virtual theater Trips
PLATO theater trips will return! But during the COVID-19 era, we still have some options for you. Use the links to connect to more information or to the appropriate streaming service, which will vary. Check out these online performances before they disappear.
School Girls: Or, the African Mean Girls Play
Paulina, the reigning queen bee at Ghana’s most exclusive boarding school, has her sights set on the Miss Global Universe pageant. But the arrival of Ericka, a new student with undeniable talent and beauty, captures the attention of the pageant recruiter—and Paulina’s hive-minded friends. A "buoyant and biting new comedy." Tickets for the high-definition, four-camera stream are $25 and are available January 20 through February 14.
TheaterSquared, located in northwest Arkansas, has been recognized with critical acclaim by The New York Times (“Best Theater of 2020” list), The New Yorker, NPR’s All Things Considered, and the American Theater Wing, founder of the Tony Awards. “TheatreSquared is clearly worthy of its fine reputation. First-class theater — an outstanding drama company” – The Wall Street Journal.
Irish Repertory Theatre
Theatre @ Home Winter Festival
This New York company's virtual retrospective runs from January 26 – February 21 and features all nine of the original digital productions created by the Irish Repertory Theatre during the COVID-19 shut-down. Don’t miss your chance to watch (or re-watch) the productions that inspired reviewers to call us “the leader in streaming theater” (Theatermania) and “way out in front of every other company in America when it comes to marrying technical innovation with artistic quality.” (The Wall Street Journal) . All festival events are free, but reservations are required . Donations of $25 for a performance, or $100 for the festival, are suggested for viewers who are able to give. Show dates vary, and include:
Take Care of This House
In these trouble times, watch Cynthia Erivo perform this number from Leonard Bernstein and Alan Jay Lerner's 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The song finds Abigail Adams giving instructions to a servant on the day-to-day care of the White House. But, naturally, it's a metaphor for preserving the sanctity of the Republic. Read more about this 1976 "flop" and song.
12–24 DEC12–24 DEC12–24 DEC
Amazon Prime Video
What the Constitution Means to Me
Heidi Schreck's hit play is now available on Amazon Prime Video. The off- and off-off-Broadway show moved to Broadway in 2019, and picked up both Tony and Pulitzer nominations along the way. Schreck plays a version of herself at 15, traveling the country giving speeches about the U.S. Constitution in order to win money for college. At the same time hilarious, hopeful, and human, Schreck traces her relationship between four generations of women and the founding document that shaped their lives. Review from TheaterMania.
The Homebound Project
Special Edition: 2021
Short theater pieces performed by homebound actors, including a guest appearance by Amanda Seyfried. Sample past shows through this trailer.
The Homebound Project is a new independent theater initiative, focused on connecting sheltering artists and helping to feed children affected by the coronavirus pandemic in NYC and beyond. Founded by playwright Catya McMullen and director Jenna Worsham, The Homebound Project is theater made to support those working on the front lines of this crisis. THIS SHOW IS TEMPORARILY POSTPONED AS OF JANUARY 12. WATCH FOR UPDATES. The performance will stream from 6pm CST Wednesday, January 13th, until 6pm CST on Sunday, January 17th. Tickets begin at a donation level of $10 to No Kid Hungry and are currently on sale HERE.
We’re Still Here! Silenced since February, the Company of our award-winning series, Sondheim Unplugged, is thrilled to be Back in Business, this time in the comfort of your own living room (what an Epiphany!) A celebrated New York event since 2010 (It’s a Hit!), Sondheim Unplugged features some of Broadway and cabaret’s most dynamic voices, accompanied by piano only, delving into the musical world of Broadway’s master composer. Hosted by series creator Phil Geoffrey Bond, expect fun facts and tidbits about the original productions and an evening well spent with Old Friends. God, That’s Good! Available through January 23. Tickets (with service fee) are $28.50.
Did you catch all of the above references to Sondheim shows? Clever!
54 Below Premieres is a new series of streamed concerts featuring cinematic, five-camera HD shoots to bring the glamour and intimacy of Broadway’s Living Room direct to in-home screens. Filmed on the Feinstein’s/54 Below iconic stage, these virtual performances will provide theater fans worldwide with new shows from their favorite Broadway stars.
Mint Theater Company
Silver Streaming Series
Days to Come
Lillian Hellman’s second play, Days to Come, is a family drama set against the backdrop of labor strife in a small Ohio town which threatens to tear apart both town and family. “It’s the story of innocent people on both sides who are drawn into conflict and events far beyond their comprehension,” Hellman said in an interview before Days to Come opened in 1936. “It’s the saga of a man who started something he cannot stop…” The New Yorker called it "a gripping, lucid examination of the dangerous intersection of economic, social, and personal forces."
Originally produced in 2018, you can now watch it for free through February 22 on this celebrated theater company's new streaming service. It was made with professional quality, hi-definition, three-camera recordings of a live performance, captured in the theater with live audiences. According to the Wall Street Journal, "you'll come away from Days to Come feeling like you've seen a real stage show, not a telecast." To receive the password for on-demand streaming, click this link and complete the form. A donation to Mint Theater is suggested.
Milwaukee Repertory Theater
Until the Flood
Until the Flood, was originally commissioned and produced by The Repertory Theatre of St Louis, and subsequently produced around the United States and in Ireland, Scotland, and England, with the same performer, director, and creative team.
Pulitzer Prize finalist and celebrated performer Dael Orlandersmith (Forever) explores the social uprising in Ferguson, Missouri following the shooting of teenager Michael Brown. Pulling from her extensive interviews with Missouri residents, Orlandersmith crafts a stunning theatrical experience that must be seen. The Chicago Tribune called it “palpably compassionate” and raved that it “achieves a great beauty by bringing us together rather than driving us apart.”
“Orlandersmith gives expression to America’s racial stalemate with lyrical flow. Written with as much empathy as outrage… Until the Flood quietly assures that the struggle lives on.” — Los Angeles Times
American Players Theatre
Words from the Woods
Twelve poetry readings from American Players Theatre's (APT) core company. From Rilke in German to Kipling's If, something for everyone. Free via YouTube.
The Metropolitan Opera
The Metropolitan Opera is streaming full operas for free every night. Each available for 23 hours.
Nightly Opera Streams, January 11-17: Renée Fleming Week
Nightly Opera Streams, January 18-24: Leading Ladies: Opera’s Greatest Heroines
The all-new National Theatre at Home
A streaming service offering unforgettable British theatre available to watch any time, anywhere
Watch National Theatre Live recordings, filmed in high definition for cinema to capture all the twists and turns, laughter and heartbreak. Plus, for the first time ever, we’re releasing a treasure trove of plays from the National Theatre Archive. You can choose to subscribe, or pay for a single play.
Filmed on Stage
Seen by over 120 million people worldwide, LES MISÉRABLES is undisputedly one of the world’s most popular musicals.
Based on the novel by Victor Hugo, 'Les Miserables' travels with prisoner-on-parole, 24601, Jean Valjean, as he runs from the ruthless Inspector Javert on a journey beyond the barricades, at the center of the June Rebellion. Meanwhile, the life of a working class girl with a child is at turning point as she turns to prostitution to pay money to the evil innkeeper and his wife who look after her child, Cosette. Valjean promises to take care of the child, eventually leads to a love triangle between Cosette, Marius who is a student of the rebellion, and Eponine, a girl of the streets. The people sing of their anger and Enjolras leads the students to fight upon the barricades.
Coinciding with its 35th triumphant year in London’s West End, Cameron Mackintosh produced a spectacular sell-out staged production featuring an all-star cast including Michael Ball, Alfie Boe, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Matt Lucas and John Owen Jones.
Live from Lincoln Center
Enjoy a soulful evening of song from one of Broadway’s brightest stars. Seamlessly making the transition from the stage to the big screen, British-born Cynthia Erivo won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance in The Color Purple before starring in several films, including Steve McQueen’s Widows. If you saw the film Harriet or the most recent Academy Awards telecast, you heard her powerful rendition of the song "Stand Up," which she co-wrote. Streaming free through May 10, 2022.
Dante or Die
USER NOT FOUND: A video podcast
What happens to your digital life after you die? If there was a magic button, would you delete your online existence? USER NOT FOUND is an immersive video podcast about what happens to our online identities after we die. For this new digital adaptation of the 2018/19 critically-acclaimed live show by Chris Goode (premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival), Dante or Die have created a virtual site-specific world. Charge your phone, plug in your headphones and find a quiet space for this intimate, meditative and funny story of one man grappling with something deeply private. USER NOT FOUND explores the ethics of digital ownership, public and private grief and shifting notions of connection and community. The play is "a beautiful song of love and letting go" (The Guardian), inspired by Caroline Twigg’s Guardian article about dealing with her late husband’s digital afterlife. The show is 50 minutes long, and available for free on YouTube.
In good dog, we meet an Indian middle-aged shopkeeper, a Caribbean father and son, gangs of multicultural boys and girls, a Jamaican hairdresser, a Ghanaian uncle, a Nigerian single mother, a mixed-race girl--all British. Set in London between 2003 and 2013, good dog deals with the political and social events leading up to the 2011 riots through the personal lives of communities of color. First premiered as a play in 2017 in the wake of the EU referendum, it was later adapted into a film in 2018 in a world in which communities the play embraces were murdered in the devastating Grenfell Tower Fire. This shortened version (19 minutes) of Arinzé Kene's hit play is now released in the time of Black Lives Matter uprisings. The play’s investigation into community, growing up in a multicultural borough, trauma, what happens when you lose faith in being good, and the resilience of communities of color continues to prove it is an essential piece of culture. Available for free on YouTube.
Badger Talks Live
Hamilton: How a Musical About History is Making History
Sarah Marty, producing director at Four Seasons Theatre and interim co-director at the Bolz Center in the UW-Madison School of Business, gives an online talk on the record-shattering musical Hamilton. Marty gives a glimpse into the ways that Lin Manuel-Miranda's take on U.S. history, which blends hip-hop, pop music and storytelling, has changed the face of theater. Shown live originally on October 6 through the Badger Talks Live series, it is now available to watch any time. Advance to minute 5:00 for the free presentation, which included a question and answer session after her lecture. Even if you've heard Sarah talk about Hamilton before, she includes updates on Lin-Manuel Miranda and COVID's affect on theater.
Dramatists Play Circle On Air
The Party Hop
Ben Platt and Beanie Feldstein are among the stars of the new online play The Party Hop, written by Natalie Margolin and presented via Dramatists Play Service. The Party Hop takes place on a Saturday night three years into quarantine. Three college sophomores bounce from virtual party to virtual party. However, when the friends find out that one of them hasn't been kissed, they insist that tonight must be the night. The cast and writer suggest giving a donation to YourMomCares, a charity founded by celebrity moms banding together for kids' mental health. The play premiered October 3 and will be available for free viewing for a limited time.
Sophocles in Staten Island
A Filipino American family in Staten Island is quarantined with an overbearing homeschool dad. There's no such thing as time off, so why not make a film of Oedipus Rex and Antigone that will surely please the College Board? In other words, what happens when you cross a Wong Kar Wai-wannabe with Gen-Z entitlement?
Leonard Bernstein's Short Opera, Trouble in Tahiti
Bernstein's one-act satire on the American dream, Trouble in Tahiti , is the story of one day in the life of a lonely married couple. Opera North is a national opera company based in Leeds, in the north of England, but with an international scope.
Globe Theatre and Swinging the Lens
Richard II isn’t just one of Shakespeare’s most lyrical plays. With its trenchant, emotionally wrenching analysis of political corruption and the consequent decline of good governance, it’s also among the most relevant to our own moment, as we collectively wrestle with what’s next in a country that, to quote Gaunt, “has made a shameful conquest of itself.”
This production features a cast composed entirely of women of color, that played to acclaim last year at London’s Globe under the direction of Adjoa Andoh (who also stars as Richard) and Lynette Linton. The entire production is available for streaming, in a top-notch archival recording.
In contrast to Holland’s contemplative and idealized Richard, Andoh gives us a petulant and narcissistic tyrant. Both interpretations are legitimate; as always, Shakespeare’s plays contain multitudes. And as this fabulous cast drives home, that goes for who can and should embody these roles, as well as for the plays themselves. Here’s hoping American Players Theatre returns to this great play – which hasn’t been performed in Spring Green in 20 long years – soon. And here’s hoping that it proves similarly audacious in its casting choices once it finally does.
--Mike Fischer, dramaturg,
former theater critic for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
and Forward Theater Company Advisory Member
My Beautiful Laundrette
Hanif Kureishi’s My Beautiful Laundrette was justly acclaimed when it arrived in the cinema in 1985; it movingly captured the fault lines involving race, class, and gender, as played out within a Pakistani family in London led by an entrepreneurial Thatcherite and his alcoholic, socialist brother. Overlaying that conflict was the seemingly star-crossed romance between two young men – one of Pakistani descent and the second an English skinhead – trying to overcome ethnic hate and homophobia.
Last year, Kureishi’s stage adaptation of his screenplay (with linking music from Tennant/Lowe of the Pet Shop Boys) debuted at Leicester’s Curve Theatre; Curve has now given us the tremendous gift of a captioned archival stream of the final (public) dress rehearsal before previews for this well-reviewed 2019 world premiere. It’s very good (and the captioning helps with occasional sound issues). It will remain available for on-demand streaming until Curve reopens.
The play is even better, retaining the film’s original 1980’s milieu while speaking directly to the current moment, in ways that not only implicate British politics but also indirectly indict the radioactive, anti-immigrant racism spawned and spewed by 45 and his lackeys. While Kureishi’s original takedown of Thatcherite capitalism remains intact, he has simultaneously sharpened his focus on anti-immigrant hysteria – and on how women of color are especially victimized by a politics of race hatred (the uncle’s mistress is now a woman of color rather than a white woman, which helps drive this home).
--Mike Fischer, dramaturg,
former theater critic for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
and Forward Theater Company Advisory Member
Skylight Music Theatre
While PLATO is not currently planning any field trips at this point, for those of you who are hungry for live theater events and are willing to incur the possible health risks (despite extensive Covid-19 precautions taken by the Theatre), you may wish to mark your calendar with these upcoming shows in Milwaukee. This is FYI only! PLATO is not endorsing or taking any trips to these, or any other venues at this point.
Milwaukee Opera Theatre
In the Cloud: A Virtual Musical
Billed as "a story in three songs" by Matt Zembrowski, this premiere is an intimate family drama for the Covid era featuring a cast of favorite Milwaukee performers. Tickets are $22 and are available at various times January 22-31. Only 18 tickets are available for each performance. This piece is Part One of "The Distance Commissions," two brand new music-theatre pieces inspired by the idea of distance, designed to be composed, produced and performed remotely.
Available now online: Doc Danger and the Danger Squad
Episode 1 Episode 2 Episode 3 Episode 4
The Shows Must Go On
A free YouTube channel bringing you showtunes, backstage access, and full performances from some of the best loved musicals in history! Try individual videos (approximately 3 to 12 minutes each) or created playlists with multiple shorts from the same production.
Shakespeare Shorts from Milwaukee Rep
Most of these clips are under 5 minutes long, while two of them are a little over 10 minutes in length.
As You Like It
The Taming of the Shrew
Romeo and Juliet
Other Theater Shorts
If you don't have time for an entire show, you may enjoy these clips. These high energy musical numbers take 5 minutes or less.
Pinball Wizard - Tommy, Stratford Festival 2013
The Impossible Dream - Man of La Mancha, Stratford Festival 2014
What I Did for Love – A Chorus Line, Stratford Festival 2016
Pirate Island- Poor Wand'ring One - Madison Savoyards, 2020
Rocky Horror Show - Time Warp - Stratford Festival 2018
Rocky Horror Show - Hot Patootie - Stratford Festival 2018
The Music Man - 76 Trombones - Stratford Festival 2018
Pirate Island - When the Foeman Bares His Steel - Madison Savoyards, 2020
HMS Pinafore - When I Was a Lad - Stratford Festival 2017Pirates of Penzance - I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General! - Stratford Festival 1985
The Mikado - A More Humane Mikado - Stratford Festival 1982
Jermyn Street Theatre
Samuel Beckett: No Country for Old Men
Krapp’s Last Tape | The Old Tune
Trevor Nunn staged Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape and the rarely performed The Old Tune at Jermyn Street shortly before the pandemic hit. Both plays are prophetic of what was to come; the old men inhabiting them underscore how fragile our lives are and how easily they can come undone, as we draw on unreliable memories to make sense of lives that we never live as fully or well as we might have.
Krapp’s Last Tape is now rightly considered a major work in the Beckett canon, and James Hayes’ embodiment of a failed writer shows why: listening to diary-like tapes he’d made as a younger man, the 69-year-old Krapp winces at all his younger self left out and didn’t understand, overestimated about who he was and failed to appreciate in others. It’s a devastating performance that goes a long way toward explaining why Nunn’s production (which included a third Beckett one-act not made available here) was the hottest ticket in London this past winter.
Gentler and funnier, The Old Tune is a minor variation on some of the themes sounded in Waiting for Godot. Two septuagenarians (Niall Buggy and David Threlfall) wait for death; lost in a world they never made, their failing memories leave them unable to return to the world they’ve left behind. As with Didi and Gogo in Godot, their lone respite from existential loneliness is each other – even if their efforts to communicate miss more often than they land.
--Mike Fischer, dramaturg,
former theater critic for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
and Forward Theater Company Advisory Member
The Fire This Time Festival
On the other side of the continent, the 11th annual edition of The Fire This Time Festival – a showcase for emerging Black playwrights which, in years past, has given early exposure to artists including Aziza Barnes, Jocelyn Bioh, Katori Hall, Dominque Morisseau, and Antoinette Nwandu – has made archival recordings available for on-demand streaming of all seven shorts from this year’s Festival.
Many of these plays touch on a theme central to the Black experience in America: with one’s community constantly under siege, does one fight or take flight? And if one leaves one’s roots behind (literally, in Jay Mazyck’s If Men Were Flowers), how does one avoid becoming invisible, appropriated by a dominant culture’s continued campaign to whitewash Blackness? Can old alliances be saved (an express theme in both Tyler English-Beckwith’s Maya and Rivers and in Natyna Bean’s Assume Positions)? Might new ones arise (a topic explored in Deneen Reynolds-Knott’s Antepartum and Mario Wolfe’s Wish I Could P. (Pay it No Mind))?
All of these questions are on the table in the night’s longest and best piece: Niccolo Aeed’s One Morning Soon. Aeed’s play invokes and then bends Paul’s early Christian writings to explore how, in moving past the old order to create a better one, a culture might preserve all that’s best about where and what it’s been – while simultaneously ensuring that hate and oppression aren’t replicated, but rather vanquished by love.
MISCAST20 IS STILL HERE!
New York’s hottest star-filled event goes WORLDWIDE for 2020. The full event was previously live-streamed in its entirety for FREE. While that has now ended, online streaming of the individual musical numbers is still available! See some of your favorite Broadway stars perform like you’ve never seen them before.
Founded in 1986 as MANHATTAN CLASS COMPANY, MCC began as a collective of young actors, writers, and directors determined to steer their own artistic development and redefine the NYC theater scene with the kind of stories they wanted to see on the stage. That work continues today in Hell’s Kitchen at THE ROBERT W. WILSON MCC THEATER SPACE, a creative hotbed where our ARTISTS, STAFF, and STUDENTS have the freedom to stir things up, all under one roof.
The show you have been waiting for, with the original Broadway cast! Winner of the Tony Award for best new musical and Pulitzer Prize in drama, this sensational show chronicles the life of the first U.S. Treasurer Alexander Hamilton and his compatriots through a variety of musical styles. Filmed live at The Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway in June of 2016. Local critic Rob Thomas says "in some ways it’s better than the best seats in the house." Watch it on Disney Plus; there is no end date. A one-month subscription is $6.99, and you can cancel at any time. More details on this unique viewing experience.
Bush Theatre (London)
A series of short online works, collectively titled The Protest in response to the death of George Floyd. Associate director Daniel Bailey, who curated the series, said: "The Bush kneels with the black community at home and aboard as we fight the ongoing pandemic – racism and the oppression of Black People. We asked some of our Bush family to lift their voices in a myriad of ways that mirrors the diversity within the Black community." Originally distributed through Twitter, but available as a collection on this site.
First performed in December of 2016, in a country hurting from racism and oppression, the Broadway cast of Hamilton used the words of Langston Hughes, Bob Marley and Lin-Manuel Miranda to call for peace and equality in this short song with dance.
"Now, as we reel yet again in anger and despair, the impassioned pleas for justice continue to resonate. We stand with those who walk in fear simply for being black. We will continue to listen and educate ourselves, and call out others, on how we can best lift up our colleagues, artists, community members and supporters. Lives depend on it."
PBS Wisconsin - Great Performances
PBS Great Performances has several free full-length musical and dramatic theater performances for your enjoyment. Additional performances may require the Passport membership. Beginning and ending dates may not apply for those with Passport membership.
Gloria: A Life
Experience a unique interpretation of feminist icon Gloria Steinem’s life told by an all-female cast, starring Emmy Award winner Christine Lahti and directed by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus. Streaming now through July 24.
Enjoy a powerful and revealing look at legendary, larger-than-life Texas governor Ann Richards who enriched the lives of her followers, friends and family in this critically acclaimed play written by and starring Emmy Award-winner Holland Taylor. Streaming now through July 17.
Twilight: Los Angeles
Anna Deavere Smith's play is about race relations in Los Angeles at the time of the infamous police beating of Rodney King, and the ensuing jury acquittal of the perpetrators. She notes that “few people speak a language about race that is not their own. If more of us could actually speak from another point of view, like speaking another language, we could accelerate the flow of ideas.” “After all,” Smith says later, “identity is in some ways a process toward character. It is not character itself. It is not fixed. Our race dialogue desperately needs this more complex language.”
Smith channels the voices of forty among the hundreds of people she interviewed: white and Black, Korean and Latinx, men and women, cops and activists, store owners and looters. Playing them all, Smith physically embodies the truth that each of us contains multitudes.
Director Marc Levin blends Smith’s stage performance with news footage and interviews to capture a community’s rage and loss, but also its grit and hope and love. This encore streaming will expire June 7, 2021.
Take Me to the World - Free - A starry line-up of Broadway favorites are toasting Stephen Sondheim with a once-in-a-lifetime concert event live on Broadway.com Mr. Sondheim is an American composer and lyricist known for his work in musical theater like: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962); Company (1970); Follies (1971); A Little Night Music (1973), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1979); Merrily We Roll Along (1981); Sunday in the Park with George (1984); and Into the Woods (1987). He is also known for writing the lyrics for West Side Story (1957) and Gypsy (1959).
Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre
After Pass Over's 2017 world premiere at Steppenwolf, Academy Award nominee and Honorary Oscar winner Spike Lee brought a camera crew and filmed the entire performance. The filmed play premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, and now Lee's filmed play is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Enjoy this complete production of Pass Over by Antoinette Nwandu featuring ensemble member Jon Michael Hill. A provocative riff on Waiting for Godot, Pass Over is a rare piece of politically-charged theater about two young black men who stand around on the corner dreaming of their promised land when a stranger wanders into their space with his own agenda and derails their plans.
L.A. Theatre Works
Over 500 plays audio-recorded live in performance, everything from Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde to Arthur Miller and recent Tony winners, all with top-name actors, so you can listen to great theatre anywhere.
Listen free to the Relativity Series of Science Themed Plays which present science as a thoroughly human endeavor, bringing to life the people and stories behind the research and invention which shapes and changes our world.
Among the many included titles are:
Copenhagen, by Michael Frayn
Arcadia, by Tom Stoppard
An Enemy of the People, by Henrik Ibsen
Proof, by David Auburn
The Doctor's Dilemma, by George Bernard Shaw
Contact PLATO Theater Team members at: