May 2021 Theater Openings, Final Week: Broadway Barks, the Platt Brothers, Andrew Lloyd Webber through the years.

Below is a day-by-day selection of theater* that is opening between May 23 and May 31, 2021 — from Broadway Barks to the National Memorial Concert, and much inbetween, such as Ben Platt and his two brothers, a tribute to Andrew Lloyd Webber, another to Ann Reinking, two appearances by Liz Calloway, a play that marries Chekhov with the Computer Age, theater about the New York City Democratic primary.

Sunday, May 23

Broadway Barks Across America
7 p.m.
Bernadette Peters’ 23rd annual star-studded and furry pet adoption event is virtual for the second year in a row. 

Side by Side
7 p.m.
A concert by sisters Liz Callway and Ann Hampton Callaway come together for a concert inspired by their 14-month pandemic separation

Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades
Metropolitan Opera
7:30 p.m. available 23 hours
Starring Galina Gorchakova, Elisabeth Söderström, Plácido Domingo, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, and Nikolai Putilin, conducted by Valery Gergiev. Production by Elijah Moshinsky. From April 15, 1999.

Guild Hall
8 p.m.
Works of art from Guild Hall’s Permanent Collection are streamed, accompanied by recitation of poems by such as F. Murray Abraham,  Joanna Gleason, Bill Irwin, Cherry Jones, Susan Lucci, Austin Pendleton, Tony Roberts, Mercedes Ruehl, Salman Rushdie, Chris Sarandon, 

Arlekin Players’Zero Gravity Theater Lab
8 p.m ET Live. Repeated Sundays through June 23
Inspired by Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard and drawing from recordings of Chekhov’s letters and dreams, this interactive online theater experience accesses the operating system behind both Chekhov’s computer and the world in which his characters live, searching for happiness.

Monday, May 24

Empathy Concert
4 p.m.
An hour of uplift, including songs sung by Broadway stars Diane Phelan, Max von Essen and Telly Leung

I Heart Dance 
5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
$100 live on the rooftop of the Empire Hotel, $50 to stream
This fundraiser for professional dancers features world premiere works by Emmy Award winning choreographer Joshua Bergasse, Artistic Director of Elisa Monte Dance, Tiffany Rea-Fisher, and Choreographer in Residence, David Fernandez and present celebrated repertory from Bob Fosse and Jerome Robbins. The evening will also honor the late Ann Reinking

Artists and Artists of Tomorrow
New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
5:30 p.m.
Featuring songs written by students of The NYU Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program.

“The Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber Years”
Broadway by the Year at Town Hall
7 p.m. Available through May 26
Max von Essen, Liz Callaway and Ethan Slater help celebrate Lloyd Webber’s music, with songs from such shows as Song & Dance, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Sunset Boulevard, Evita, The Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, Aspects of Love and CATS.

Massenet’s Thaïs
Metropolitan Opera
7:30 p.m. available 23 hours
Starring Renée Fleming, Michael Schade, and Thomas Hampson, conducted by Jesús López-Cobos. Production by John Cox. From December 20, 2008.

Tuesday, May 25

The Man Who Wanted to Fly
Irish Rep
7 p.m. Available through May 26
A documentary film about Bobby Coote, a bachelor farmer in his eighties from Cavan, who has had a lifelong dream to fly a plane. Enlisting the help of his neighbor Seán, the two set out to build their own field of dreams, cutting out a runway in Seán’s farm and even building a hangar in this small rural community.

Empress Mei Li Lotus Blossom 
Abingdon Theatre Company
7 p.m.
Written and directed by Christine Toy Johnson, the short film is about “Lo-An Li”, an ambitious Hong Kong film star looking to make her splash on Broadway. … When the playwright Billy Ellis’s assistant enters the picture, all assumptions are off.

Borodin’s Prince Igor
Metropolitan Opera
7:30 p.m. available 23 hours
Starring Oksana Dyka, Anita Rachvelishvili, Sergey Semishkur, Ildar Abdrazakov, Mikhail Petrenko, and Štefan Kocán, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. Production by Dmitri Tcherniakov. From March 1, 2014.

Ariana DeBose
Broadway at Tavern
8:30 p.m
A new concert series from Tavern on the Green

Wednesday, May 26

Myths and Hymns: Episode 4
6:30 p.m. available until June 30
The fourth and final chapter of Adam Guettel’s theatrical song cycle is about Faith, exploring the possibility of finding fulfillment through belief in something bigger. The shortest of the episodes at 20 minutes, it features some two dozen singers including Kelli O’Hara, Larry Owens, Jennifer Holliday and The Gospel Soul Children of New York.

The Loophole and The Bridge
New York Theatre Barn
7 p.m.
Excerpts from two musicals in development. 1. In 1864, Polly Danfield, a brilliant Black mapmaker who has never left her white father’s house, must choose between the life she’s known and love and revolution. 2. The love story that built the Brooklyn Bridge: When Emily Roebling’s husband falls mysteriously ill and is unable to continue as Chief Engineer, Emily must do the impossible: secretly take her husband’s place as Chief,

Rossini’s La Donna del Lago
Metropolitan Opera
7:30 p.m. available 23 hours
Starring Joyce DiDonato, Daniela Barcellona, Juan Diego Flórez, John Osborn, and Oren Gradus, conducted by Michele Mariotti. Production by Paul Curran. From March 14, 2015.

Marvin’s Room
The Reading Series
8 p.m.
Carmen Cusack,  Tonya Pinkins and Jack DiFalco (who was in the 2017 Broadway production) are featured in the cast for this live reading of the play by Scott McPherson about two sisters who reunite for the first time in 18 years.

The Platt Brothers
San Diego Jewish Arts Festival
10:30 p.m. ET, available through June 23
Tony Award-winner Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen) and his brothers Henry and Jonah sing solo and together, including Jewish melodies, and excerpts from Jonah’s new musical adaptation of The Giver.

Thursday, May 27

The Niceties
Noon. Available through June 13
Lisa Banes and Jordan Boatman reunite to star in this virtual production of a play by Eleanor Burgess about an ambitious young Black college student and her esteemed white professor, who meet over Skype to discuss a paper the college junior is writing about the American Revolution. Unfortunately, they find it hard to agree about the facts of the past – or the present. Discussions of grammar and Google turn to race and reputation, and soon they’re in dangerous territory neither of them had foreseen – and facing stunning implications that can’t be undone. Free. RSVP required.

Shostakovich’s The Nose
Metropolitan Opera
7:30 p.m. available 23 hours
Starring Andrey Popov, Alexander Lewis, and Paulo Szot, conducted by Pavel Smelkov. Production by William Kentridge. From October 26, 2013.

The Debates 2021
Theater in Asylum
8 p.m., also on May 28
The company that previously dramatized the debates of the last two Presidential compaings now turns its attention, via Zoom, to the New York City Democratic primaries, exploring the candidates for mayor, comptroller, and many city council seats through a blend of mimicry, abstraction, and song. 

Together Apart
The 24 Hour Plays
8:30 p.m. ET through May 30
Ten short musicals “about one life-changing year” written, composed, directed by and featuring Brown University alumni.

Fret Not
The Tank
9 p.m.
A streaming hour of music, comedy and musical comedy.

Friday, May 28

Ballet Hispánico’s 50th Celebration
6:30 p.m. Available for two weeks.
 Performances by the Ballet Hispánico Company and student artists at the School of Dance with premieres by Lauren Anderson, Ana “Rokafella” Garcia, and Belén Maya; performances of works by Graciela Daniele, Ann Reinking, Geoffrey Holder, Nacho Duato, Pedro Ruiz, and Gustavo Ramírez Sansano; and appearances by celebrity guests including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Luis Miranda, Rosie Perez, Lauren Anderson, Ben Rodriguez-Cubeñas, and Darren Walker. Free; registration required.

Giordano’s Fedora
Metropolitan Opera
7:30 p.m. available 23 hours
Starring Mirella Freni, Ainhoa Arteta, Plácido Domingo, Dwayne Croft, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet, conducted by Roberto Abbado. Production by Beppe De Tomasi. From April 26, 1997.

The Virtual Rule 0f 7 X 7
The Tank
8 p.m.
The 17th round of 7 writers with 7 rules creating 7 new virtual ten-minute plays.

Saturday, May 29

Strauss’s Capriccio
Metropolitan Opera
7:30 p.m. available 23 hours
Starring Renée Fleming, Sarah Connolly, Joseph Kaiser, Russell Braun, Morten Frank Larsen, and Peter Rose, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. Production by John Cox. From April 23, 2011.

Sunday, May 30

Rossini’s Le Comte Ory
Metropolitan Opera
7:30 p.m. available 23 hours
Starring Diana Damrau, Joyce DiDonato, Susanne Resmark, Juan Diego Flórez, Stéphane Degout, and Michele Pertusi, conducted by Maurizio Benini. Production by Bartlett Sher. From April 9, 2011.

National Memorial Day Concert
8 p.m.
The lineup of performers includes Gladys Knight, Sara Bareille, Joe Morton and Brian d’Arcy James

Monday, May 31

*This calendar lists shows only on the day they “open.” Some are live and available only for that one performance. Some are repeated live over several dates. Other shows are available as recordings for four days, or a week, or longer.  (I’ll put down how long they’re available, if I know.)
My definition of theater for the purposes of this calendar generally does not extend to variety shows, cast reunions, concerts, galas, panel discussions, documentaries, classes, or interviews — of which there are plenty, many worth checking out. My focus here is on creative storytelling in performance. (I make an occasional exception for a high-profile Netathon,involving many theater artists, or a novel event)
Pre-pandemic, it was relatively easy to put together a monthly calendar of openings, because theaters, companies and producers worked way in advance.  Since physical theaters were shut down , many shows are put together at the last minute, sometimes not even announced until the very day of their launch. (And there have been last-minute cancellations too.) So consider the listings here, even though a weekly calendar, as just a taste of what’s to come. (But there’s a good reason to offer such a calendar, even if incomplete: The shows, especially the ones in-person, are selling out quickly.)

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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