Theater to see Thanksgiving Weekend 2020

The Christmas Carols have begun — new innovative versions — and there’s plenty of other theater on which to spend your time this weekend. Some of it even has nothing to do with the holiday season.

Launched on Thursday but still available

See videos of all four Broadway performances, plus the floats, in the 94th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.

Nurse Heroes Live!

An all-star Thanksgiving concert benefiting the Nurse Heroes Foundation; the proceeds will be used for everything from purchasing stethoscopes and nurses uniforms to providing scholarships for nurses and their children. Performers include Black Eyed Peas, Andrea Bocelli, Céline Dion, Gloria Estefan, Emily Estefan, David Foster, Katharine McPhee Foster, Josh Groban, Carole King, Maluma, Leslie Odom Jr, Pitbull, Allen Stone, The Wailers and Stevie Wonder

It’s a Wonderful Life
Mile Square Theater
Available on demand through December 27
A live radio play by Joe Landry, directed by Kevin R. Free, based on the screenplay of Frank Capra’s beloved 1946 play starring Jimmy Stewart as a man who gets to see how much he matters. Audio description and closed captions are available.

Friday, November 27

An American in Paris
The Shows Must Go On
2 p.m. ET available for 48 hours
A recording of the beautifully choreographed, gorgeously designed Broadway adaptation of the 1951 Gershwin movie musical starring Robbie Fairchild as a GI in post-war Paris and Leanne Cope as the Parisian woman with whom he falls in love. (My rapturous review of the Broadway show in 2015.)

Death of England: Delroy
National Theatre
2 p.m. ET available for 24 hours
The National Theatre returns to streaming recordings of its stage productions for free on its YouTube channel, except just for one blessed day. This solo play by Clint Dyer and Roy Williams stars Michael Balogun as a working class Black man in Great Britain on the day his child is born.

Estella Scrooge
$25 for three-day rental
The holiday season’s first (but NOT the last) new twist of A Christmas Carol, with Betsy Wolfe playing Ebenezer’s descendant, a Wall Street predator, and a cast that includes Broadway pros Danny Burstein, Carolee Carmello, Lauren Patten and Patrick Page, filmed during the socially distanced pandemic period using all sorts of tech tricks.

The Wolves
Philadelphia Theater Company
48 hour rental through December 20
The recording of a revival of Sarah DeLappe’s play about the world of teenage girls through the experience of nine of them in a competitive high school soccer team. (My review of The Wolves Off-Broadway.)

photo from the 2017 stage show of Inside The Wild Heart

Inside the Wild Heart
Group .BR
7 p.m. through December 20
A daring virtual adaptation of the Brazilian-American theater company’s immersive piece about the famed late Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector. I saw this in 2017 when the company staged it in an converted warehouse in Williamsburg renamed the Immersive Gallery.  It was so immersive that I used it as one of my examples in my essay about the six elements of immersive theater. It even offered something called the Scent-O-Scope. So I’m curious how they pull off a digital version.

Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor
Metropolitan Opera
7:30 available for 23 hours
Lucia is driven mad because she cannot marry the man she loves. Starring Natalie Dessay, Joseph Calleja, Ludovic Tézier, and Kwangchul Youn, conducted by Patrick Summers. From March 19, 2011.

Treasure Island
8 p.m.
An hour-long audio play starring Rob McClure (the future Mrs. Doubtfire) a Long John Silver

Best in Shows
Stars in the House 8 p.m.
Broadway stars with their pets. (Not theater exactly, but irresistible.)

Lea Salonga in Concert
PBS’s Great Performances
9 p.m. available through December 25
The Broadway and concert star sings from Miss Saigon, Les Miserables and Aladdin.

Saturday, November 28

Aunt Betsy’s Thanksgiving and The Downfall of Justice
Metropolitan Playhouse
8 p.m. available through December 2
A double bill of long-ago Thanksgiving plays, resurrected. 1. It is 1914, and the destitute Aunt Betsy and her granddaughter discover just before Thanksgiving that the property they have called home for 15 years has been sold. The white family that owns the land sends a contrite lawyer to explain, but there is one secret that may turn the tide. 2. In the Colonial satire, a well-off farmer and his family gather for Thanksgiving meal. They have just come from a chastening sermon–clearly one that has fallen on deaf ears as they struggle to remember the words and disregard the message. The only member of the household who understands and speaks up is the enslaved Jack, whose observations are not well received.

Wagner’s Die Walküre
Metropolitan Opera
7:30 available for 23 hours
Starring Christine Goerke, Eva-Maria Westbroek, Jamie Barton, Stuart Skelton, Greer Grimsley, and Günther Groissböck, conducted by Philippe Jordan. From March 30, 2019.

A Christmas Carol
TDF and other theaters/theater orgs
9 p.m. available through January 3
Jefferson Mays, well-known quick-change chameleon theater artist (I Am My Own Wife; A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder) plays 50 characters in this new production directed by Michael Arden, filmed at New York’s United Palace based on the 2018 world premiere at Los Angeles’ Geffen Playhouse, which is a fundraiser for partner theaters and theater organizations (such as TDF) across the country.

Sunday, November 29

The Thompsons
Playing on Air
Andrew Massey’s audio play is a comedy about a family with bizarre Thanksgiving rituals.

Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra
Metropolitan Opera
7:30 available for 23 hours
Starring Kiri Te Kanawa, Plácido Domingo, Vladimir Chernov, and Robert Lloyd, conducted by James Levine. From January 26, 1995.

Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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