Here are the best live theatre shows to watch while in self-quarantine

Theater queens are a tough bunch. The heteronormative patriarchy spurns gender fluidity as a form of expression; casting directors reject their talent. But they always find a stage, even if there aren’t any actual stages that are open, because there is a global pandemic of a potentially lethal coronavirus that has caused the closure of the performing arts industry.

But fear not! Where there is a will and a webcam, there is a way. While physician and nursing heroes care for the sick (without enough face masks to protect themselves, because civilians are hoarding them for no reason!), and grocery store clerk-heroes tirelessly serve panic-shoppers who are fighting over toilet paper, the performing arts heroes have found ways to entertain the masses and chase the blues away. And that really is is important. Happiness releases endorphins, and endorphins help keep us healthy, a little bit. If this is not scientific fact, don’t send us any emails about it. 

There are lots of livestreams coming up that not only support our general state of psychological well-being, but also may serve as fundraisers to support the artists who lost their jobs. Take a look at some of our favorites coming up:

Sing along (and request songs!) with the pianists at Marie’s Crisis

Marie’s Crisis is a piano bar in The Village in NYC where the performers are brassy and sassy, and the crowd is militant about their devotion to Broadway. During the Great Shutdown of 2020, there are no crowds, but the performers are still clanging away on their pianos and singing for tips, which can be paid online. Join the Marie’s Crisis Facebook group to see a schedule and also watch the shows. The experience won’t be the same as standing in that little room in the basement, surrounded by gay guys and their straight girlfriends, all singing at full chest-voice, back-of-the-house, Patti LuPone fortissimo, but the love is still there with every song.

 

Sissy that walk with the queens from Drag Race

An arsenal of RuPaul’s Drag Race queens have banded together to create Digital DragFest, a series of small webcam performances where each queen will sing, or tell jokes, or do whatever it is that makes their fans happy. It should be noted that many of these performers have Drag Race tour money, so they shouldn’t be hurting for tips so desperately like the local queens around the world who scrape by working in the bars and now have no income. Hopefully there will be a way to support some local queens as well. Hint hint, local queens. Start thinking about doing some shows online.

 

Enjoy the archives of some of the world’s best live singers at Joe’s Pub

The Public Theater is a revered institution in New York City, and their live music venue Joe’s Pub brings a fabulous and fascinating array of musicians to the stage. Folk music, cabaret music, international performance artists, comedic performers, the acts are wide assortment—and they are all the best in their genres. Thursdays through Saturdays, Joe’s Pub is broadcasting performances from the club’s archives, shot on high-resolution video so it’s not like watching a lousy clip shot on someone’s cell phone. Check out the Joe’s Pub schedule for upcoming events. As of now, the live shows are canceled through April 12.

Watch the biggest stars from Broadway with Rosie O’Donnell

Let’s be clear about something: Rosie O’Donnell saved Broadway. Back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, Broadway theaters were in bad shape, as show after show closed with nasty reviews and empty seats. The only shows that tourists cared about were Cats and A Chorus Line, and the general public just didn’t seem to care about Broadway anymore. So when Rosie launched her afternoon talk show, she opened her stage to different Broadway casts, to sing some songs and give the TV-viewing public a taste of the glory of live musical theatre. And it worked! Going on Rosie’s show caused a show’s ticket sales to skyrocket. And just like that, American musical theatre thrived once again. 

Like most of the United States, Broadway theaters are now (temporarily) closed, and thousands of actors, musicians, and crewmembers are unemployed, so Rosie is once again coming to the rescue. She will host a livestreamed show on Broadway.com, on Sunday, March 22 at 7 p.m. ET, to benefit The Actors Fund, which provides resources to those in the theatre community. A huge list of who’s-who in the musical theatre world will chit-chat and sing some songs, including Tituss Burgess, Morgan Freeman, Katharine McPhee, and Idina Menzel. The list goes on and on. It’s going to be amazing. The list of performers also includes Miranda Sings, and she really is funny but was she ever on Broadway? Just curious.

If for some reason the link on Broadway.com doesn’t work, the event will also be on their YouTube channel.

FYI, it’s musical “theatre,” because a “theater” is the building where “theatre” happens. Now you know.