Theater to Stream: Concert Sets and Reimagined Classics

Streaming music was difficult in the beginning of the pandemic. Zoom delays made it tough to sync singers and accompanists, but workarounds have since appeared, sometimes involving some prerecording, that allow for theatrical flair.

Among the most popular musical theater programming has been Seth Rudetsky’s “The Seth Concert Series,” which can be relied on for a canny, entertaining mix of performances and chitchat.

Up on May 30 is George Salazar, who has something many performers spend a career chasing: a signature number, “Michael in the Bathroom,” from the musical “Be More Chill.” As for Alex Newell (June 6), he is the rare crossover between Broadway and dance clubs. Newell brought down the roof with “Mama Will Provide” in the Tony Award-winning revival of “Once on This Island,” but you can just as often hear him booming out of discos around the world on great tracks like DJ Cassidy’s “Kill the Lights.”

Ali Stroker first pinged on New York’s radar in the 2015 revival of “Spring Awakening,” then confirmed her gifts with a Tony-winning turn as Ado Annie in Daniel Fish’s production of “Oklahoma!” It won’t be a huge surprise if “I Cain’t Say No” turns up in Stroker’s fund-raising concert for the Philadelphia Theater Company, where she once played Olive in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” Rumor has it that the set list will also include a certain Goffin-King classic and an excerpt from “Grease.” May 26;

Another concert, by Jane Krakowski for the Roundabout Theater Company’s 2021 gala, features guest stars including Tituss Burgess and the New York Pops. The event will be both live in Central Park and streaming — a sign of hybrids to come? June 7;

It’ll be a while before international companies can travel easily again. In the meantime, New York Theater Salon and the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater are presenting a free, globe-spanning festival featuring works by immigrant artists and troupes based outside the United States, as well as events that provide opportunities for worldwide exchanges and discussions. June 1-9;

Shakespeare’s Globe is bringing back physical performances of Sean Holmes’s production of this wackiest of comedies, and the good news is that a couple of them will be livestreamed, with the first one in June. Make sure to take note of time zone differences; being too late or too early by several hours rather than a few minutes is the new normal in theater. June 5;

LaGuardia High School is usually introduced as the inspiration for the 1980 movie “Fame,” but younger generations might favor more up-to-date references: The New York City arts school’s many alumni include Awkwafina and Ansel Elgort. This year, LaGuardia is taking its “Rising Stars” variety showcase online; so now you can try to spot the next Timothée Chalamet. Premiering June 4;

Virtual theater, as we have seen during the past year, makes access to the stage financially and physically easier. It’s an evolution that is particularly relevant, and perhaps game-changing, for companies like Theater Breaking Through Barriers, which focuses on writers, performers and audiences with disabilities. The latest “Playmakers’ Intensive” festival features 14 new short pieces. May 31-June 13;

The Latino Theater Company presents Cara Mía Theater’s production of Frida Espinosa-Müller’s powerful, emotional solo play about Nadia, a 7-year-old Honduran girl separated from her family at the Mexico-United States border. (The title refers to a detention center in McAllen, Texas.) Performing in English and Spanish, both subtitled, Espinosa-Müller brings to life a tale ripped, all too tragically, from the headlines. Through June 6;

Heather Christian is among the young writers and performers upending musical theater with hard-to-pin-down works. A good opportunity to catch up is a film adaptation by Woolly Mammoth and American Conservatory Theater of Christian’s “Animal Wisdom,” which mines a “rhapsodic musical style of cosmic gospel” and played at that wonderful incubator the Bushwick Starr in 2017. Through June 13;

The pop band Sky-Pony has slightly more straightforward theatrical roots: the core members Lauren Worsham was in “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” and her husband, Kyle Jarrow, wrote the book for “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical” (some of us are not-so-patiently waiting for a revival of Jarrow’s “A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant”). Now they are reimagining their 2016 show, “The Wildness,” for streaming. May 26;

In Eleanor Burgess’s two-hander “The Niceties,” a white university professor and a Black student start discussing opinion and sources in an academic paper — then their exchange spins out of control, building toward a chilly ending. Lisa Banes and Jordan Boatman reprise their roles from the Manhattan Theater Club 2018 production for this streaming version. May 27-June 13;

Among the most striking offerings in Paula Vogel’s Bard at the Gate series, which is dedicated to undersung plays, was a reading of Eisa Davis’s unabashedly lyrical 2007 Pulitzer Prize finalist “Bulrusher.” Luckily, those who missed last year’s short run, which Davis directed, have a second chance with this stream, thanks to Bard at the Gate’s new partnership with the McCarter Theater Center in Princeton, N.J. Kara Young stars as the title character, a teenage clairvoyant in 1950s California; the superlative cast also includes André Holland and Corey Stoll. June 3-9;

You may think you know your classics, but chances are that these radical versions will scramble your brain. That’s how they roll in German theater. This week’s offerings include subtitled interpretations of a pair of texts by two major Berlin companies. Eugene O’Neill was inspired by Greek tragedy for “Mourning Becomes Electra,” which has been taken up by the Volksbühne Berlin (May 27; And at the experimental Maxim Gorki Theater, “Hamlet” is framed as a movie directed by Horatio. (May 28;

Conor McPherson’s adaptation of “Uncle Vanya,” directed by Ian Rickson and part of the PBS series “Great Performances,” is a retreat to more familiar ground. Toby Jones stars in the title role, and Richard Armitage is Astrov. Neither of them will, say, launch into techno or strip naked while hanging upside down. Vive la différence! May 7-June 4;


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