The Best Live Theater to Stream Online Today – Time Out

Posted: May 20, 2020 at 4:45 am


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The current crisis has had a devastating effect on the performing arts. Broadwayhas shut down, and the ban on gatherings in New Yorkextends to all other performance spaces as well. So the show must go onlineand, 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; be sure to scroll down past the daily listings to find major events that you can still stream for alimited 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. (Refresh the bookmark every week or so for optimal use.)

Past casts of Hairspray sing You Cant Stop The BeatNowIf youve been feeling less than your best, watch this four-minute video of one of the great Broadway feel-good songs of all time: You Cant 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 homestarting 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 Douglas and songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. It pulls out all the stops, and it's unbeatable.

Harvey Fierstein in Hairspray | Photograph: Paul Kolnik

Plays in the House: Candida2pm EDT / 7pm BST (available for four days)Twice a week, the invaluable Stars in the House series, which usually features interviews and musical interludes (see 8pm below), presents live performances of plays in their entirety. Previous efforts, including The Heidi Chronicles, The Tale of the Allergists Wife and Fuddy Meers, have come off smashingly. Now the series welcomes Gingold Theatrical Group's supremely cultivated David Staller, who specializes in works by George Bernard Shaw, for a reading of the Bearded Ones 1894 comedy about a marriage threatened by a dishy young poet. The starry cast, directed by Staller, is led by Rene Elise Goldsberry, Santino Fontana and Andrew Keenan-Bolger as the sides of the main romantic triangle; they are joined by Andra Burns, Jay O. Sanders and Michael Benjamin Washington. (Unlike other Stars in the House offerings, this will only be available for four days after the live broadcast.)

Rene Elise Goldsberry | Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

English National Ballet: Nora2pm EDT / 7pm BST (available for 48 hours)This weeks free ENB offering, choreographed by the companys Stina Quagebeur, is a ballet inspired by Henrik Ibsens 1879 protfeminist social drama, A Dolls House, in which a bourgeois Norwegian woman walks out on her family with a decisive (and once divisive) slam of the door. Crystal Costa plays Nora and Jeffrey Cirio is her husband, Torvald; the music is by Philip Glass. The piece premiered in 2019 as part of She Persisted, a triple bill of works by women.

Nora | Photograph: Laurent Liotardo

How to Survive the End of the World2pm EDT / 7pm BSTEllaRose Chary and Brandon James Gwinns original musical short, created in quarantine, concerns a young woman who obsessively rewatches old video messages from her dead brother, and whose interactions even with the living now take place only in a virtual space. The cast comprises Hannah Cruz, Dylan Hartwell, Greg Sullivan and Ellen Winter, who recorded their parts from their homes.

Dylan Hartwell | Photograph: Jeff Mills

Martha Graham Dance Company: Letter to the World2:30pm EDT / 7:30pm BST (live only)The queen of modern dance's legacy lives on. In this edition of its Martha Matinee series on YouTube, the company that bears her name takes a deep dive into Grahams 1940 Letter to the World (immortalized in Barbara Grahams iconic photograph), which explores the inner life of the American poet, recluse and dash enthusiast Emily Dickinson. The company is showing the first half of the piece this week, and will air the second next week; both installments include footage of the original cast with Graham, Erick Hawkins and Merce Cunningham and a 1972 revival with Pearl Lang. Artistic director Janet Eilber is on hand for live Q&A during the group watch, joined by Graham archivist Oliver Tobin and other guests. (The program will be screened again on Saturday at 2:30pm, with a new live discussion.)

Martha Graham in Letter to the World | Photograph: Barbara Morgan

Linda Lavin with Billy Stritch3pm EDT / 8pm BSTMost recently seen on Broadway in 2016s Our Mother's Brief Affair, stage actor extraordinaire Lavin is perhaps still best known to general audiences as the title character of the 1970s sitcom Alice. In this weekly at-home set, the 82-year-old performer returns to her musical-theater roots, with her regular musical director, the accomplished Billy Stritch, at her actual piano. (As luck would have it, they live in the same building.)

Linda Lavin | Photograph: Cliff Lipson

Maries Crisis Virtual Piano Bar4pm9:30pm EDT / 9pm-2:30am BSTThe 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 dont forget to tip the pianist and staff through Venmo. Tonights scheduled pianists are Drew Wutke (@DrewWutke) and Kenney Green (@KenneyGreenMusic).

The Builders Association: Ten Stories: A Decameron from the Builders5pm EDT / 10pm BST (live only)Director Marianne Weemss company, the Builders Association (House/Divided), has foregrounded technology since it launched in 1994, so it should adjust to the new reality of live theater performance like a fish to an online streaming platform. In this inventive new series, inspired by Boccaccios 14th-century plague-story anthology, the troupe offers five original half-hour playletsthis is the third; the others are tomorrow and Fridaythat are structured as storytelling conversations; viewers who watch it on two devices at once can access visual extras. Performers Moe Angelos and David Pence anchor each episode, joined by two guest artists each time. The performances can only be viewed live, but all five will be released on June 1 if you miss any.

Moe Angelos | Photograph: Stephanie Warren

The Metropolitan Opera: Hansel and Gretel5pm EDT / 10pm BST (available for 48 hours)In addition to its nightly gift of filmed productions (see 7:30pm), 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 Engelbert Humperdincks 1893 fairy-tale opera Hansel and Gretel, a Grimm story ofchildren who murder an old woman after trying to eat her house. This fantastical 2008 performance, conducted by Vladimir Jurowski, stars Alice Coote and Christine Schfer as the hungry, hungry kiddos and the late English tenor Philip Langridge as the Witch.

Hansel and Gretel | Photograph: Ken Howard

MCC Live Labs: The Sentinels5:30pm EDT / 10:30pm BST (available through May 23)MCC continues its new weekly series of free one-act plays, each under 45 minutes long. In The Sentinels, by Matthew Lopez (The Inheritance), a group of women meet every year to reminisce about the husbands they lost on 9/11. Rebecca Taichman directs a boffo cast that comprises Jane Alexander, Priscilla Lopez, Katrina Lenk and Dene Benton.

Katrina Lenk | Photograph: Guerin Blask

The Howard Ashman Celebration6pm EDT / 11am BST (available through May 31) Writer-lyricist and director Howard Ashman, in his collaborations with composer Alan Menkenwhich include Little Shop of Horrors and the Disney-renaissance animated films The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdinarguably did more than anyone to return musical theater from its mass-culture exile in the late 20th century. One can only imagine what else he might have done had he not died of AIDS in 1991, when he was 40 years old. In honor what would have been his 70th birthday, Rainbow Sun Productions has created this collection of songs and stories aboutAshman's life and legacy. Participants include John Tartaglia, Christy Carlson Romano, Bradley Pierce and the original voice of Ariel, Jodi Benson; all proceeds benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

John Tartaglia | Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

54 Below at Home: 54 Does 54: The Feinsteins/54 Below Staff Show6:30pm EDT / 11:30pm BSTThe citys top supper club, Feinsteins/54 Below, offers shows from its archives, streamed live on YouTube for one night only, in its ongoing series #54BelowatHome. Tonights selection is a 2018 group show by members of the venues staffincluding servers, managers and cookshosted by Dylan Bustamante and Kevin Ferguson. In honor of their talents, consider contributing tothe GuFundMe campaign for the dozens of F/54 staffers who are currently laid off.

The Homebound Project7pm EDT / 12am BSTAn extremely impressive roster of 50 actors and writers lend their talents to this online initiative to raise money for No Kid Hungry, which helps feed children affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Founded by playwright Catya McMullen and director Jenna Worsham, each of the Homebound Projects three editions features 10 new short dramatic works, directed by professionals; you can watch them in return for a donation of $10 or more. (The videos drop every second Wednesday, and stay live for four days only.) The actors in tonights second installment include Mary-Louise Parker, Taylor Schilling, Uzo Aduba, Betty Gilpin and Zachary Quinto; the writers include Anne Washburn, Will Arbery, Sarah DeLappe, Adam Bock and Bryna Turner.

Mary-Louise Parker | Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

Ballet Hispnico: El Beso7pm EDT / 12am BSTThe venerable Latino company, which was to celebrate its 50th birthday with a two-week run at the Joyce in April, continues its virtual program, B Unidos. Most of its offerings are on Instagram Live, but its weekly watch parties of archival favorites are the exception. Todays offering is Gustavo Ramrez Sansanos 2014 El Beso, which pays more than lip service to the intricacies of a kiss. The piece is set to zarzuela music and features costumes by Venezuelan fashionisto Angel Sanchez. A live Q&A follows with Sansano and BH artistic director Eduardo Vilaro.

El Beso | Photograph: Paula Lobo

HERE: The Pigeoning7pm EDT / 12am BSTEvery Wednesday night, the vital downtown arts complex HERE screens a new recording of one of its past successes in a Facebook watch party. This weeks selection is Robin Frohardts 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 Frohardts 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."

The Pigeoning | Photograph: Richard Termine

New Works Series: Mary and Max and Second Line7pm EDT / 12am BSTIn this free, 40-minute live-streamed show, New York Theatre Barn's development series Zooms in on two musicals-in-progress. Lauren Elder and Tony winner Shuler Hensley (Oklahoma!) perform two songs from Bobby Conin and Crystal Skillmans Mary and Max, adapted from the bittersweet 2009 Claymation film about an unusual pair of pen pals; and Austin Scott and Lagoona Bloo sing two songs from Sam Carner and Derek Gregors Second Line, about a New Orleans woman in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Lauren Elder | Photograph: Summer LaLande

Marty Thomas and Rachel Potter: Quarantine Cabaret7pm EDT / 12am BSTPower singer and human spangle Marty Thomas (Xanadu) teams up every Wednesday with his talented pal Rachel Potter (who sang the big suitcase song in the most recent Broadway revival of Evita). Their scheduled guests this week are the husband-and-wife team of Kristine Reese and Billy Tighe and the high-flying tenor Michael Longoria (Jersey Boys).

Marty Thomas and Rachel Potter | Photograph: Courtesy Snack Entertainment

The Metropolitan Opera: Un Ballo in Maschera7:30pm 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 remains online for the next 23 hours. Tonight the series continues its tenth week with Verdis opera about the assassination of Swedens Gustovo III at a ball. Marcelo lvarez, Sondra Radvanovsky and Dmitri Hvorostovsky star in this 2012 performance, which is staged in film noir style by David Alden and conducted by Fabio Luisi. Stephanie Blythe and Kathleen Kim have colorful supporting roles.

Un Ballo in Maschera | Photograph: Ken Howard

Bombshell in Concert8pm EDT / 1am BSTWhether 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 Hairsprays 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, Smashs 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 tries to add to the tally by streaming a recording of that magical night as an Actors Fund benefit. Rene 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 dArcy James, Ann Harada, Krysta Rodriguez and Wesley Taylor. Tune in and get Smashed. (Needless to say: Team Ivy forever.)

Smash | Photograph: Merk Seliger/NBC

30th Plaidiversary Reunion Special10pm EDT / 3am BST (available for 72 hours)Musical Theatre West presents a 30th-anniversary celebration of writer-director Stuart Rosss popular retro revue Forever Plaid, an affectionate spoof of 1950s male singing quartets that ran for years in New York and across the country. Along with the cast of the original 1990 Off Broadway production at what is now the Triad TheaterDavid Engel, Stan Chandler, Guy Stroman and the impish Jason Graaethe reunion includes Ross and longtime Plaid performer David Raben (who was in the 2008 film version). Expects stories, performance clips and perfect harmony.

Jason Graae | Photograph: Rick Bernstein

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The Best Live Theater to Stream Online Today - Time Out

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May 20th, 2020 at 4:45 am

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