The Best Live Theater to Stream Online Today

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 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 past the daily listings to find events that can still be seen for a limited time and, below that, a bonus section of videos with no expiration dates. We update this page every day, so bookmark it for the latest information.   

Creation Theatre: Alice: A Virtual Theme Park
Saturday 11am and 2pm EDT / 4pm and 7pm BST (live only)
After a successful virtual run of The Tempest earlier in the pandemic season, Creation Theatre and Big Telly Theatre Company reteam for a Zoomed-up adaptation of another milestone of English lit: Lewis Carroll’s Alice books. Adapter-director Zoe Seaton has devised the piece with a company of seven actors (led by Leda Douglas as Alice), with an assist from playwright Charlotte Keatley in the tea-party scene. The show is performed live ten times a week through August 30. Tickets are limited and cost £20 (about $25) per device. 

Alice: A Virtual Theme Park | Photograph: Courtesy of the artists

Met Stars Live in Concert: Renée Fleming
Saturday 1pm EDT / 6pm BST  (available through)
Even as it continues its nighty streams of full productions (see below), the Metropolitan Opera broadens its scope with a new series of live recitals every other Saturday by top classical vocalists from around the world. Met queen Renée Fleming continues the series this afternoon with a concert that she performs at the Dumbarton Oaks Museum in Washington, D.C. Christine Goerke hosts the broadcast, which is shot with multiple cameras and directed remotely by Gary Halvorston, who has overseen the Met’s Live in HD transmissions. The program, accompanied by Robert Ainsley on piano, includes arias by Puccini, Massnet and Handel. Tickets cost $20, and each edition in the series remains viewable on demand for a week and a half after the live performance.   

Renée Fleming | Photograph: Andrew Eccles

Ice Factory: we need your listening
Saturday 1pm, 2pm and 3pm EDT / 6pm, 7pm and 8pm BST (live only)
Need a break from the summer heat? The cool curatorial heads of the New Ohio Theatre’s Ice Factory festival always provide a welcome breeze. In its month-long 27th edition, the fest is offering four new works, performed virtually for runs of three or four days each. Second up is we need your listening, a series of one-on-one virtual encounters devised by Velani Dibba, Ilana Khanin, Elizagrace Madrone, Stephen Charles Smith and their ensemble of ten actors. Reservations are required; the tickets are pay-what-you-will with a suggested price of $10. Because of the nature of the show, attendance is highly limited and tickets are already sold out; sign up for the waiting list and hope for the best.

Plays in the House: Stick Fly
Saturday 2pm EDT / 7pm BST (available for four days)
The invaluable Stars in the House series, which usually features interviews and musical interludes (see 8pm below), occasionally also presents live performances of plays in their entirety. Most of those efforts, including The Heidi Chronicles, The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife and The Little Dog Laughed, have come off smashingly. This edition of Plays in the House is devoted to Lydia R. Diamond’s dramedy Stick Fly, which was seen on Broadway in 2012 and which deals with the race, class and gender anxieties of a wealthy Black family in Martha’s Vineyard. Dell Howlett directs a cast that comprises Keith Randolph Smith, Jelani Alladin, Daniel J. Watts, Renika Williams, Tiffany Rachelle Stewart and Caroline Innerbichler; singer-songwriter Crystal Monee Hall performs original music. Proceeds benefit the Actors Fund. 

Jelani Alladin | Photograph: Karen Santos

Theater for the New City: Liberty or Just Us: A City Park Story
Saturday 2pm EDT / 7pm BST (live only)
Theater for the New City normally takes its annual Street Theater Company show on the road, bringing spunky, family-friendly musical agitprop to outdoor sites throughout the five boroughs. Instead, this year’s 44th edition, Liberty or Just Us: A City Park Story, is being performed live remotely twice a weekend though September 13, with nods to the locations that were originally planned. Crystal Field and Joseph Vernon Banks’s inclusive oratorio celebrates the long history of social activism in New York City parks, from the protests that followed the Triangle Shirtwaist fire to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Series veteran Michael-David Gordon leads the large and diverse cast. Performances are free and viewers are invited to sing along from home. 

Michael-David Gordon | Photograph: Jonathan Slaff

Play-PerView: RoosevElvis
Saturday 5pm EDT / 10pm BST (live only)
The charitable virtual-theater initiative Play-PerView presents a one-time, live-only Zoom reunion reading of the wonderful two-hander RoosevElvis, one of the standout productions of 2013. A shy, Presley-loving Midwestern lesbian takes a road trip to Graceland, with an imaginary drag-king Teddy Roosevelt by her side, in the TEAM’s offbeat and on-target exploration of American daring and loneliness. Under the direction of Rachel Chavkin (Hadestown), performers and co-creators Libby King and Kristen Sieh take off on flights of wildly original comedy, set in marked counterpoint with melancholy. “This glorious show is strong precisely because it focuses on individuals,” wrote Helen Shaw in her Time Out review. “Some astonishing scenes, several the best I’ve seen this year, are the result.” Tickets cost $15 and up, and proceeds benefit the TEAM and the Emergency Release Fund. 

RoosevElvis | Photograph: Sue Kessler

The Road Theatre Company: Summer Playwrights Festival
Saturday 5pm and 9pm EDT / 10pm and 2am BST (available for 24 hours)
Los Angeles’s Road Theatre Company takes its 11th annual Summer Playwrights Festival online, offering 26 readings of new plays and shorts over the course of three weeks. A donation of $15 is suggested per event, and can be contributed here. The festival continues today with two shows: Austin Caldwell’s Balls (5pm), about a young man with testicular cancer, and Sharr White’s Pictures from Home (9pm), adapted from photographer Larry Sultan’s collection of portraits of his own parents over the course of a decade.  

Sharr White | Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

Marie’s Crisis Virtual Piano Bar
Saturday 5pm–10:30pm EDT / 10pm–3:30am 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 Franca Vercelloni (@Franca-Vercelloni) and Michael James Roy (@MichaelJames-Roy). 

Source Material: In These Uncertain Times
Saturday 7pm EDT / midnight BST (live only)
Samantha Shay directs her company, Source Material, in an hour-long devised play on Chekhovian themes that has been developed expressly for Zoom performance. (Gauntlet picked up, Richard Nelson!) Grace Tiso leads the cast of seven. A donation of $10–$25 is suggested but not required; the play will be performed again tomorrow.

In These Uncertain Times | Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

Innovations in Socially Distant Performance: a farm for meme
Saturday 7pm (English) and 7:45pm (Spanish) EDT / midnight (English) and 12:45am (Spanish) BST (live only)
Playwright Virginia Grise teams up with director Elena Araoz, of the new Princeton research project Innovations in Socially Distant Performance, for a Zoom performance about a 14-acre farm in the middle of South Central Los Angeles. This weekend, the 20-minute piece is performed live twice a day—once in English and once Spanish—by a cast led by Marlene Beltran. Reservations are required.

Dixon Place: Hot! Festival 
Saturday 7:30pm and 8:30pm EDT / 12:30am and 1:30am 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. Tonight the festival flames out with two final shows: Taylor Cozort’s dark comedy The Odds Are Good, But The Goods Are Odd (7:30pm), an autobiographical depiction of a weight-control journey, and Margot Mejia’s Hi Bi (8:30pm), a full-length bisexual love story. The latter, which has been recorded remotely and painstakingly edited, will be available for viewing afterward on its own website

Hi Bi | Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

The Metropolitan Opera: Ernani
Saturday 7:30pm EDT / 12:30am BST (available for 23 hours)
The Met continues its immensely popular free rollout of past performances, mostly recorded in high definition. A different archival production goes live at 7:30pm each night and remains online for the next 23 hours. Tonight’s selection, which precedes the HD era, is a 1983 telecast of Verdi’s Ernani. Leona Mitchell stars as Elvira, a young woman torn among three suitors: the sexy bad boy Ernani (Luciano Pavarotti), the rich and old Silva (Ruggero Raimondi) and the King of Spain (Sherrill Milnes). James Levine mans the baton.

Ernani | Photograph: Metropolitan Opera Archives

Stars in the House: Save the Arts!
Saturday 8pm EDT / 1am 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, in which they play host to theater stars in live, chatty interviews interspersed with clips and songs. Dr. Jon LaPook, the chief medical correspondent for CBS News, provides periodic updates on public health; surprise virtual visitors are common as well. Donations benefit the Actors Fund. On tonight’s edition, stars including Audra McDonald, Rosie Perez, Ben Stiller, Misty Copeland and Justina Machado lend their voices to the chorus of advocates for emergency government support for the arts industry.

Metropolitan Playhouse: In the Season
Saturday at 8pm EDT / 1am BST 
The dramatic archaeologists of the Metropolitan Playhouse unearth Langdon Mitchell’s 1893 debut play, In the Season, a one-act comedy about young love that may be stifled by the constriction of London society. Artistic director Alex Roe helms the 30-minute reading, which is followed by a talkback.  

Broadway Bares: Zoom In
Saturday 9:30pm EDT / 2:30am BST 
Broadway players get extra playful at the beloved annual burlesque extravaganza Broadway Bares, where the Great White Way’s hottest chorus guys and gals bump and grind to raise money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The benefit can’t be held in the flesh this year, so Broadway’s sexy feast of titillations and assistance is offering a virtual edition that includes new routines recorded remotely as well as video highlights from past editions of Broadway Bares. (Click here to see photos of recent Broadway Bares events.) You can watch it on the Broadway Bares website or through one of the event’s many media partners, including Time Out.

Broadway Bares 2019 | Photograph: Billy Bustamante

All Arts: House Seats: Fire This Time Festival
Sunday 8am EDT (U.S. only)
WNET’s All Arts platform presents a collection of 10-minute plays by seven writers: Cyrus Aaron, Niccolo Aeed, Natyna Bean, Tyler English-Beckwith, Jay Mazyck, Deneen Reynolds-Knott and Mario (Mars) Wolfe. Filmed earlier this year, this event was the centerpiece of the 11th annual edition of the Fire This Time Festival, which showcases early-career African-American playwrights. The full collection is only viewable in the United States, but All Arts is also rolling out one playlet every day this week at 10am on the All Arts YouTube channel.

Assumed Positions | Photograph: Garlia Jones

Ice Factory: we need your listening
Sunday 11am, noon and 1pm EDT / 4pm, 5pm and 6pm BST (live only)
See Saturday 1pm.

Creation Theatre: Alice: A Virtual Theme Park
Saturday 11am and 2pm EDT / 4pm and 7pm BST (live only)
See Saturday 11am. 

Stars in the House: Theatre Raleigh
Sunday 2pm EDT / 7pm BST (available for four days)
Stars in the House periodically shines its spotlight on regional theaters, as in today’s matinee edition about North Carolina’s Theatre Raleigh. Lauren Kennedy Brady hosts the episode, whose guests include Kate McMillan, Yolanda Rabun and Gerard Williams.

Source Material: In These Uncertain Times
Sunday 2pm EDT / 6pm BST (live only)
See Saturday 7pm. 

Theater for the New City: Liberty or Just Us: A City Park Story
Sunday 2pm EDT / 7pm BST (live only)
See Saturday 2pm. 

Innovations in Socially Distant Performance: a farm for meme
Sunday 3pm (Spanish) and 3:45pm (English) EDT / 8pm (Spanish) and 8pm (English) BST (live only)
See Saturday 7pm. 

John McDaniel: Sunday Tea with John McD
Sunday 3pm EDT / 8pm BST 
The affable pianist, musical director and composer John McDaniel—known to national audiences from his stint as the leader of The Rosie O’Donnell Show’s house band, the McDLTs—now offers an intimate afternoon of music once a month on Facebook Live. 

John McDaniel | Photograph: Steve Ullathorne

Marie’s Crisis Virtual Piano Bar
Sunday 4pm–9:30pm EDT / 9pm–2:30am BST
See Saturday 5pm. Tonight’s scheduled pianists are Adam Michael Tilford (@Adam-Tilford-1) and Dan Daly (@DanDalyMusic).  

The Road Theatre Company: Summer Playwrights Festival
Sunday 5pm and 9pm EDT / 10pm and 2am BST (available for 24 hours)
See Saturday 5pm. SPF continues today with two readings: Angela J. Davis’s prize-winning Agathe (5pm), about the murdered Rwandan prime minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana, and an anthology of short works (9pm) by Lonnie McGuire, Emily Jerez, Steven San Luis, John Yarbrough and Patti Veconi.

Angela J. Davis | Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

Metropolitan Opera: Die Walküre
Sunday 7:30pm EDT / 12:30am BST (available for 23 hours)
See Saturday 7:30pm. The Met’s 20th week of free operas concludes with a revival of Robert Lepage’s techtacular production of Die Walküre, the second part of Richard Wagner’s epic Ring Cycle. Greer Grimsley and Jamie Barton play the king and queen of the old Norse gods; Eva-Maria Westbroek and Stuart Skelton are the demigod twins whose incestuous affair brings disaster, and Christine Goerke is the heavenly warrior who takes pity on them. Philippe Jordan conducts this 2019 performance. 

Die Walküre | Photograph: Richard Termine

Playdate: Today I Saw a Bird and Watched You Fly Away with It and Waze
Sunday 8pm EDT / 1am BST (live only)
The new virtual-theater company Playdate, devoted to the development of new works in the Covid era, presents the second of three weekly double bills of plays by emerging writers, with casts that include multiple television notables. This edition comprises Ben Kaye’s Today I Saw a Bird and Watched You Fly Away with It, with Owen Thiele and Wonza Johnson as a couple whose relationship is tested when they are forced to work from home, and Lizz Bogaard’s Waze, starring Caroline Aaron as a grandmother who causes trouble during a job interview between Ed Weeks and Jay Jay Warren. Tickets to the performances, which can only be watched live, start at $5; proceeds benefit Color of Change and LA YWCA’s COVID-19 Relief Fund. 

Jay Jay Warren | Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

The Seth Concert Series: Cheyenne Jackson
Sunday 8pm EDT / 1am BST (live only)
Seth Rudetsky’s intimate chat-and-sing series at the Art House in Provincetown has drawn top Broadway stars to the tip of the Cape for nearly a decade. He knows exactly what stories and songs people need to hear from each of his A-list guests, and now he brings the magic online in a weekly series that uses a new approach to sound design to make it possible to accompany his guests in real time. Joining him for this episode is the almost comically hunky Cheyenne Jackson, who rode a classic understudy-to-star road to his breakout role in the 2005 Elvis musical All Shook Up and has gone on to further success on Broadway (Xanadu) and TV (30 Rock). Virtual tickets cost $20; tonight’s live edition at 8pm will be recorded and rerun tomorrow at 3pm.   

Cheyenne Jackson | Photograph: Karl Simone

Riant Theatre: At All Cost
Sunday 8pm EDT / 1am BST (live only)
The Riant Theatre, best known for its Strawberry One-Act Festival, offers a Zoom reading of Rashida Costa’s drama At All Cost as part of its ongoing Jocunda Music, Film and Theatre Festival. The play concerns a Black soldier who buys a casino in the South after World War II; Van Dirk Fisher directs a cast of seven. Tickets cost $15 and advance reservations are required; a conversation with Costa and the cast follows the performance.

Rashida Costa | Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

Brian Nash
Sunday 8pm EDT / 1am BST 
A wizard at the piano and an ace musical director, Brian Nash is also an exuberant showman when he takes the mic himself—as he usually does on Sunday nights at the Duplex in the West Village, where he has held court for the past decade or so. Tonight he brings the magic to Facebook Live in a weekly virtual concert. In lieu of a tip jar, you can Venmo him at @BrianJNash. (If you do it in advance, feel free to include a request.)

Brian Nash | Photograph: Robb Sapp/Dirty Sugar

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