Plum Viewing

Welcome to the latest edition of Plum Viewing, my weekly roundup of arts and culture to view online.

Well, lovely readers, Mr. Fairs and I did indeed have lunch out on a patio last week and it was as delightful as I remembered it being. Sheer bliss. We even treated ourselves to an adult beverage because, as Mr. Fairs pointed out, we must never take this for granted again.

So with that, here are this week’s picks!

Last week we ended with the Stratford Festival so it feels only right to start with them this week. Last night, we were treated to a sneak peek of their spectacular new venue, the Tom Patterson Theatre. This project was started years before the pandemic and was meant to have its grand debut last year. Alas… it was more than worth the wait. Until we can get there in person, here’s a video to give us a sense of what to expect.

Under the wonderful direction of Antoni Cimolino and Anita Gaffney, we have so many more years of incredible theatre to enjoy in this space. Now, there is a cause for celebration!

And speaking of celebrations, dozens of Broadway stars will come together to sing the title songs from over 20 beloved musicals in Show of Titles, a special benefit for the Actors Fund. The concert will be livestreamed on June 13 at 8 pm ET and will be available for viewing for a limited time.

Here’s who we’ll see: Annaleigh Ashford, Glenn Close, Len Cariou, Darren Criss, Santino Fontana, Kelsey Grammar, David Alan Grier, Jake Gyllenhaal, Joshua Henry, Isabelle Huppert, Norm Lewis, Patti LuPone, Rob McClure, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Melba Moore, Jessie Mueller, Eva Noblezada, Kelli O’Hara, Laura Osnes, Steven Pasquale, Michael Rupert, Ernie Sabella, Lea Salonga, Phillipa Soo, Will Swenson, Aaron Tveit, Leslie Uggams, Vanessa Williams, and Patrick Wilson. Wow, I am exhausted just reading this!

You can purchase tickets for the show or if you can’t make the show itself, you can enjoy the specially created playlist featuring these gems. Learn more here.

The Festival of Live Digital Art, which is based in Kingston, Ontario, as Kelly Nestruck of Canada’s Globe and Mail rightly pointed out, is the one festival that never needed to pivot. It is currently running with a line-up of seven powerful performances. Here’s one that caught my eye, Frequencies, which you can see on Saturday from 7 pm ET.

A 70-minute solo show, it is described as a mixed reality performance delivered by musician Aaron Collier directly to his partner Sylvia Bell, who is wearing a VR headset with a camera mounted on the front. As audience members, we experience the show through Bell’s eyes — an intimate connection with Collier and his music augmented with magical digital scenography. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here.

Now, we can all relate to this: the relationship between mothers and daughters. Oh, the books that have been written and the therapy bills paid on this topic! Well the good folks at MCC feel as though we’ve suffered enough, so they are giving us Margaret and Rita to view for free.

Premiering today, it is the story of Margaret, who inherits an ice cream shop and spends the summer scooping 12 flavors in Long Island with her daughter, Rita. Estranged relationships are suddenly brought into close proximity and loose ends begin to tangle once again. It starts streaming on Friday, June 11 at 6 pm ET and you can sign up here.

New York City Ballet closed its digital season this week with a very grand finale: George Balanchine’s Vienna Waltzes. With nearly 50 dancers on stage, this performance celebrated the enduringly romantic dance of this revered composer. Their journey takes us from the waltz’s folk origins, to a decadent fin de siecle cafe, to a glamorously mirrored ballroom representing the height of the dance’s popularity. Magnificent!

It is available to view for free until June 17. You can find it here.

And, let’s end on another high. Broadway is opening and I think the only other people more excited than us dear readers might be Jimmy Fallon and Lin Manuel Miranda. Here’s a clip of them performing a song from every musical they can’t wait see (and they have a few ‘special guests’ joining them!) Oh, this makes my heart very happy indeed. It’s coming!!

See you next week my lovely readers!

And, an ask: While we’re enjoying these wonderful performances, let’s remember that for the arts organizations producing this incredible content, this is their livelihood; not a hobby. If we can, now is our time to continue to support our incredible arts community!

And, if you’d like to receive Plum Viewing weekly, send me a note at maggiefairs@gmail.com and I will add you to my mailing list.

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