With Hanukkah on a roll, it feels like we’re in the 2020 home stretch already. This week’s list includes the usual bunch of Christmas Carols (for more on online doses of Dickens, go here) and other Yuletide counterprogramming, especially of the holiday-special variety, but it feels like there’s a lot of other stuff, unrelated to the season, on offer. And since most of of us home for the holidays in a different, more bittersweet sense than most years, all these options are just a click away.
So get a hot cocoa or the beverage of your choice, and feast on this week’s bounty of online offerings.
New York City’s Irish Repertory Theatre will present a virtual Meet Me in St. Louis as part of their Performance on Screen series. Based on the beloved MGM musical and Martin and Ralph Blane, Irish Rep’s version is abridged from the 1989 Broadway musical, adapted and directed here by original Broadway cast member Charlotte Moore. The production will air at various showtimes Fri., Dec. 11-Sat., Jan. 2, 2021. Reservations are free but required for access, and a donation fo $25 per viewer is suggested.
To cap the upheaval of 2020, Breathe Solo, Inc., Outside In Theatre and _Outpost_13 present the premiere of Breathe, a live-streamed multimedia theatre event fusing live performance, cinema, performance art, and artistic swimming in a hybridized narrative that could only be born during these challenging times. Philicia Saunders writes and stars in this one-woman live show, directed by Roger Q Mason. It streams Fri., Dec. 11 at 5 p.m. PST; Sat., Dec. 12, at 3:30 p.m. PST; Sun., Dec. 13 at 2 p.m. PST; and Fri., Dec. 18 at 5 p.m. PST (encore presentation on YouTube with post-performance TalkBack). Tickets are $5-50.
Houston’s Main Street Theater will offer live, virtual staged readings of a pair of Jane Austen-themed holiday plays by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon. First is Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, a sequel to Pride and Prejudice in which nerdy middle sister Mary Bennet is the unlikely heroine, which will be live on Zoom Fri.-Sat., Dec. 11-12 at 7:30 p.m. CST, and Sun., Dec. 13 at 3 p.m. CST. Tickets are free but registration is required and donations are appreciated. Next is The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley, which unfolds at the same time as the servants below stairs at Pemberley find themselves in the midst of their own holiday scandal. These Zoom readings will run Fri.-Sat., Dec. 18-19 at 7:30 p.m. CST, and Sun., Dec. 20 at 3 p.m. CST. Tickets are free but registration is required and donations are appreciated.
Theatres and other cultural institutions are joining to present Taylor Mac’s Holiday Sauce…Pandemic!, a production of New York City’s Pomegranate Arts. A reimagining of Mac’s acclaimed holiday show, it comes on the heels of judy’s Holiday Sauce album, and was commissioned by the International Ibsen Festival, the Norwegian Ministry of Culture, and the National Theatre of Oslo, who present it with additional support from Artpark-Lewiston, N.Y., ASU Gammage at Arizona State University, Berliner Festspiele, Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, Curran San Francisco, FirstWorks/Brown Arts Initiative, the Guthrie Theater, the Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth, Live Arts Miami, OZ Arts Nashville, Park Avenue Armory, Seattle Theatre Group and On The Boards, Stanford Live at Stanford University, Teatros del Canal Madrid, TO Live, UtahPresents, and Wexner Center of the Arts at the Ohio State University. This “virtual vaudeville” with a full band and musical guests streams live on Sat., Dec. 12 at 2, 7, and 10 p.m. ET. Live tickets are $20; the show will also available to on demand on a pay-what-you-can basis, Sun., Dec. 13-Sat., Jan. 2, 2021.
Brooklyn’s Molière in the Park is offering a livestream of Christina Anderson’s Pen/Man/Ship, a telling parable about violence, betrayal, faith, and freedom. Directed by Lucie Tiberghien, the play is co-presented with FIAF, in partnership with the Prospect Park Alliance, LeFrak Center at Lakeside. It’s live on Sat., Dec. 12 at 2 & 7 p.m. EST; free reservations can be made here. A recording of the live stream will be made available until Mon., Jan. 4 on MIP’s YouTube channel.
Play-PerView keeps up its high standard of virtual theatre with a stream of Mike Bartlett’s Cock, which reunites the Off-Broadway company of this comic battle of sexuality and identity: Jason Butler Harner, Amanda Quaid, and Cory Michael Smith, as well as director James Macdonald. Sat., Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. ET.; it will be available on demand through Wed., Dec. 16. This reading will benefit World Central Kitchen. Tickets range $5-50.
University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) in Winston-Salem, N.C. will premiere a new Nutcracker reimagined for film. Leveraging the institution’s position as a conservatory with five nationally recognized arts schools, Tchaikovsky’s classic has been adapted through the imagination and expertise of the Schools of Dance, Design & Production, Filmmaking, and Music. Interim Dean of Dance Jared Redick directs with faculty member Ilya Kozadayev, who created new choreography. The world premiere will be offered as a virtual Opening Night Scholarship Benefit, including live interaction with cast and creators, on Sat., Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m. ET. Tickets for the live event are $60 and $150, though it will also be streamed on demand for free beginning Thurs., Dec. 17.
A “what if” scenario about the rise of authoritarianism around the world is the subject of Ivam Cabral and Rodolfo García Vázquez’s cautionary one-hour virtual play The Art of Facing Fear, which will be presented by international partners in Los Angeles (Company of Angels, Rob Lecrone), Brazil (Os Saytros), and Sweden (Darling Desperados). This is a mid-winter encore for the play, which had acclaimed earlier this year, to acclaim: It won Best Production and Best Ensemble at the Good The@tre Festival in Kolkota, India. Live performances are Sat.-Sun., Dec. 12-13 & Dec. 19-20 at 6 p.m. PST. Tickets are on a sliding scale starting at $2.
Metro Theater Company in St. Louis, Missouri will present the star-studded A Christmas Carol: A St. Louis Virtual Holiday Reading as a way to keep families and the community connected. Award-winning actors/producers Sterling K. Brown and Ryan Michelle Bathé join Ellie Kemper, Judith Ivey, and Ken Page, along with more than 25 outstanding St. Louisans in a lineup that spans celebrities, artists, and athletes to first responders, media personalities, and local leaders in literature. The running time is 60 minutes, and it’s recommended for ages 6 and up, and it’s free to view (though donations are joyfully accepted). It goes up Sun., Dec. 13 at 2:30 p.m. CST.
American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass., where the Alanis Morissette musical Jagged Little Pill was developed and premiered, is among the theatres presenting Jagged Live in NYC. For the first time in nearly 10 months, the Broadway cast will reunite for a live concert directed by Diane Paulus to perform selections from the most Tony-nominated show of the year. That’s on Sun., Dec. 13 at 8 p.m. ET. Tickets are $27, with a portion going to support ART.
Northlight Theatre in Skokie, Ill., is offering an Interplay reading of Mercy, written by Felicia Oduh and directed by Harry Lennix. In this new drama, one man struggles to reclaim the life he lost, while his family attempts to heal an age-old fracture. The virtual reading of Mercy will be presented via livestream on Sun., Dec. 13 at 6:30 CST, followed by a live Q&A with the playwright and director. A recording will be available for 96 hours following the premiere. This event is free with a suggested donation, but registration is required to receive a viewing link.
New York City’s Theater in Quarantine, a pandemic performance lab from writer, director, and performer Joshua William Gelb and choreographer Katie Rose McLaughlin, is offering the world premiere of I Am Sending You the Sacred Face by Obie-winning songwriter Heather Christian. This one-act musical charts the spiritual journey of nun and missionary Mother Teresa. Free livestreamed performances, performed in drag by Gelb from his 2x4x8 East Village closet, will be offered on YouTube Mon., Dec. 14 at 7 & 9 p.m. ET; Wed., Dec. 16 at 9 p.m. ET; and Thurs., Dec. 17 at 9 p.m. ET. Presented in partnership with Theater Mitu’s Expansion Works, it’s free to view but donations are welcome.
Cleveland Public Theatre presents Masrah Cleveland Al-Arabi’s play Dream of Home حلم وطن, followed by a community conversation on Wed., Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. ET. Masrah Cleveland Al-Arabi is an ensemble of Ohio artists who create work by, for, and with Arabic-speaking communities, and Dream of Home was their inaugural production in 2018. Tickets start at $1 but a more generous donation is encouraged.
New York Theatre Workshop will host a one-night-only holiday variety show titled Holiday Follies on Wed., Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. ET, featuring festive holiday classics, dance (both nice and naughty), and assorted fun to bring folks together for some laughs this season. Among the featured performers will be Annaleigh Ashford, Nabiyah Be, Brandy Clark, Marshall L. Davis Jr., Jake Dupree, Bridget Everett, Lisa Stephen Friday, Addalie Burns & Luke Hawkins, Daniel & Patrick Lazour, Gian Perez, Martha Redbone & Aaron Whitby, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Adrian Stevens & Sean Snyder, Michael Urie, Bruce Vilanch, More Zmin, Michael Cerveris & Loose Cattle, Kinder HSPVA’s Mariachi Los Pasajeros, and more. The evening is scripted by NYTW Tow Playwright-in-Residence and 2020/21 Artistic Instigator Victor I. Cazares, and directed by Kevin Cahoon. Tickets are $10.
Sarasota’s Asolo Repertory Theatre presents the premiere of We Need a Little Christmas, a holiday concert under the stars at the theatre’s newly constructed Terrace Stage, an open-air venue in front of its box office. Conceived by and co-directed by Asolo Rep producing artistic director Michael Donald Edwards and associate artistic director Celine Rosenthal, and music directed by Tony nominee Steve Orich, it’s billed as “a little bit camp, a little bit sentimental, a whole lot of fun.” It runs at various showtimes Thurs., Dec. 17-Sun., Jan. 3, 2021. Tickets start at $25 and are available at www.asolorep.org.
Los Angeles-based company Rogue Artists Ensemble presents Storage Run, a new, interactive holiday experience in which viewers help Mike, who seems to be trapped in a tangled web of Rogue storage. Part One of the adventure will be available on Fri., Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. PT; Part Two will release on Fri., Dec. 25 at 7 p.m. PT; and Part Three will post on Fri., Jan. 1 at 7 p.m. PT. Once introduced, all three episodes will remain available through Jan. 31, 2021. Tickets are pay-what-you-can, with a suggested price of $20.
The San Francisco Playhouse will debut an on-demand stream of Jason Robert Brown’s path-breaking anthology Songs for a New World, created using a combination of actors’ solo recordings, layered and mixed over lip-synced performances to obey COVID protocols and avoid the safety concerns of singing in groups. It streams Sat., Dec. 12-Thurs., Dec. 31. Tickets range $15-100.
This year South Coast Rep in Costa Mesa, Calif., will forgo its beloved annual stage production of A Christmas Carol for a new audio version of John Glore’s adaptation, starring SCR founding artist Richard Doyle (who, last time I saw the show onstage, appeared in a number of roles, including the Ghost of Christmas Past). Directed by Hisa Takakuwa, it’s free to stream Tues., Dec. 15-Thurs., Dec. 31.
NYC’s Chain Theatre is offering Miracle on 34th Street, Radio Play!, adapted and directed by Greg Cicchino and featuring special appearances by NY City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and NY State Senator Jose Serrano. It streams Fri., Dec. 18-Mon., Dec. 21. Tickets are $11.
Los Angeles-based IAMA Theatre Company presents the virtual premiere of Making Friends, a “gaytastic” solo play written and performed by Tom DeTrinis, whom a press release describes as “a quick-witted rage-aholic who just wants to be your friend.” Filmed live by IAMA at L.A.’s Pico Playhouse, the show streams on demand Thurs., Dec. 17-Mon., Jan. 11. Tickets start at $15 and will be sold in weekly blocks that include access to a variety of supporting live events.
Dickens’s popular classic has revolutionary class-war themes just waiting to be drawn out, and the artists of San Francisco Mime Troupe are obviously the folks to do it. Their “activist adaptation,” A Red Carol, written and directed as a radio play by Michael Gene Sullivan, updates it as a story “not of the redemption of one bad man but as the never-ending story of all of us making the world a more progressive place.” Sounds festive! It’s available for your ears starting today, Fri., Dec. 11, and through Jan. 17, 2021. It’s free but there’s a suggested $20 donation.
Juneau, Ak.’s Perseverance Theatre isn’t just adapting Dickens’s text with a rendition of Vera Starbard’s A Tlingit Christmas Carol, directed by Madeline Sayet. The theatre is also “staging” it in an innovative way that harkens back to the serialization of Dickens’s age, doling out “staves” or chapters for viewing on demand. The first one came out on Nov. 27, and there’s been one every Friday since, with the final one planned for Christmas morning, Fri., Dec. 25. All staves are free and viewable here on demand, and will stay up online here through Russian Orthodox Christmas on Thurs., Jan. 7, 2021.
Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre is now offering Knock, Knock: The Sounds of Winter, a streaming episodic adventure for kids aged five and under as a part of the theatre’s Kathy and Ken Bernhardt Theatre for the Very Young series. Youngsters will visit friends in an apartment as they prepare for winter in this interactive experience tailored just for their minds. Episodes are released on Tuesdays throughout the month of December, and all will be available until Sun., Jan. 31, 2021. The four-episode series is available for $10 or as a part of a TVY series package.
New York City’s Rattlestick Playwrights Theater is offering the world premiere of MTA Radio Plays, a series of 3- to 10-minute audio dramas created to honor and celebrate the people who keep New York City running. Conceived and curated by playwright Ren Dara Santiago, the project features the work of 17 playwrights, with each episode inspired by a stop along the MTA’s 2 train line. Directed by Natyna Bean, the first three episodes debut on Mon., Dec. 14. Tickets to the complete series are $15.
Gulfshore Playhouse in Naples, Fla., will kick off its (virtual) 2020-21 season with Higher, a new one-man show inspired by the time its author/performer, Jeffrey Binder, visited Prague in the late 1990s. In it he interweaves the story of his visit to the Czech Republic with his father’s cancer diagnosis and the story of a master architect building a historic cathedral during the 1400s. A filmed production, it will be available for viewing Tues., Dec. 15-Fri., Jan. 15, 2021. Tickets are $50.
The Play On Shakespeare project continues its translation project with Much Ado About Nothing, translated into contemporary English by Ranjit Bolt, in a public reading by the U.K.’s 1623 Theatre Company. Directed by Ben Spiller, the reading will be available to stream here Mon., Dec. 14-Thurs., Dec. 31.
Oregon’s Portland Center Stage is streaming The Bells That Still Can Ring, a newly devised holiday show that celebrates grace, joy, and love through a series of unexpected vignettes that hold space for the heartache of this difficult year. Available on demand Tues., Dec. 15-Sun., Jan. 3, 2021. Pay-what-you-will tickets start at $5.
NYU Skirball will co-present the digital tour of Daniel Jamieson’s The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, a play with music and dance directed by Emma Rice, streaming beginning on Fri., Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m. ET through Fri., Dec. 18. It is performed at the Bristol Old Vic, the actors and creative team having formed a social bubble ahead of the run. Closed-captioned and audio described videos will be available on demand. Tickets are $20.
If you missed Theater Latté Da’s award-winning docu-musical All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 when it aired at Thanksgiving, you can catch it on demand beginning Tues., Dec. 15 at pbs.org and the PBS Video app. Retelling the true WWII story of a German soldier stepping into No Man’s Land to sing “Stille Nacht,” leading to a respite from the killing among the Allied and German sides.
This isn’t quite theatre but in the holiday spirit, we’ll allow it: The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis in Missouri celebrates the season with Cooking, Carols, and Cocktails, a four-episode web series showcasing food, music, and community. Tour some of St. Louis’ most delectable restaurants; take a cooking class to perfect your paella and seafood jambalaya (or even that mysterious St. Louis staple, gooey butter cake); toss in a coordinating cocktail and experience the best music the Lou has to offer, from high-energy funk to dynamic jazz to soaring pop to world music, all from the comfort of your home. New episodes drop each week Fri., Dec. 11-Fri., Jan. 1, 2021. Tickets are $15 per episode or $50 for the 4-show series.
A cohort of U.S. resident theatres, including Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, Orlando Repertory Theatre, and South Coast Repertory have teamed with Broadway on Demand to offer seven winning plays titled #ENOUGH: Plays to End Gun Violence, winners of a national short-play competition for middle and high school students in collaboration with fellow theatre partners. The streaming event is free and will be available Mon., Dec. 14-Sun., Dec. 20.
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