Bay Area Theater

Theatre Update April 1, 2020

KPFA theatre critic Richard Wolinsky updates the state of Bay Area theatre and gives a listing of on-line streaming theatre, both local and national.

Text of update.

During times of stress, live theatre has been out front, enhancing community, relieving anxiety, and pointing the way to better futures. Now, of course, audiences are sitting in their homes, and theatres around the world are shuttered.


Cal Shakes, California Shakespeare Theatre, has cancelled its entire 2020 season The final plays from Bay Area companies of the 2019-2020 season have already been cancelled or will be cancelled as social distancing most likely continues into the summer.


But live theatre does go on, or at least recordings of live theatre, which can be seen by accessing your Roku, your Apple TV, your smart television, or your laptop, tablet or cell phone.


In the Bay Area. Berkeley Rep, Marin Theatre Company and Theatreworks Silicon Valley have all presented their most recent productions, streaming, to ticket buyers, with limited additional purchase days. ACT’s two shows, Gloria and Toni Stone, are still streaming this week. Tickets can be purchased through late in the day April 3rd and streaming ends on April 5th. Go to for more information.


Around the Bay, The Magic Theatre is offering a daily mini-podcast with various playwrights through soundcloud. Go to Marin Theatre Company continues to offer its most recent production, Love. For more information, go to Shotgun in Berkeley is planning a series of podcasts of plays and artist interviews, dates undetermined. For more information, go to Theatre Rhino has been presenting live one-man productions with John Fisher on Facebook Live, including streaming his recent show at The Marsh, Radical. For up to date information and tickets go to


Moving outside the Bay Area. London’s famed National Theatre is streaming free one play each week, all week, starting this Thursday with One Man, Two Guvnors starring James Corden, followed on subsequent Thursdays by Jane Eyre and Treasure Island, with Twelfth Night starring Tamsin Greig beginning April 23rd. You can find those plays on the National Theatre You Tube channel.


Terrence McNally, one of the first casualties of Covid-19, is being honored by LA TheatreWorks with an audio-only recording of Lips Together, Teeth Apart at A 2018 documentary on the famed playwright, Every Act of Life, is available at Amazon Prime., which also has film versions of The Ritz, and Frankie and Johnny, and a documentary on Corpus Christi.


The Public Theater is streaming it’s free Shakepseare in the Park production of Much Ado About Nothing, at, The Metropolitan Opera is streaming, free one opera a day from its 14 year series of theatrical recordings, starting at 7:30 pm and continuing to 6:30 the next day. Go to the Met Opera on Demand app on Roku or Apple TV or Samsung smart TVS, click browse and preview or explore the app on tablets and cell phones to access without logging in.

For dance fans, Aivin Ailey. Org is streaming full length works, dance classes and short films.


Moving into subscription services, you can watch plays first aired on Great Performances if you’re a KQED subscriber, on the PBS app. Many of those same plays, plus many more, can be seen on the BroadwayHD app. That app has a seven day free trial period before paid subscriptions kick in.


Amazon Prime also has a pretty fair selection, though you have to go down several rabbit holes to get there. Netflix is more spotty, focusing mostly on films and TV shows. You Tube also has several full performances and recordings as well, but like Amazon Prime, it requires some effort to find them, and you have to make sure you’re getting the full play, and not a short clip.


Moving forward, most of the Bay Area theatre companies have released their upcoming schedules for the fall. BroadwaySF just sent out information to subscribers about its next season, which includes Hadestown, Moulin Rouge and To Kill a Mockingbird.


Right now, though, we all have to live day by day, and keep our fingers crossed that we will have live theatre back on the baords in the late summer and fall. I’m Richard Wolinsky on theatre for KPFA.