Theater to Stream: Cabaret Lives Online and Zombies Walk the Stage

Theater to Stream: Cabaret Lives Online and Zombies Walk the Stage

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Among life’s great pleasures is having your mind blown by a new act in a tiny venue. Back when we could sit elbow to elbow with strangers, one such haven for arty truffle hounds was the East Village boîte Pangea, which over the past few years has vaulted to the forefront of the alt-cabaret scene. Now Pangea is making a move online with the “Ghost Light Series,” and not a moment too soon — as much as play readings and star-studded concerts have been welcome, there is something to be said for the unique energy, and unpredictability, of outside-the-box Zoom performance. Getting things started is Tammy Faye Starlite, who is equal parts pop-music curator and theatrical performer (livestreaming Oct. 23, then on-demand; pangeanyc.com). The following week will see the return of Penny Arcade with the work-in-progress “Notes from the Underground” (live on Oct. 30).

A couple of blocks east of Pangea is the actor Alan Cumming’s raucous Club Cumming, which is also transferring its anything-goes attitude to the virtual realm. On Thursday, tune in for “Bette Bathhouse and Beyond: Live from Reflections, Fire Island,” in which Amber Martin channels Bette Midler at the Continental Baths in 1971. The drag queen Sharon Needles and a plethora of glamorous guests dress up for the Halloween special “Mask It or Casket” on Oct. 29 and 31. (All tickets at clubcummingnyc.com.)

Did we mention Halloween? This year you can binge at least two stage adaptations of the classic George Romero movie “Night of the Living Dead.” Already available is the British company Imitating the Dog’s production, “Night of the Living Dead Remix”, which juxtaposes the original movie and live video of the stage actors reenacting each shot. It is a technical tour de force that would make the Wooster Group blush with envy. (Available now at imitatingthedog.co.uk.)

Guaranteed to be different at least is the San Jose Stage Company’s new “virtual reimagining” of the film, using the original screenplay as a starting point. (Oct. 28-31; thestage.org.)

An upside of the pandemic is the opportunity to catch acclaimed productions you might have missed. Signature Theater is bringing back its revival of Suzan-Lori Parks’s “The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World AKA the Negro Book of the Dead” with a reunion reading. Two magic words: Roslyn Ruff. (Oct. 27-31; signaturetheatre.org.)

And the New Group is summoning a double bill of deeply unsettling Wallace Shawn plays: “Evening at the Talk House” (Oct. 28-Nov. 20; thenewgroup.org) with Matthew Broderick, Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker, followed by “Aunt Dan and Lemon” (Oct. 29-Nov. 9) with Kristen Johnson and Lili Taylor in the title roles.

Fact: The glam-rock-tinged “Candy Store,” from “Heathers: The Musical,” is one of the catchiest musical-theater songs of the 21st century. Now the fledgling Russo Richardson Productions, formed specifically to make online theater, is bringing back Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe’s show — which has become a viral hit since it played Off Broadway in 2014 — for a short virtual run. (Oct. 30-31; russorichardsonproductions.com.)

For crazed teen intensity, however, it’s hard to top “Carrie: The Musical,” which will be prominently featured in a new installment of the Theater Channel series. Linzi Hateley, who played Carrie on Broadway in 1988, comes back to sing “When There’s No One,” the big showstopper for Carrie’s mother. Songs from “Dracula” and “Jekyll and Hyde” round up the set list, so you can sense a programming theme. (Oct. 30; thetheatrecafe.co.uk.)

The Mint Theater continues to open its archives with its production of the obscure 1925 show “Conflict” — a hybrid of rom-com and political drama that, according to the New York Times review of the 2018 revival, makes a case for Miles Malleson “as a playwright of insight and wit and cool compassion.” (Through Nov. 1; minttheater.org.)

Also mining the past is Britain’s Lockdown Theater, Britain’s Lockdown Theater follows its readings of “Waiting for Godot” with Michael Palin and “Private Lives” with Emma Thompson with Tom Stoppard’s 1968 comedy about theater critics, “The Real Inspector Hound.” It’s got a whopper of a cast, led by Derek Jacobi, Simon Callow, Jennifer Saunders and Emilia Clarke. (Oct. 25; rtflockdown.com)

Since there is no physical limit to who can participate in a concert anymore, those events — especially the benefits — have gotten impressively large. For sheer wattage, it will be hard to do better than “In Our America: A Concert for the Soul of the Nation.” Organized by Broadway for Biden, the event, directed by Liesl Tommy, is so jam-packed with luminaries that we can’t list them all. Trust us: Everybody will be there. We suspect, though, that emotional high points might include Victoria Clark’s rendition of John Kander and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Cheering For Me Now,” a song from the extended “Hamilton” universe. (Oct. 21-Nov. 4; broadwayforbiden.com.)

There is something preternaturally soothing about Kelli O’Hara’s presence, and that is a quality we very much crave these days. Next week, O’Hara, backed by Ethan Lipton on piano, stars in a benefit concert for the New York Pops. The set list seems to stay on fairly familiar terrain — Rodgers and Hammerstein, some “Bridges of Madison County,” some “Evening Primrose” — but frankly, this sounds just about right. (Oct. 27-Nov. 3: newyorkpops.org.)

Craving the comfort of the American Songbook? More classics are on the way courtesy of the 92nd Street Y’s popular Lyrics & Lyricists program, which starts its virtual Preludes series with “George Gershwin: Bidin’ My Time.” (Oct. 26; 92y.org.)

Finally, on Saturday, Patti LuPone heads to the Shubert Virtual Studios to kick off the series “Live from the West Side: Women of Broadway,” which promises to mix songs and banter. Laura Benanti follows on Nov. 14 and Vanessa Williams on Dec. 5. Expect show tunes, pop songs and personal stories from each artist. Various institutions around the country are selling tickets as part of their virtual season. In the tristate area, for example, New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse is a presenter. (Performances are on-demand for 72 hours after the livestream; papermill.org.)

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