virtual theater Trips
There is no timetable on when PLATO theater trips will resume. The PLATO Board, in consultation with its COVID workgroup, will continue to monitor State and County guidance and recommendations on safely gathering. PLATO is not currently planning any theater field trips, nor endorsing private trips to any venues. Meanwhile, we offer some virtual options for you. Use the links below to connect to more information or to the appropriate streaming service.
An Evening with Gilbert & Sullivan
Madison Savoyards presents An Evening with Gilbert and Sullivan, premiering at 2:30 pm on December 26th. Recorded earlier this month for the University League's Candlelight Concert, the free YouTube offering includes a Christmas version of "Three Little Maids from School" and other favorites from the delightful duo. Hosts Catherine Killam and Adam Shelton will tell you about Gilbert and Sullivan’s early years, and how the Madison Savoyards came to be. The free show will be available beginning at 2:30 pm CST on Sunday, December 26.
Interrupted on stage in 2020 at The Public due to COVID, Coal Country is an audio play that re-tells the story of the 2010 Upper Big Branch mine explosion in West Virginia, the most deadly mining disaster in recent U.S. history. It is a riveting, emotionally stunning work based on first-person accounts by survivors and family members. Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen are a writing team who The New Yorker calls "among the foremost practitioners of documentary theater in the U.S." The performance is directed by Blank and features original music by three-time Grammy award-winning country/folk legend Steve Earle.
Available for free for one month using an audible.com trial. Cost is $7.95 per month afterwards. Cancel anytime.
Come from Away
In part to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the smash Broadway show Come from Away is now available for streaming through Apple TV+. This filmed musical follows the story of more than 7,000 people who were stranded in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. The people were generously welcomed into the town of Gander , Newfoundland where they forged life-long friendships.
The show was developed by the Canadian couple Irene Sankoff and David Hein. Ten years ago they travelled to the small town of Gander to listen to the stories of the townspeople and the “Plane People” during that fateful day and the following week. Now twenty years since 9/11, Come from Away is a reminder of the capacity for human kindness in even the darkest of times. Nominated for 7 Tony awards in 2017, including Best Musical, it won Best Direction of a Musical for Christopher Ashley.
A parody of iconic musicals, Schmigadoon! is a new musical comedy series produced by Lorne Michaels of Saturday Night Live and starring Emmy Award nominee Cecily Strong and Emmy Award winner Keegan-Michael Key. A couple on a backpacking trip designed to reinvigorate their relationship discovers a magical town in which everyone is living in a studio musical from the 1940s. They then discover that they can’t leave until they find “true love.” If you love musicals, you'll enjoy catching the clever references to Oklahoma, Carousel, The Music Man, and, of course, Brigadoon, among other classics.
Apple TV+ is available for streaming on your computer, tablet, or phone. A monthly subscription is $4.99 per month after a free 7-day trial. More information on how to watch Apple TV+.
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Check out APT's 6-show summer season! In addition to the return of reduced capacity live theater, online versions of the performances will also be available. Tickets for the digital plays will start at $32, and be available to watch starting 7 days after the in-person play opens, and close when that play closes.
Tow Playwright-in-Residence and Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award winner Erika Dickerson-Despenza joins The Public’s digital stage with an audio production of SHADOW/LAND, a harrowing new drama set amid the ongoing devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Ruth coaxes her mother, Magalee, to sell Shadowland, the family business and New Orleans’s first air-conditioned dancehall and hotel for Black people. But as Hurricane Katrina begins her ruin, Ruth is forced to wrestle with all that she’s ready to let go. Directed by Lilly Award winner Candis C. Jones, SHADOW/LAND is the first installment of a 10-play cycle traversing the Katrina diaspora in an examination of the ongoing effects of disaster, evacuation, displacement, and urban renewal rippling in and beyond New Orleans. Available free as a podcast for one year. Also available as Open Caption video.
CONTINUITY by Gerry Moynihan
A forensic examination of the soul of an Irish ‘freedom fighter’.
Pádraig Devlin is a dissident Irish Republican, who begins to have doubts about his commitment to The Cause after he meets and falls in love with a woman from Barcelona. Soon after meeting her, Pádraig botches three assignments in a row. The other members of his terrorist cell decide to test the love-struck Pádraig’s commitment. Has falling in love really weakened the resolve of a man determined to re-ignite the struggle for Irish freedom, and whose Republican credentials are beyond reproach? And just exactly what kind of test do they plan to set him? And how will Pádraig react when he discovers that he’s being tested… Continuity is the story of a man who begins to question everything he has ever fought for – and marks a stunning debut from a brand new playwright.
Available for FREE through the end of 2021
MCC Theater’s annual Miscast gala is one of the most exciting and unique theater events in town. Broadway’s hottest stars perform songs from roles in which they would not traditionally be cast. And the results are thrilling!
MEET THIS YEAR'S PERFORMERS
Tony Award® winner ANNALEIGH ASHFORD (“B Positive,” Kinky Boots)
Tony Award® nominee ROBIN DE JESÚS (tick, tick… Boom!, The Boys in the Band)
CHEYENNE JACKSON “American Horror Story,” Xanadu)
Tony Award® winner IDINA MENZEL (Frozen, Wicked)
KELLY MARIE TRAN (Raya and the Last Dragon,Star Wars: The Last Jedi)
MELISSA BARRERA (In the Heights, Vida)
Tony Award® winner RENÉE ELISE GOLDSBERRY (Hamilton, “Altered Carbon”)
JAI’LEN JOSEY (SpongeBob SquarePants, The Secret Life of Bees)
Tony Award® winner KELLI O’HARA (The King and I, South Pacific)
Tony Award® nominee AARON TVEIT Moulin Rouge: The Musical, Next to Normal)
Tony Award® winner GAVIN CREEL (Hello, Dolly!, Hair)
LESLIE GRACE (In the Heights)
Tony Award® winner LACHANZE (Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, The Color Purple)
Tony Award® and Emmy Award® winner BILLY PORTER (“Pose,” Kinky Boots)
George Takei's ALLEGIANCE
Allegiance tells the story of one family’s extraordinary journey in a troubling time for a nation plunged into World War II by the events of Pearl Harbor.
BroadwayHD has announced that George Takei's Allegiance, which also features Broadway stars Telly Leung (Godspell, Glee) and Tony Award-winner Lea Salonga (Miss Saigon, Mulan) will be available on the platform exclusively beginning on March 18th. The musical, inspired by the true-life experience of its star George Takei (Star Trek, Heroes) tells the story of one family's extraordinary journey in a troubling time for a nation plunged into World War II by the events of Pearl Harbor.
"I'm absolutely thrilled that the release of Allegiance on BroadwayHD will allow even more audiences to experience this vital piece of theater," says George Takei. "Telling the story of the Japanese American internment, which my family and I experienced firsthand, has been my life's work. Allegiance truly is my legacy, and I'm so grateful that it has given me the opportunity to share our history in such a compelling and beautiful way."
Allegiance brings to the forefront an important piece of American history through a powerful story. A mysterious envelope leads Sam Kimura (George Takei) back 60 years to a time when he (played as a young man by Telly Leung) and his sister Kei (Lea Salonga) strive to save their family from the wrongful imprisonment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Sam enlists in the army to prove his family's loyalty, while Kei joins the draft resisters fighting for the rights of their people. Their paths take them from the lush farmlands of California to the wastelands of Wyoming to the battlefields of Europe, and their divided loyalties threaten to tear them apart forever. But as long-lost memories are re-lived and a new perspective is gained, Sam finds that it is never too late to forgive and experience the redemptive power of love.
Allegiance originally opened on Broadway in November 2015.
Stream Your Favorite Broadway Hits! Anytime, Anywhere! Start your 7 day free trial with Broadway HD, with the option to continue with either a monthly or yearly subscription after that.
The National Black Theatre of Harlem
Premiered on February 28th, 2021 on YouTube Live, but the recorded version is still available to watch. Jump to the 31:10 minute mark to bypass the very long Introductory screen!
Broadway Stars come together to celebrate Black History Month. This is an evening of song and dance presented by Shine Theatre Arts Project and Kaden Amari Anderson of Caroline, or Change, Broadway. The mission of this cabaret is to raise money for The National Black Theatre of Harlem.
NBT's Artistic Director, Jonathon McCory will be a featured speaker at the event and the line-up includes:
A young woman born in NYC travels to Puerto Rico for the first time to meet her family and to discover her roots. Her misconceptions are transformed and she learns that being Puerto Rican is a matter of heart and spirit. La Gringa, the longest-running (25 years) Spanish language play in off-Broadway history, is presented in Spanish with English subtitles. Tickets are $7 per user + $3 system fee. Available now, you will have 72 hours starting from the first-viewed date to enjoy the production.
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
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.
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
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.
Broadway reopened its doors briefly on April 3 with a special NY PopsUp performance at the St. James Theatre. The matinee, directed by Jerry Zaks, featured an audience primarily made up of staffers from the Actors Fund and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, with back-to-back performances from Tony winners Savion Glover and Nathan Lane.
Steppenwolf Theatre Company
Red Folder: An Illustrated Short Play
Written, directed and illustrated by Steppenwolf ensemble member Rajiv Joseph, featuring narration by ensemble member Carrie Coon. Streaming beginning January 27, 10 minutes in length. The red folder belongs to a first grader. It is the source of all his woes. Years later, he seeks vengeance.
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.
A Trip to the Library - She Loves Me, Madison Opera/Madison Public Library 2021
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.
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."
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: