

Cirque du Soleil: One Night for One Drop
Photograph: Erik Kabik

Cirque du Soleil: One Night for One Drop 

The Québécois neocircus behemoth Cirque du Soleil offers an hour of highlights from two previous benefit nights it has held for One Drop, an international foundation founded by Cirque daddy Guy Laliberté that is devoted to improving living conditions in the developing world through sustainable improvements to water and sanitation. Expect some amazing feats of acrobatic beauty, daring and wonder.

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We Shall Not Be Moved
Photograph: Courtesy Philadelphia Opera

We Shall Not Be Moved (Opera Philadelphia)

Created by two Haitian-American writers, composer Daniel Bernard Roumain and librettist Marc Bamuthi Joseph, and staged by leading director-choreographer Bill T. Jones, this opera looks at five teenage runaways who take refuge on the onetime site of Philadelphia’s MOVE compound, which was bombed by the police in 1985. The piece premiered three years ago at O17, the first edition of Opera Philadelphia’s now-annual festival; now the company is making it available for streaming on demand. This 2017 performance is conducted by Viswa Subbaraman and stars spoken-word artist Lauren Whitehead along with Kirstin Chávez, Daniel Shirley, Adam Richardson, Aubrey Allicock and countertenor John Holiday.

Ariana Grande
Photograph: Shutterstock

Jason Robert Brown with Ariana Grande and Shoshana Bean

Before she ascended to mass-culture superstardom, Ariana Grande was a theater geek who made her Broadway in 2008’s 13, a musical by one of musical theater's leading composers: Jason Robert Brown (The Bridges of Madison County), who combines insinuating heightened-pop melodies with intelligent lyrics. The show didn’t run, but a Grande always pays her debts. Here she sings Brown's "I'm Still Hurting," from The Last Five Years, to help raise money for the East Village arts venue SubCulture, where he has held court in a monthly musical residency for, well, the last five years. Also along for the ride is the big-voiced Shoshana Bean (Wicked), an accomplished Brown interpreter and frequent guest.

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Stephen Sondheim
Photograph: Emilio Madrid-Kuser

Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration

No living musical-theater artist is more revered than Stephen Sondheim, and for good reason: from his lyrics for West Side Story and Gypsy to his full scores of shows including Sweeney Todd, Follies, A Little Night Music, Into the Woods and Sunday in the Park with George, Sondheim has sculpted a peerless body of work. So it makes sense that this concert tribute features a truly astonishing galaxy of stars. Produced and hosted by the intense, cavern-voiced leading man Raúl Esparza, the show is a fund-raiser for ASTEP (Artists Striving to End Poverty). Technical difficulties delayed the premiere for more than an hour, but now you can watch or rewatch t without the tension and just enjoy the wonderful songs by an astonishing group of performers: Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone, Mandy Patinkin, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Josh Groban, Ben Platt, Jake Gyllenhaal, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Kelli O’Hara, Donna Murphy, Lea Salonga, Sutton Foster, Neil Patrick Harris, Katrina Lenk, Annaleigh Ashford, Laura Benanti, Michael Cerveris, Randy Rainbow, Aaron Tveit, Judy Kuhn, Linda Lavin, Melissa Errico, Beanie Feldstein, Maria Friedman, Iain Armitage, Brandon Uranowitz, Stephen Schwartz, Elizabeth Stanley, Chip Zien, Alexander Gemignani and recent Pacific Overtures revival cast members Ann Harada, Austin Ku, Kelvin Moon Loh and Thom Sesma. Did we mention the a memorable rendition of "The Ladies Who Lunch" by Meryl Streep, Audra McDonald and Christine Baranski? No? Now we have. Enjoy.

Chimpanzee, Nick Lehane, Barbican, London International Mime Festival 2020
Photograph: Richard Termine

Chimpanzee (HERE)

Nick Lehane's puppet play Chimpanzee is inspired by the true story of chimpanzees who were raised as human children but then abandoned to crueler environs as they grew up. People went ape for the original 2019 production, which HERE brought back for an encore, so we’re excited to check this one out. 

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Mario Cantone
Photograph: Jill Rapapport

The Lucille Lortel Awards

Mario Cantone hosts the 35th annual edition of this awards ceremony on May 3 to celebrate great work in Off Broadway productions. This year’s virtual version doubles as a benefit for the Actors Fund. Presenters include Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Nathan Lane, Marisa Tomei, Debra Messing, Kelli O’Hara, Phillipa Soo, Tatiana Maslany, Michael Urie, Rachel Dratch, Jackie Hoffman and Brian Stokes Mitchell. Playwright-performer Anna Deavere Smith and departing Playwrights Horizons leader Tim Sanford receive special awards for career achievement.

American Utopia
Photograph: Matthew Murphy

The New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards

The New York Drama Critics' Circle usually gives out its annual awards at a private ceremony, but this year the group is pulling back the curtain as a benefit for the Actors Fund in a special episode of the web series Stars in the House. Time Out’s own Adam Feldman, who is the president of the Circle, plays host to presenters including John Mulaney, Michael Shannon, Heidi Schreck, Jeremy O. Harris and Brian Stokes Mitchell. This year’s honorees are Will Arbery for Heroes of the Fourth Turning (Best Play), Michael R. Jackson for A Strange Loop (Best Musical), David Byrne and the Broadway production of American Utopia, Deirdre O’Connell for career excellence including her performance in Dana H., and the New York theater community for perseverance in the face of loss during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Madeleine Bundy as Kapow-i GoGo in Kapow-i GoGo Gooo!
Photograph: Crystal Arnette

Kapow-i GoGo Gooo!

From the wacky brains of playwright Matt Cox and “geek friendly” producers the Ultra Corporation—who previously collaborated on the long-running Off Broadway not-officially-a-Harry-Potter-comedy Harry Potter comedy Puffs, or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic—comes an original series about a 14-year-old girl on a quest to save to universe. Adapted from the upcoming two-part stage show The Kapow-i GoGo Saga, the series is inspired by anime and video games. Each episode lasts 30-40 minutes, and will remain up indefinitely on Ultra’s YouTube page.

Shaina Taub
Photograph: Sasha Arutyunova

Shaina Taub (Joe's Pub)

The essential downtown arts destination Joe’s Pub has been opening its archives on Thursday through Saturday nights to stream some of its most memorable past shows. This one is a 2018 set by the accomplished singer-songwriter and theater composer Shaina Taub, a Joe’s Pub resident performer who wrote the score for the Public Works productions of Twelfth Night and As You Like It.

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Michael Feinstein
Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

Michael Feinstein (Live with Carnegie Hall)

Carnegie Hall continues its online series with a live set that in which venue habitué Michael Feinstein, the popular and polished standard-bearer of American song, explores the enduring music of George Gershwin. Joining him as guests are Broadway leading lady Ebersole (Grey Gardens), who is equally skilled at comedy and sentiment and who moves with ease between her lustrous belt and legit soprano, and the genre-defying mezzo-soprano Alicia Hall Moran, who straddles the worlds of opera, jazz and soul (and played Bess in the Broadway and national touring production of the most recent revival of Porgy and Bess). 

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Misty Copeland
Photograph: Henry Leutwyler

The Dying Swan (Swans for Relief)

American Ballet Theatre superstar Misty Copeland and her former ABT colleague Joseph Phillips are the forces behind Swans for Relief, an effort to raise funds for dancers in need during the pandemic crisis. In a lovely six-minute video released on YouTube, Copeland and 31 other étoiles from around the world swan out in sequence to Camille Saint-Saën’s Le Cygne, played on cello by Wade Davis. If you enjoy watching it, consider donating to the group’s GoFundMe campaign.

Amber Martin: Reba Still in Quarantine Mother's Day Special
Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

Amber Martin: Reba Still in Quarantine Mother's Day Special

The multitalented Amber Martin, a chameleonic performer with a killer voice, is a significant player in the downtown alt-cabaret scene. She’s also been channeling coppertop country queen Reba McEntire for years, and she’s not going to let a little quarantine slow her down. Currently nesting with her own mom in Texas, Martin performs a live Mother’s Day set, joined remotely by NYC pals Angela DiCarlo, Nath Ann Carrera, Kyle Supley and Patrick Johnson.

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Sean Donovan and Sebastián Calderón Bentin
Photograph: Maria Baranova

The Reception (HERE)

Sean Donovan and Sebastián Calderón Bentin’s 2017 dance-theater work, through HERE's Artist Residency Program, invites audiences to a strange party marked by unexpected exchanges, improvised dialogue and gestural movement. European surrealist cinema is the piece's principal inspiration.

Molly Pope
Photograph: Allison Michael Orenstein

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.

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Joe Iconis
Photograph: Courtesy Lincoln Center

Joe Iconis (American Songbook)

After many years as something of a cult musical-theater figure, pop-rock showtunesmith Joe Iconis had a breakout year in 2019, when his teen-oriented musical Be More Chill rode viral success to a run on Broadway. His rowdy cabaret shows, often stuffed with longtime friends and collaborators, have a joyous sense of community. In this 2020 American Songbook concert, he shares new material as well as favorites from his career so far (we'd be disappointed if he didn't include Smash’s  "Broadway, Here I Come!") with help from musical-theater royals Betty Buckley and Annie Golden.

Will Arbery
Photograph: Zack DeZon

Alabama Shakespeare Festival: 22 Homes

In response to the current crisis, Alabama Shakespeare Festival commissioned 22 Southern playwrights to write short monologues on the theme of “home,” which is appropriate given the number of Americans currently sheltering in place.  Participating playwrights include Donnetta Lavinia Grays, Audrey Cefaly, Pearl Cleage, Lisa D’Amour, Lauren Gunderson, Topher Payne and Will Arbery (whose Heroes of the Fourth Turning just won the 2020 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play).

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Billy Eichner talks Billy On the Street and why basic peeps suck
Photograph: Amanda Friedman

Together in Pride: You Are Not Alone

Billy Eichner and Lilly Singh host this glam-packed GLAAD fundraiser for LGBTQ centers across the country. Performers include Kesha, Melissa Etheridge, Alex Newell, the cast of Broadway’s Jagged Little Pill and recent Little Shop of Horrors costars Mj Rodriguez and George Salazar; other participants include Pete and Chasten Buttigieg, Matt Bomer, Adam Lambert, Bebe Rexha, Dan Levy, Wilson Cruz, Kathy Griffin, Gigi Gorgeous, Nats Getty, Michelle Visage, Javier Muñoz, Sean Hayes, Sharon Stone, and Tatiana Maslany, Billy Porter, Rosie O’Donnell, Jonathan Van Ness, Brian Michael Smith, Ross Mathews and Tyler Oakley. 

Thomas Paine in Violence
Photograph: Courtesy: Benjamin Heller

Thomas Paine in Violence

In Paul Pinto’s fascinating “electronic psychedelic opera-sermon,” directed by Rick Burkhardt (Three Pianos), the venerable experimental vocalist Joan La Barbara plays 18th-century rabble-rouser Thomas Paine—in the afterlife, natch—in a head-scrambling work that draws from Paine’s 1797 pamphlet Agrarian Justice. (You can read an interview with Pinto about it here.)

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Ballet Hispánico in Con Brazos Abiertos
Photograph: Courtesy Paula Lobo

Con Brazos Abiertos (Ballet Hispánico)

The venerable Latino company, which was to celebrate its 50th birthday with a two-week run at the Joyce in April, continues its virtual program. Most of its offerings are Instagram Live, but this is an exception:an archival recording of Michelle Manzanales's 2017 dance Con Brazos Abiertos, a look at Mexican iconography.

Laura Benanti
Photograph: Jenny Anderson

Sunshine Concerts

In March, when Broadway darling Laura Benanti asked students from across the country to share performances from their canceled school productions with the hashhtag #SunshineSongs, the result was an awwwww-inspiring outpouring of talent. Now she has compliled dozens of the resulting videos into an anthology of promise deferred, showcased in a free online special.

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Melissa Errico: Broadway Firecracker
Photograph: Michael Lavine

Melissa Errico: Sondheim Sublime

Melissa Errico is a smart-edged musical-theater leading lady whose silvery voice has brightened such shows as My Fair Lady, Amour and the Off Broadway revival of Passion. In this concert, recorded for archival purposes last year at East Hampton’s Guild Hall in East Hampton, she sets her mind on songs by newly nonagenarian show-tune deity Stephen Sondheim, from the familiar (“Send in the Clowns”) to the relatively unknown (“Goodbye for Now”). Tedd Firth is the musical director.