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May 1, 2020

Go On The Town — Online — with 7 Broadway Shows

New Yorkers are always doing something, and their evening social calendars are usually filled. Perhaps that’s why we may feel more penned in right now than our rural counterparts. To avoid this side effect of the coronavirus, we’ve collected seven great shows you can enjoy tonight.

You might not be able to get together with friends for a drink or dinner, but we think you’ll find some shows in our list that you’ve never seen and some classics that people can’t get enough of.

Oklahoma!

This musical is an American classic with beautiful tunes and clever lyrics. It was a box-office smash when it first appeared in 1943 and ran for an unprecedented 2,212 performances, later enjoying award-winning revivals, national tours, foreign productions and an Oscar-winning 1955 film adaptation. Rodgers and Hammerstein won a special Pulitzer Prize for Oklahoma! in 1944.

The performance filmed here was part of the PROMS series in Royal Albert Hall. A young cast with great voices and exceptional dance skills tell the story of love in the Oklahoma territories. The choreography is thrilling and it is danced with tremendous energy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NpknzTa3ck 

In the Heights

In the Heights has music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda (of Hamilton fame). The story follows its characters in the largely Dominican-American neighborhood of Washington Heights in New York City over a three-day period. It was nominated for thirteen Tony Awards and won four, including the 2008 Best MusicalBest Original Score, and Best Choreography awards. It has been staged around the world, from Japan to Germany and Peru.

This is a splendid quality version of the show that took Broadway by storm. Charles Isherwood’s review in The New York Times said that “when this musical erupts in one of its expressions of collective joy, the energy it gives off could light up the George Washington Bridge for a year or two.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSKOL4x30GU&list=PLEHuU_R7wf6oSovpstrjXmqEAOq8KuRJ&index=40

Kiss Me, Kate

With hysterical results, this comedy weaves the basics of the Shakespeare’s comedy Taming of the Shrew with the backstage love/hate story of the leads Lilli Vanessi and Fred Graham. With clever, elegant music and lyrics by the inimitable Cole Porter, this show is filled with thrills, chills and spills as well as driving dance music, such as “Too Damn Hot.”  In 1949, it won the first Tony Award for Best Musical.

A stellar cast and particularly fine lead actor/singers make this performance of Kiss Me, Kate one of the best ever. This production was performed with a terrific orchestra as part of the PROMS series in Royal Albert Hall. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKVGo7FL4n8

RENT

In 1996, this original rock musical by a then little-known composer, Jonathan Larson opened on Broadway and forever changed the landscape of American theatre. Speaking to audiences across generations, this Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning masterpiece follows an unforgettable year in the lives of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams without selling out.

This PBS Great Performances presentation was filmed at the last performance of the original production, and it captures the energy of this modern retelling of La Boheme. With its inspiring message of joy and hope in the face of fear, this timeless celebration of friendship and creativity reminds us to measure our lives with the only thing that truly matters: love. Its message seems keenly relevant right now. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lo8CmwIKiDw&list=PLEHuU-_R7wf6oSovpstrjXmqEAOq8KuRJ

Into the Woods

This Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece, directed by James Lapine, is a seamless fusion of fairy tale characters and what happens after happily ever after. In this most magical of musicals, a baker and his wife journey into the woods in search of a cow, a red cape, a pair of golden slippers and some magic beans to lift a curse that has kept them childless. It won several Tony Awards, including Best Score, Best Book, and Best Actress in a Musical (Joanna Gleason), and all of these in a year dominated by The Phantom of the Opera (1988).

Tony Award winners Bernadette Peters, Joanna Gleason, and the rest of the amazing cast weave their spell over you in this original Broadway production. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MP8fw_LhOOg&list=PLEHuU-_R7wf6oSovpstrjXmqEAOq8KuRJ&index=73

Sweeney Todd

It’s funny, it’s terrifying, and it‘s supremely beautiful; Sweeney Todd remains one of the greatest musical achievements of the American Stage, advancing the art to an entirely new level.

It won the Tony and Olivier Awards for Best New Musical, and it has since had numerous revivals, as well as a film adaptation.

Those who love Sweeney Todd and can’t imagine performances better than those of Angela Lansbury and Len Cariou or Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris, watch out!  This may change your mind. Emma Thompson serves up a wacky Mrs. Lovett — and who knew she could sing like this? Bryn Terfel, the leading bass in today’s opera world, makes the cross over with menacing power. And there is Audra McDonald, too, as the Beggar Woman. The New York Philharmonic plays the phenomenal Sondheim score as you may never have heard it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jp59V1RW3qk

My Favorite Broadway: The Leading Ladies

The songs are vintage theatre classics, and the performances are all superb. Watch Broadway’s leading ladies give one stunning performance after another as they interpret some of the theatre’s most beautiful songs. Each performance is a gem in an evening of unusual quality. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlBM1ZUBGBg

  • Here are just some of show-stoppers in this concert:
  • Nowadays – Karen Ziemba & Bebe Neuwirth
  • Adelaide’s Lament – Faith Prince
  • Don’t Rain On My Parade – Judy Kuhn
  • Life Upon The Wicked Stage – Anna Kendrick & The Kit Kat Girls
  • Nothing – Priscilla Lopez
  • Could I Leave You – Dee Hoty
  • Liza With A ‘Z’ – Rosie McDonald and Liza Minelli
  • Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered – Marin Mazzie
  • Falling In Love With Love – Rebecca Luker
  • I Never Said I Love You – Audra McDonald
  • Ain’t Misbehavin’ – Nell Carter & Luther Henderson (piano)
  • Everybody’s Girl – Debra Monk