8 Virtual Theater Experiences to Keep on Your Radar

Until theaters once again open their doors to patrons, here are some ways to engage with the performing arts from home.

virtual theater
Photo by Gwen Ong on Unsplash

Sadly, theatergoers cannot currently gather under a glowing marquee excitedly awaiting admittance to a new production. Always poised to adapt, however, New Jersey theaters have found ways to ensure the show goes on by offering engaging virtual content.

Paper Mill Playhouse

The Millburn theater presents a special live-streaming event from their Humanities Symposium Program. Every Thursday at 7 pm, tune into the theater’s Facebook page for performance videos from their vault, featuring Paper Mill and Broadway stars. Scheduled through June 11, these symposiums let patrons enjoy a night at the theater straight from their couch. (If you missed last week’s two-hour video, check it out here.) This week’s episode on April 16 features the creators of Applause on the set in 1996. Next week’s episode on April 23 focuses on the making of Victor/Victoria in 2000.

State Theatre New Jersey

The historic New Brunswick theater, a former vaudeville/silent-film house that opened in 1921, has launched the Online Culture Fix, a theater hub for all ages. Do you know what a hemp house is? What about a ghost light? Test your knowledge of theater facts. Listen to podcast interviews and read Q&As with past performers. Learn more about past productions through resources called Keynotes. These study guides provide in-depth information, fun facts and activities. View sessions of Milk & Cookies, a storytelling and music series for young children. Enjoy musical performances from artists-in-residence, watch a time-lapsed video of a production day, take quizzes and more.

Mayo Performing Arts Center 

The Morristown nonprofit theater’s new Virtual Arts webpage is updated daily with plenty of videos for patrons to watch from local, national and international performing artists. Watch original Facebook Live concerts every Friday at 12:30. This week, hear Lauren Davidson. Next week, country duo October Rose will perform. Remember the good old days when we sat on the Morristown Green and enjoyed concerts in the summer air? Enjoy archival footage from these musical performances.

New Jersey Performing Arts Center 

NJPAC in Your Living Room, is an online portal offering live original content as well as a curated collection of past performances, programming and workshops for children. Explore videos of music, theater and dance performances. As part of the programming, NJPAC will host a live DJ Dance Party every Thursday, from 7–9 pm on Facebook.

Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey

Go down memory lane with artistic director Bonnie J. Monte in her new diary series—”our humble and small gift to you in these difficult times,” she writes. In her second virtual entry, Monte details the day she showed her parents the theater for the first time, in October 1990. “While I was certainly not blind to the many defects and issues that the 100-year-old gymnasium/make-shift theatre presented, I was in a state of ‘seeing double,'” she writes. “I also saw, simultaneously, a vision of what it could be and how I could transform it.” One way the director has transformed the company over her 30-year tenure is by acquiring the behind-the-scenes “theater factory.”

Jersey City Theater Center

The organization’s newly launched JCTC Conversations: Voices From Around The World is a weekly online series that unites international artists with those from the Jersey City community. These interactive experience include performances, interviews and discussion. Participating musicians, poets, spoken-word artists, singer-songwriters and actors will broadcast live via Zoom meetings. Audience members will be able to join the conversation. This week’s conversation, on April 17 at 2 pm, is focused on resilience. Check the Jersey City Theater Center’s Facebook page for Zoom meeting info. 

New Jersey Repertory Company

The Long Branch–based professional, nonprofit theater is offering a Beyond the Curtain video series. In each two-minute video, a playwright or director reflects on their time working with NJ Rep. One of our favorite videos features playwright Robert Caisley; he reads a portion of the script for his 2013 play Happy and gets choked up as he explains “what it means to not have our theaters in the United States open to the public now.”

McCarter Theatre Center

Connect with the Princeton theater through [email protected], a virtual center offering classes, interviews, play-reading groups and behind-the-scenes videos. Watch for a weekly email with the latest info.

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