Theater Openings This Week: 1st Irish festival. Renee Fleming Week at the Met

Below are the listings this week of the 13th annual Origin 1st Irish Theater Festival, and an original play for Red Hook on the first  African-American theater company in NYC; a reunion reading of a play starring Marin Ireland and an entire week at the Metropolitan Opera starring Renee Fleming. Some great theater artists read from their non-theater readings.


Still Streaming

 Prototype Festival (my review of Times3)

Under the Radar Festival  (my reviews of Capsule, Espiritu, and Incoming_)

Exponential Festival (my reviews of Virtual Queerality. A Blueish Fever Dream. ¿comfortidades’ 錢意識?

Monday, January 11

Closet Works
Theater in Quarantine
 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Joshua William Gelb returns with theater in his East Village apartment closet, this time with Karen Olivo, Erin Ortman, and Johnny Lloyd

Anna Deavere Smith
Live at the Lortel
7 p.m.
An interview with the protean theater maker of such documentary theater as “Fire in the Mirrors.”


The African Company Presents Richard III
Red Bull Theater
7:30 p.m.available until January 15
Carlyle Brown’s play is based on a true story that took place in 1821 New York City, when a rival white theater impresario used legal and extra-legal methods to shut down a successful Black theater company.

Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro
Metropolitan Opera
7:30 pm available for 23 hours
Constructed around an upstairs-downstairs narrative, it makes ingenious dramatic use of tangled love interests, interwoven deceptions, and slapstick farce,

Fragments, Lists and Lacunae
New York Live Arts
7:30 p.m.
A replay of Alexandra Chasin and Zishan Ugurlu’s piece, which focuses on three students taking a college course about gaps, holes, white space, and blanks—course content ranges from Mad Libs to the 18-minute gap in Nixon’s White House tapes

Origin Theater Company
8 p.m.
In this opening play from the 1st Irish theater festival, Eva O’ Connor’s one-woman play about heartbreak, madness and how condiments are the ultimate coping mechanism.

Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show
8 p.m.

Tuesday January 12

The Gifts You Gave To The Dark
Irish Rep
3 p.m.
Darren Murphy’s play, part of the 1st Irish theater festival, was written during COVID-19 for digital media: Confined to his bed in Belfast, Tom is unable to visit his mother, Rose, who is dying in Dublin. In this last phone Tom tells his mother the story of a journey – an image of a perfect day they once shared.

Close Encounters
New York Live Arts
6 p.m.
A replay of an evening of excerpts from five experimental works — e.g. Vanessa Anspaugh’s Aggression Confession Processions, “a multidimensional project consisting of an outdoor audience-based funeral procession, an experimental film, and an evening-length dance theater piece….”

Massenet’s Thaïs
Metropolitan Opera
7:30 pm available for 23 hours
The devotion of an ascetic monk who has dedicated his life to God is tested against the allure of the world’s most voluptuous, seductive courtesan.

New York Live Arts
7:30 p.m.
A replay of Raja Feather Kelly’s 40-minute work in which he resituates himself as a glamourous, extraterrestrial entity, all in pink.

The Scourge
Wexfield Arts Center
8 p.m.
Part of the 1st Irish festival, this play written and performed by Michelle Dooley Mahon recalls what it took an ordinary Irish small-town family to deal with her mother’s Alzheimer’s.

The Fundamental Kiss, with Overtones
Place/Settings: Berkeley at Berkeley Rep
8:30 p.m. ET
The first of ten episodes (released every Monday) that will take us on an aural adventure to specific locations around Berkeley, this play by Eisa Davis features a young oboist kissing a pianist on a street corner. At long last! But the kiss unlocks pressures, expectations, dreams, and fears. Can we learn to live with uncertainty? To ask for what we need? $10 for all 10 episodes.

Wednesday January 13

Myths and Hymns: Chapter 1 Flight
Master Voices
Adam Guettel’s 1998 theatrical song cycle in four chapters (Flight, January 13, Work February 24, Love April 14, and Faith May 26 is a kaleidoscopic collection of musical genres exploring the nature of faith and longing in a secular world. Performed by Anderson & Roe, Yazmany Arboleda, Julia Bullock, Sammi Cannold, Cloud Chatanda, Lear deBessonet, Khristian Dentley, Renée Fleming, Annie Golden, Joshua Henry, Capathia Jenkins, Steven Kellogg, Mykal Kilgore, Norm Lewis, Jose Llana, Lucy Mackinnon, Danny Mefford, Kelli O’Hara, Elizabeth Stanley, Take 6,

Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier
Metropolitan Opera
7:30 pm available for 23 hours
This drawing room comedy of an opera follows the sexual indiscretions and romantic entanglements of several aristocratic characters


Thursday January 14

Under the Albert Clock
The Lyric Theater
3 p.m.
As part of the 1st Irish festival, these Five radio plays were commissioned from five of Northern Ireland’s most dynamic female playwrights, who wrote monologues for women inspired by Belfast’s iconic landmark, the Albert Clock and to imagine their stories taking place in the year 2050.

Rossini’s Armida
Metropolitan Opera
7:30 pm available for 23 hours
A Crusades-era Damascene sorceress who uses her overpowering beauty to further her ambitious plans is not immune to the mysterious magic of love


Turning the Page
8 p.m.
Lincoln Center Theater
Theater artists will read from their non-theatrical works. David Adjmi will read from his memoir “Lot Six: A Memoir;” Ayaad Akhtar from his critically-acclaimed “Homeland Elegies: A Novel;” Sara Ruhl from her book of poetry “44 Poems for You;” Jame Lapine from his upcoming “Putting It Together – How Stephen Sondheim and I Created Sunday in the Park with George;” Jack O’Brien from his soon-to-be-published memoir “Jack in the Box, or How to Goddam Direct;” and Andrew Rannells from his collection of essays published under the title “Too Much Is Not Enough: A Memoir of Fumbling Toward Adulthood.”


Friday January 15

Transatlantic Tales
3 p.m.
A series of eight original plays written to be performed live on Zoom, part of the 1st Irish Festival.

Blue Ridge
7 p.m. available through January 19
A reunion reading of the play by Abby Rosebrock, featuring Marin Ireland as a progressive high school teacher with a rage problem retaliates against her unscrupulous boss and is sentenced to six months at a church-sponsored halfway house, where she attends to everyone’s recovery but her own. Directed by Taibi Magar (My review of the original Off-Broadway production)

Strauss’s Capriccio
Metropolitan Opera
7:30 pm available for 23 hours

Subtitled “a conversation piece for music,” Strauss’s final opera is a philosophical drawing-room dramedy about a French countess torn between the elemental forces of music and verse—exuberantly personified by a composer and a poet who jockey for her affection.


In Concert at the Hollywood Bowl: Musicals and Movies
9 p.m.
Past performances celebrating classic songs from musicals and movies, by Kristin Chenoweth singing “Over the Rainbow,” Audra McDonald”Moon River,” and Sutton Foster and on PBS’ website.

*A normal January offers a wealth of theater festival offerings, and little else. The festivals this year have been pared down and virtual (but also free!) So I’m going week by week this month, and updating this preview guide as more theater is announced.


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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