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Experience Virtual Performances: Theater, Dance, and Comedy

The curtain is still rising as California performing arts companies go online

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Posted 6 months ago

There’s no more enduring adage in the world of entertainment than “The show must go on.” So even as California performing arts organizations cope with cancellations of live shows, they have figured out a host of innovative ways to continue to reach audiences around the world.

Whether you’re into ballet or theater, you can stream plays and catch behind-the-scenes looks at what goes into live productions in the state without ever leaving home. (Note: All times mentioned are in PST.)

 

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Wondering who to expect on Geffen Stayhouse? Geffen alums, of course! Tony Award-winner Jefferson Mays, SNL’s Julia Sweeney and others (hint: @jaggedlittlepill ) will be bringing exclusive content to Geffen audiences in the coming weeks. Head to our bio to read the @latimes article giving you everything you need to know about the Geffen Stayhouse lineup.

A post shared by Geffen Playhouse (@geffenplayhouse) on Mar 31, 2020 at 4:03pm PDT

Theater Productions

American Conservatory Theater

The esteemed San Francisco theater company has made video performances of two recent shows, Gloria by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and Lydia R. Diamond’s Toni Stone, available for streaming. To gain access to the videos, you’ll have to purchase tickets. Note that the theater advises viewers to “pay the price that works for you.”

Aurora Theatre Company

This Berkeley theater troupe has won numerous Bay Area Critics Circle awards and is now producing Aurora Connects, a weekly webcast on Fridays at 4 p.m. Hosted by Aurora’s artistic director Josh Costello and associate artistic director Dawn Monique Williams, these salons feature lively, in-depth conversations with actors, designers, and directors about their craft.

Geffen Playhouse

Going from playhouse to “stayhouse,” the Westwood-based theater has launched Theater, At Home, which features new and original clips of performers every Wednesday. Through the Geffen, you can also get free 30-day trial access to BroadwayHD to see the playhouse’s past productions of such plays as Long Day’s Journey Into Night.

La Jolla Playhouse

Theater lovers should definitely check out the La Jolla Playhouse’s The Staging Area page to find details about programs that offer an insider’s look at productions. On Facebook Live, for example, Tony Award–nominated choreographer Kelly Devine and associate choreographer Ricky Hinds recently discussed dances in the playhouse’s production of Come From Away and even offered a session about performing the steps at home.

Skylight Theatre Company

Every week, it’s another online opening and another show when this Los Angeles company premieres a new play created specifically for internet viewing as part of its new Skylight Live series. Recent productions include Eating for the Record by the late Academy Award-nominated screenwriter, director, and actor Buck Henry. Shows are performed live Thursdays at 3 p.m.

 

Outside Mullingar (Photo by Jordan Kubat/South Coast Repertory)

 

South Coast Repertory

David Ivers, artistic director of this Tony Award-winning theater based in Costa Mesa, is hosting a weekly video series called At Home With Ivers. Available through South Coast Repertory’s website, as well as its social media feeds, the series has included an extended interview with actor Amy Brenneman, whose play Threshold is scheduled to have its world premiere at the theater in September. South Coast Rep also has plans to make an online version of its production of Outside Mullingar by John Patrick Shanley available for home viewing.

 

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Remember, remember, this is the now, and now, and now. Live it, feel it, cling to it. - Sylvia Plath ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Dancers @rrafailedes and @greisen3 practicing social distancing in another time. Visit stories to hear how Rachelle has been keeping busy during quarantine. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Image @joshsrose ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #wemovetomoveyou #sylviaplath #LADP #LosAngeles #DTLA #danceonthetimeofcorona

A post shared by L.A. Dance Project (@ladanceproject) on Apr 2, 2020 at 12:33pm PDT

Dance Performances

L.A. Dance Project

Led by acclaimed artistic director (and husband of Natalie Portman) Benjamin Millepied, the L.A. Dance Project has emerged as the city’s leading dance company. Founded in 2012, it’s fulfilling the promise that inspired British newspaper The Guardian to hail the company as “a future force in dance” in 2016. On the Dance Project’s website, you can watch an extended excerpt from the company’s Brecht, an ambitious solo piece, as well as an assortment of rehearsal clips.

 

Cigarettes (Photo by Keith Sutter)

 

Sacramento Ballet

Founded in 1954, the Sacramento Ballet has grown into one of the country’s leading regional dance companies. While there’s nothing like catching one of their productions live, you can at least get some sense of the ballet’s artistry by watching the performance videos on its website, including Cigarettes, a dance theater piece inspired by Patsy Cline’s song “Two Cigarettes in an Ashtray.”

San Francisco Ballet

Go behind the scenes on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 1 p.m. as you watch San Francisco Ballet dancers practicing from their homes in virtual classes led by ballet masters Tina LeBlanc and Felipe Diaz during SF Ballet Company Class Live Streams.

 

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Premiering tonight at 6pm on Comedy Spot LIVE is The Pet Show! ? ? ??‍??????? Comedy Spot community members submit videos and pictures or their pets, and Brian Crall gives awards for Best in Show. Tune in on our Facebook page or by clicking the link in our profile!

A post shared by Sacramento Comedy Spot (@saccomedyspot) on Apr 1, 2020 at 10:39am PDT

Comedy Shows

The Laugh Factory

Who couldn’t use a good laugh right about now? The Laugh Factory, which has clubs in Hollywood and Long Beach (and soon in San Diego), rides to the rescue with its livestreams at 2 p.m. Monday–Friday. You’ll also find archived clips from such stand-up luminaries as Dave Chappelle and Tim Allen.

Sacramento Comedy Spot

The Sacramento-based comedy school, the largest in Northern California, is keeping the laughs flowing, thanks to Comedy Spot Live! You can watch both live shows and find past performances. There’s no charge for viewing but the school does encourage donations.

Scott Capurro

Raised in San Francisco, the multi-hyphenated comic-actor-journalist-novelist Scott Capurro has performed around the world, including at the Punch Line in his California hometown. These days he’s appearing live from his Turk Street apartment, and the nightly shows are available on Capurro’s Instagram page.

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