Theater Openings This Week: Under the Radar, David Bowie’s Musical

Below is a selection of theater openings this week, the beginning of a month that is usually jam packed with theater festivals. Three of them are active this time around,  pared down,  virtual, starting this week (and  free): The Public Theater’s 17th annual Under the Radar festival and the fifth annual Exponential Festival, as well as the ninth annual Prototype Festival.  “Lazarus,” the musical that David Bowie wrote before he died, is available for three days, in a filmed production from London. This week’s theme at the Metropolitan Opera House is epic rivalries.

Still Streaming

The Mint Theater’s Days to Come through February 21 (My review)

Circle Jerk  through January 17

Estella Scrooge: A Christmas Carol with a Twist  (My review)

Monday, January 4

Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur
Metropolitan Opera
7:30 p.m. available for 23 hours
An 18th-century Parisian stage actress who falls headlong for the impecunious Count of Saxony and is consequently poisoned by a bouquet of faded violets sent by her romantic rival, the scheming Princess oouillon. Anna Netrebko stars

Tuesday, January 5

Rossini’s La Donna del Lago
Metropolitan Opera
7:30 p.m. available for 23 hours
An operatic retelling of Sir Walter Scott’s shadowy epic of clan warfare in 16th-century Scotland, with a classic love triangle at its center

Wednesday, January 6

Under the Radar
7 p.m., streaming through January 17
A kaleidoscopic reflection on isolation and longing, about breaking apart and breaking free and the impossible nature of connection. Through original text and music, Whitney White and Peter Mark Kendall grapple with race, the medium of film, and being caught up in the maelstrom of 2020.

Under the Radar
7 p.m. streaming through January 17
A journey through diverse stories that happen during the night of an unknown city, that involve anonymous individuals marked by the spiritual crisis unleashed by the wild consumerism of the times and the lack of answers that transcend money. In Spanish with English subtitles, by the Chilean company Teatro Anónimo written and directed by Trinidad González

©Chloé Bellemère

Under the Radar
7 p.m. streaming through January 17
A 30-minute video of eight digital shorts.

Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles
Metropolitan Opera
7:30 p.m. available for 23 hours
Two fisherman friends lock horns over a demure yet vocally powerful priestess of Brahma—who is herself torn between piety and her own powerful desires.

Thursday, January 7

Borders & Crossings
Under the Radar
5 p.m. Streaming through January 10
A solo show by poet and performer Inua Ellams, who was born to a Muslim father and a Christian mother against a backdrop of sectarian violence in Nigeria, left for England in 1996 aged 12, moved to Ireland for three years, before returning to London.

Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran
Under the Radar
6:30 p.m. streaming on selective dates through January 17
A darkly comedic play about entitlement, consumption and digital technology, that explores the ubiquitous feeling that our societies are falling apart. The 60-minute show written by Javaad Alipoor. combines digital theater with a live Instagram feed



Bellini’s I Puritani
Metropolitan Opera
7:30 p.m. available for 23 hours
A saga of star-crossed love and family drama set against the strife of the 17th-century English Civil War.

Under the Radar
8:30 p.m. and various dates through January 17
In this live in-Zoom event written by Tara Ahmadinejad and created by Piehole , Chef Nargis invites you to her virtual cooking class, and if you both do your jobs just right, you’ll have more to look forward to than an aromatic dinner. Help prevent a perpetually impending war from the safety of your home

Theater in Quarantine
Exponential Festival
9 p.m.

There is not much description here (or in most of the Exponential Festival offerings this year) but Joshua Gelb and KatieRose McLaughlin’s productions from Gelb’s closet have gained some renown (Here’s my review of I Am Sending You The Sacred Face, a musical in drag about Mother Teresa)

Friday, January 8

Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci
Metropolitan Opera
7:30 p.m. available for 23 hours
In Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana, a lay-about villager leaves the girl he’s impregnated for another man’s wife. And in Pagliacci, a tortured clown plots against his beautiful young wife, whom he suspects of carrying on with a younger man.

the motown project
Under the Radar
8 p.m.
Alicia Hall Moran’s musical meditation on the Motown songbook –

On View WFH
Exponential Theater Festival
8 p.m.
An installation that gives a literal window into Sunny Hitt’s work-from-home experience as a choreographer, movement director, and performer.

Prototype Festival at HERE
8 p.m. through January 16
Digital, self-guided exploration of our new abnormal created by 13 contemporary composers. Tickets are free but required;


9 p.m. available each night through January 10
The startling 2015 musical, featuring 18 songs written by David Bowie (four of them new), a production directed by Ivo van Hove that’s a sensory stimulation chamber, and a plot that might as well be from a different planet, with the same cast as the New York production — Michael C. Hall and Sophia Anne Caruso — but filmed in London. The musical is a sequel of sorts to The Man Who Fell to Earth,the trippy 1976 film – based on the 1963 science fiction novel by Walter Tervis — in which Bowie starred as Thomas Newton, an extraterrestrial who comes to Earth to ship back water to his home planet.

Saturday, January 9

Times³ (Times x Times x Times),
Prototype Festival at HERE
10 a.m. through January 16
A sonic journey through Times Square past, present and imagined. Tickets are free but registration required

Swingin’ the Dream

Theatre for a New Audience and RSC
2 p.m.
A live concert of a work in progress that explores the backstage story of an actual 1939 musical which  adapted A Midsummer Night’s Dream with a jazz score, debuting on Broadway with an amazing cast: Louis Armstrong, Butterfly McQueen and Dorothy Dandridge! The concert features some of the original songs by Count Basie, Benny Goodman and Jimmy Van Heusen. Register in advance to receive the free viewing link.

Etta and Ella on the Upper West Side
Roundhouse Theater
7 p.m.
The fourth and final play by Adrienne Kennedy in this festival: Etta and Ella Harrison are astoundingly gifted scholars, deeply connected sisters, and dangerously bitter rivals on the verge of destroying one another.

Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda
Metropolitan Opera
7:30 p.m. available for 23 hours
Two queens—Mary, Queen of Scots, and her jealous cousin, Queen Elizabeth I— are both vying for the English crown.

Virtual Queerality Live
Exponential Festival
9 p.m.
A queer utopia created by Teresa Braun that features audio stories from drag performers and gender non-conforming folx.

A Blueish Fever Dream
Exponential Festival
9:30 p.m.
“I started making nature in my room.” Kennie Zhou

¿comfortidades’ 錢意識?
Exponential Festival
10 p.m.
Are comfort and commodities meant to soften us into compliance or restore us to keep standing up against the injustices of the world? Created by Tina Wang.

Sunday, January 10

The Murder of Halit Yozgat

Prototype Festival at HERE
noon.Available through January 16
the real-life 2006 slaying of a 21-year-old immigrant in Germany.

A Planet A Lament
Prototype Festival at HERE
noon. Available through January 16
Garin Nugroho’s brand new staged Song Cycle, The Planet – A Lament, merges film with live dance and a 14-voice choir accompanied by Papuan Soloist to impart a moving story of creation set against the backdrop of environmental disaster.

Wide Slumber for Lepidopterists
Prototype Festival at HERE
noon. Available through January 16
inspired by a.rawlings’ book of the same name exploring sleeping, dreaming and butterflies.


Look Out Shithead
Exponential Festival
5 p.m.
A love story inspired by the films of Éric Rohmer. A vampire-novelist weaves her web of intrigue around a company of mismatched lovers, occultists, and under-cover special agents.

Verdi’s Il Trovatore
Metropolitan Opera
7:30 p.m. available for 23 hour
Four characters are caught in a web of family ties, politics, and love

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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