Digital Theater To Watch This Weekend: 5 Top Picks, and 10 others worth checking out

Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand do Shakespeare….online. Uzo Aduba is villainous simultaneously on Broadway…and online. A celebration of Sondheim; horrid, strange and theatrical moments in history; cutting-edge you-are-there experiences — these are all available as digital theater this weekend. Yes, in-person theater is still available (although not as much as a month ago), but the digital alternative is thriving. Below are 15 shows you can stream — some beginning, some ending this weekend; some have been around for a while, worth catching if you haven’t already.

5 Top Picks

These are the shows I am most excited to see, or have already seen, which are either newly launched or about to close (or both.) Listed alphabetically.

Rattlestick through February 13
$25, but today and Saturday it’s pay-what-you-can
An interactive, virtual, theatrical game where you encounter firsthand the complex challenges of housing insecurity. You will make a series of decisions over the course of the game, which include: Will your character sleep on the street or sleep in a shelter?

through January 16
The first-ever “simulcast” of a Broadway play. You watch on your home screen the same live production that the audience is simultaneously watching in the Hayes Theater. I loved this wonderfully acted play in-person (my review) and saw it at home as well (my review.) Uzo Aduba stars as the villainous owner of a truck stop sandwich shop that offers its formerly incarcerated kitchen staff a shot at reclaiming their lives.

Everybody Rise: Signature Remembers Stephen Sondheim
Jan 14, 5PM – Jan 17, 5PM.
free on YouTube.
The Arlington-based theater who had a special relationship with the composer presents 16 musical performances from 13 shows, including Company, Into the Woods, A Little Night Music, Saturday Night, and Merrily We Roll Along.

The Tragedy of Macbeth
Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand star as the murderous Macbeth and his ambitious wife in Joel Coen’s fierce adaptation. Available only to subscribers,

through January 23
An interactive virtual theater experience by the cutting-edge Arlekin Players, which last brought us chekhov/os (My review of that earlier show), inspired by the journey of the ship MS St. Louis, which left Hamburg in 1939 with over 900 Jewish people on board and headed to Cuba only to be turned away, leaving the passengers stranded with nowhere to go and no escape.

10 Plays Worth Checking Out

From Origin 1st Irish Festival

Origin’s  14th annual 1st Irish festival is one of only two annual January festivals that haven’t been cancelled this year. (The other one, Exponential, begins in earnest next week.) Below are four of the festival’s plays available online the weekend, mostly for $15. I’ve seen the first three, and frankly found them difficult to get through, mostly because of their subject matter, but all also theatrically intriguing and at times emotionally powerful.

Duck Duck Goose
Only through January 16
A man is accused of rape, and his best friend chooses to defend him — for years, at great cost to him and his family. Filmed on Fishamble theater company’s Dublin stage. (My review.)

A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing
Through January 30
 Adapted from Eimear McBride’s harsh novel of an abusive Irish Catholic childhood, the play stars Jenn Murray as the unnamed girl, whom we follow from the womb to age 20, and the many characters in her life.  Filmed on the stage of the Irish Rep.

In the Middle of the Fields
Through January 31
In Deirdre Kinahan’s play, Jessica Lefkow stars as a woman undergoing chemotherapy. What you see is a recording of the Solas Nua production that took place in a park in Washington D.C. 

Jan 16-31
Written and performed by John McCarthy, this monologue tells the story of a city through its streets and buildings.

Audio Only

From This is Not a Theater Company
A Little Drape of Heaven
$1 to $7 through February 15
A “site-specific audio play” by Mahesh Dattani,
one of India’s most celebrated playwrights, in which a sari (a piece of clothing) expresses its innermost desires. “Go to your closet, find an article of clothing you have been forbidden to wear, hold it close to your heart, and press play on the audio link.”

Still Available

From Bard At The Gate

Paul Vogel’s project to revive plays that got short-shrift the first time around continues for a second season, this time partnering with McCarter Theater. The plays aren’t all that are resurrected; given the quality of the productions, so is the reputation of a “Zoom play.” A couple of plays are coming up, but it’s not too late to see two that launched earlier this season, each for $12.

How to Raise a Freeman

Written by Zakiyyah Alexander, and directed by Reginald L. Douglas, this drama asks the question: How does a middle-class family teach their son to stay alive, in a country where every 28 hours a Black Man is killed by police

Sonnets for an Old Century

In the afterlife, strangers face the unknown and answer the question: if you had one statement to make about your life, if you had one last story to tell the universe, what would you say?” Written and directed by José Rivera, the author of “Marisol” and “The Motorcycle Diaries.


9000 Paper Balloons
minimum $10 Through January 31
Japanese artist Maiko Kikuchi and American puppeteer Spencer Lott blend puppetry, animation and masks as they weave their own family histories into one of the strangest stories of World War II — Between November 1944 and April 1945, the Japanese military launched more than 9,000 low-tech pilotless weapons, some of which made the 5,000 journey to the United States and Canada.

From All Arts

Myths & Hymns
A four-part song cycle by Adam Guettel that explores  faith and longing, which features Kelli O’Hara, Norm Lewis, Renée Fleming, Joshua Henry, Jennifer Holliday, Anthony Roth Costanzo and Julia Bullock

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Drum Major Instinct
Theater of War productions, January 17, 7 p.m. free
A dramatic reading by actors and public officials of the sermon King delivered on unday, February 4, 1968, at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, exactly two months before his assassination. Followed (as always in Theater of War productions) by a discussion.

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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