Theater News

6 Shows to Watch This Weekend, Including David Byrne's American Utopia

Plus, check out Heidi Schrek’s ”What the Constitution Means to Me” and North Coast Rep’s Frederick Douglass-inspired ”Necessary Sacrifices”.

With theaters closed around the country, some companies are making their productions available online. Below, you'll find our weekly update of productions, videos, and other theater-related streaming content from across the US and elsewhere. Some streams are free, while others may charge a fee or request a donation. Either way, you're sure to find something to scratch your theater itch. Theaters may be dark, but the shows go on.

This Weekend

1. Heidi Schreck's Tony-nominated What the Constitution Means to Me premieres on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, October 16. The stage production was filmed live at the Helen Hayes Theater during the final week of its Broadway run by director Mirelle Heller. The play was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. To watch on Amazon Prime, click here.

Heidi Schreck's What the Constitution Means to Me, now running at Broadway's Hayes Theater, has recouped its investment.
Heidi Schreck in her play What the Constitution Means to Me.
(© Joan Marcus)

2. HBO will air Spike Lee's filmed version of David Byrne's American Utopia this Saturday, October 17. The concert, which features choreography and musical staging by Annie-B Parson, includes songs from Byrne's album American Utopia along with songs from Talking Heads and Byrne's solo career. To watch on HBO via Amazon Prime, click here.

David Byrne and the cast of American Utopia.
David Byrne and the cast of American Utopia.
(© David Gordon)

3. North Coast Rep is streaming Richard Hellesen's Necessary Sacrifices, based on the two documented meetings between Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass at the height of the Civil War. Necessary Sacrifices reveals the anguish and emotions of these two leaders as they grapple with war, peace, politics, and moral courage. Featuring Ray Chambers and Hawthorne James.
To purchase tickets, click here.

Hawthorne James and Ray Chambers in Necessary Sacrifices
Hawthorne James and Ray Chambers in Necessary Sacrifices
(© Aaron Rumley)

4. St. Ann's Warehouse will stream Phyllida Lloyd's all-female Shakespeare Henry IV for free October 16-22. It will also be seen over the course of one marathon weekend, October 30-November 1, along with Julius Caesar and The Tempest. For more information about the productions and how to stream them, click here.

5. Potomac Theatre Project's 34th repertory season, Virtual(ly) PTP/NYC, concludes this week with Caryl Churchill's Far Away, directed by Cheryl Faraone, streaming Thursday, October 15, at 7:30pm ET through Sunday, October 18, at 11:59pm. For more information, click here.

6. West End, Broadway, and television stars are taking part in Shakespeare@'s radio play production of Shakespeare's The Tempest, which continues with part 3 Thursday, October 15, at 7pm ET and is free to download and stream. The Tempest is airing in four weekly parts. To see the cast and learn more, click here. The debut date for the final part is next Thursday (October 22) at 7pm ET. Donations are welcome and encouraged.


* Red Bull Theater, in association with American Shakespeare Center, will present a reading of Anchuli Felicia King's Keene on Monday October 19 at 7:30pm. A heartfelt ode to always being the second-class genius of color, Keene is a playful riff on early-career academia, Shakespeare's Othello, and the power of American pop. Tickets are free, but donations are welcome. Click here to learn more.

* New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players have postponed their traditional NYC season of live performance full productions until 2021-22. In its place, an exciting and creative virtual season is underway with lots to look forward to for fans and patrons of the company. Raise a glass with NYGASP as the company toasts the best of Gilbert & Sullivan at NYGASP's first ever Virtual Gala, Tuesday, October 20 at 7pm. To attend virtually, click here.

* North Coast Rep will stream Bernard Slades's Same Time, Next Year October 21-November 15. This wickedly funny comedy explores a 25-year love affair between two seemingly ordinary people who meet once a year and deftly examines the monumental political, social, and most of all, the personal changes that impact the lovers during that quarter century. Featuring married couple Bruce Turk and Kate McNichol. To purchase tickets, click here.

*Working Theater will present American Dreams October 21-25. Imagine a world where the only way to gain US citizenship is by competing in a live online game show — where you, the people, decide who wins! Welcome to American Dreams: It's a game. It's a show. It's America. This playful participatory performance takes a page from America's favorite game shows and uses voting, polling, trivia and more to explore what it means to be(come) a citizen. Read our review here. For tickets, click here.

* Broadway On Demand and the Denver Actors Fund, is proud to present the exclusive radio-play production of John Moore's play Waiting for Obama on Saturday, October 24, at 8pm ET on In Waiting for Obama, a Colorado family is convinced that President Barack Obama is coming for their guns… and they may well be right. This magical and surreal exploration of relationships touched by tragedy leaps head-first into one of America's most complex conundrums: guns. For tickets and more information, click here.

* St. Ann's Warehouse will stream Phyllida Lloyd's all-female Shakespeare trilogy. Julius Caesar will run October 9-15, Henry IV will air October 16-22, and The Tempest will run October 23-29. It will also be seen over the course of one marathon weekend, October 30-November 1. For tickets and more information, click here.

* The TheaterWorksUSA production of Joe Iconis's off-Broadway children's musical We the People: America Rocks! will debut online throughout the rest of election season, premiering October 24 at 8pm on Stars in the House. Filmed live without an audience at Paper Mill Playhouse, the capture will be made available to schools and theaters throughout the academic year. For more information, click here.

* TheatreWorks Silicon Valley is encouraging its audiences to "get out the vote" and stand up for racial justice. Hold These Truths, which shares the story of a Japanese American who passionately defends his Constitutional rights against his own country, will be offered via video streaming October 6-November 3. To purchase streaming access, click here.

* Ken Davenport presents The Doo Wop Project: Live In Your Living Room, a virtual theatrical concert, broadcast live from Shubert Studios, on Sunday, October 25, at 7pm. For tickets and more infomation, click here.

* Atlantic Theater Company's Fall Reunion Reading Series launches October 22 and will include broadcasts of Skeleton Crew by MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Dominique Morisseau, and Lortel and Obie Award winner Guards at the Taj by Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph. Tickets to the readings, which will be broadcast via Atlantic Theater Company's YouTube channel, are free and available to reserve here, with a suggested donation of $25 per viewer.

* Howell Binkley: A Celebration of Light and Love, a video tribute in memory of lighting designer Howell Binkley created by Suspension Productions, will be available for viewing on beginning Sunday, October 25 at 8pm ET. Binkley designed the lighting for 52 Broadway shows, received nine Tony Award nominations and won two Tony Awards. Theater luminaries including Ariana DeBose, Chita Rivera, and Paul Nolan will join.

* Signature Theatrewill present a free virtual reunion reading of the Obie Award-winning Signature Theatre production of The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World AKA the Negro Book of the Dead by Pulitzer Prize winner and Residency 1 playwright Suzan-Lori Parks. The play will stream on Tuesday, October 27 at 6pm ET. Following the reading Suzan-Lori Parks, Lileana Blain-Cruz, and the cast will participate in a talkback. The reading (no talkback) will be available to stream on demand until October 31 at 6pm ET. To attend this free event via virtual stream, RSVP at here.

* Joe DiPietro's play Conscience, starring Harriet Harris, returns as a virtual reading October 27-30. The world premiere of the production was canceled at the George Street Playhouse days after it opened because of the pandemic. The play deals with Senator Margaret Chase Smith, who stood on the Senate floor and delivered her "Declaration of Conscience" in a historic moment of political courage. For tickets, click here.

* Kerry Butler and Gavin Lee will star in an online presentation of A Very Brady Musical, presented as a benefit for Maine's Ogunquit Playhouse. It will air on October 28 at 7pm ET and will then be available for 96 hours. Written by Lloyd J. Schwartz, Hope Juber, and Laurence Juber, the musical is a nostalgic look back at the CBS series The Brady Bunch, and follows the adventures of the Brady kids after they mistakenly start to think that their parents are divorcing. For tickets, click here.

Kerry Butler and Gavin Lee
Kerry Butler and Gavin Lee
(© David Gordon/Seth Walters)

* Resounding, a live immersive audio entertainment company, will debut with a production of Dracula, on Friday, October 30, and Saturday, October 31, at 8pm. Based on Orson Welles's radio play, Dracula will star Tony-nominated Norm Lewis as Count Dracula along with Lindsay Nicole Chambers as Mina Murray, Siho Ellsmore as Lucy Westenra, Chris Renfro as Jonathan Harker, Dick Terhune as Prof. Van Helsing, Stuart Williams as Dr. Seward, and John Stimac. For tickets, click here.

Norm Lewis
Norm Lewis

* Howard Koch's historic adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel War of the Worlds will be presented by Keen Company and aired via Broadway On Demand on October 30 at 8pm. The cast will feature Jason Tam, Arnie Burton, Morgan Siobhan Green, and Khiry Walker, and more. For tickets, click here.

* The Actors Fund and the Lymphoma Research Foundation have announced a one-night concert production of The Nightmare Before Christmas, presented by James Monroe Iglehart in cooperation with Tim Burton, Danny Elfman, and Disney Media Group. The show will take place on October 31 at 7pm. Tickets cost $4.99. Joining Iglehart in the cast are Rafael Casal, Adrienne Warren, Danny Burstein, Nik Walker, Lesli Margherita, Rob McClure, and more to be announced. Purchase tickets here.

James Monroe Iglehart and Adrienne Warren
James Monroe Iglehart and Adrienne Warren
(© David Gordon)

More Streaming Channels

* Lin-Manuel Miranda's blockbuster musical Hamilton streams on Disney Plus, featuring the original cast, led by Miranda as Hamilton, Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr, Daveed Diggs as Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson, Renée Elise Goldsberry as Angelica Schuyler, Christopher Jackson as George Washington, Jonathan Groff as King George, Phillipa Soo as Eliza Hamilton, Jasmine Cephas Jones as Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds, Okieriete Onaodowan as Hercules Mulligan/James Madison, and Anthony Ramos as John Laurens/Philip Hamilton. To find out how to watch, click here.

* Netflix has released Joe Mantello's film remake of Mart Crowley's The Boys in the Band. The company is made up of Jim Parsons (Michael), Zachary Quinto (Harold), Matt Bomer (Donald), Andrew Rannells (Larry), Charlie Carver (Cowboy), Robin De Jesús (Emory), Brian Hutchison (Alan), Michael Benjamin Washington (Bernard), and Tuc Watkins (Hank). In the video below, explore why The Boys in the Band continues to remain relevant today:

* Amazon Prime has released Julie Taymor's Gloria Steinem biopic The Glorias, written by Taymor and Sarah Ruhl, on its Prime Video platform. Spanning five decades, the film has multiple actors playing Steinem at various ages: Ryan Kira Armstrong as Young Gloria, Lulu Wilson as Teen Gloria, Alicia Vikander as Gloria ages 20-40, and Julianne Moore as Steinem through the present. The cast also includes Bette Midler as Bella Abzug, Janelle Monáe as Dorothy Pitman Hughes, Timothy Hutton as Leo Steinem, Lorraine Toussaint as Florynce Kennedy, Enid Graham as Ruth, Kimberly Guerrero as Wilma Mankiller, Monica Sanchez as Dolores Huerta, and Margo Moorer as Barbara Jordan. To watch, click here.

Julianne Moore in The Glorias
Julianne Moore in The Glorias
(© Dan McFadden)

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