Ever since the spread of the new coronavirus led to event cancellations across the United States and beyond, many musicians and other performers have moved their events online. Last week, for example, New York City’s Metropolitan Opera began streaming a new opera every night—and that continues this week, with a week of Wagner. Meanwhile, other events keep springing up, from theatrical premieres to social-distancing dance parties.
Below are the free events and livestreams we’re most excited about this week.
Singalong With Broadway Tunes
Marie’s Crisis Café—the West Village piano bar where musical lovers go to sing along with their favorite show tunes—emanates one of the most palpable senses of community I’ve found in a public space in New York. No matter who you are or how often you go, you can’t help but feel like you’re a part of something bigger than yourself when you’re uninhibitedly belting out “One Day More” or “Defying Gravity” alongside friends and strangers alike. In our socially distanced environment, I’m excited and heart-warmed to tap into that feeling of community, celebration, and resilience inherent in both LGBTQ culture and theater history. You can’t stop the beat, indeed. —Megan Kallstrom
Michael Chabon Reads You Bedtime Stories
Last week, the Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Michael Chabon started a series called simply “Story Time With Michael Chabon,” in which he reads children’s books aloud on YouTube and Instagram Live. The first story, posted on Wednesday, was The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man, which Chabon wrote himself. He has since streamed a new reading every evening, including classics like Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion and The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. Chabon reads each story slowly and enthusiastically, performing distinct voices for each character and pausing between pages to hold the illustrations up to the camera the way an elementary school teacher would when reading to a class.
The delight that Chabon takes in these stories is evident. He chuckles and gasps at all the right moments. Though clearly intended for children, the videos are just as engaging for adults. At this moment, when school closings have left so many parents struggling to find ways to educate and entertain their kids in isolation, Chabon’s stories offer an alternative to movies and video games. While they aren’t all that long—about 15 minutes a pop—Chabon hopes they will provide exhausted parents with a bit of relief. As he said in his first stream, “Perhaps there are a lot of parents out there—moms, dads, caretakers—who could use a little help with story time right now.” —Cornelia Channing
The 92nd Street Y’s Read By Series
When: Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, starting tonight
Where: The 92Y Archives website
In times of stress, when we are all trying very hard to be calm, responsible adults, there is something extra-appealing about returning to the great childhood pleasure of being read to. New York institution 92Y has recognized this and will be presenting a podcast in which “today’s finest writers read the work that matters to them—from their homes, to yours.” Upcoming writer-readers include Elif Batuman, Billy Collins, Rachel Cusk, Jonathan Franzen, Lauren Groff, Ann Patchett, George Saunders, James Shapiro, Gary Shteyngart, and Colm Tóibín. You’ll find new episodes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at the 92Y Archives website. —June Thomas
Dan Smith Teaches You Guitar
When: Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. EDT
Where: Instagram Live
If you’ve spent enough time in New York City, you’ve seen his face and you know his message: Dan Smith Will Teach You Guitar. And apparently, Dan Smith—he of the ubiquitous flyers—is real! And this week, he will teach you guitar, via Instagram Live. Grab your guitar and join him Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. EDT. —Chau Tu
An Accomplished Pianist Reimagines Sondheim
When: 3 p.m. EDT on Sunday
Where: Streaming live on the 92nd Street Y’s website
Cost: Free (donations encouraged)
In 2015, contemporary pianist Anthony de Mare released a triple album titled Liaisons: Re-Imagining Sondheim From the Piano, featuring mostly instrumental performances of classic Stephen Sondheim standards newly interpreted by luminaries of many genres including Steve Reich, Wynton Marsalis, and Fred Hersch. In celebration of Sondheim’s 90th birthday, de Mare is continuing the project with his own livestream on Sunday from the 92nd Street Y, performing songs from the original album as well as selections from a new collection. —Nitish Pahwa
See something else you think we should include, either this week or in a future week’s roundup? Tweet us at @SlateCulture. We’ll do our best to keep this page updated.