This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001


Who: Tim Curry, Wilmer Valderrama, Lance Bass, Rosario Dawson, Jason George, Nell Campbell, Seth Green, Jason Alexander, David Arquette, the Dresden Dolls, Miss Peppermint, Eiza Gonzalez, Josh Gad, Ben Barnes, Jenna Ushkowitz, Rachel Bloom, Karen Olivo, Marissa Jaret Winkour, Madison Uphoff, Kalen Chase, Rumer Willis
What: Livestreamed Halloween political fundraiser
Where: WisDems Zoom
When: Saturday, October 31, suggested donation $31, 10:00
Why: America is in danger of going through a perilous time warp if the current administration gets another four years in office, further setting back gains that have been made over decades toward freedom and equality for all. With that in mind, the Wisconsin Democratic Party has been on a fierce and furious drive to flip the swing state blue on election day with virtual cast reunions of Happy Days, The Princess Bride, Veep, and Superbad that have each raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. Next up is a celebration of the 1975 midnight cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a film that celebrates individuality and daring to be different. We might not be able to touch-a, touch-a, touch-a, touch one another, but we can reach out and come together online, and joining in the fun on Halloween night will be Dr. Frank N. Furter himself, Tim Curry, along with Wilmer Valderrama, Lance Bass, Rosario Dawson, Jason George, Nell Campbell, Seth Green, Jason Alexander, and David Arquette, with musical performances by the Dresden Dolls, Miss Peppermint, Eiza Gonzalez, reunion champ Josh Gad, Ben Barnes, Jenna Ushkowitz, Rachel Bloom, Karen Olivo, Marissa Jaret Winkour, Madison Uphoff, Kalen Chase, and Rumer Willis. The suggested donation is $31 for the one-time-only live event, but you can give any amount to watch the festivities and submit your own question, so as far as change goes, don’t just dream it, be it.


Audiences will have to imagine what castle looks like in audio adaptation of Dracula

Who: Norm Lewis, Lindsay Nicole Chambers, Siho Ellsmore, Chris Renfro, Dick Terhune, Stuart Williams, John Stimac
What: Virtual, immersive audio presentation of Dracula
Where: Resounding Live
When: Friday, October 20, and Saturday, October 31, $20, 8:00
Why: Because of the pandemic lockdown, theater creators have been looking at innovative ways to bring storytelling into people’s homes. One method that is making a comeback is the radio play. On October 30, Keen Company is performing Orson Welles’s iconic 1938 War of the Worlds radio script. Welles’s legacy also plays a part in Resounding’s audio production of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, inspired by Welles’s 1938 radio adaptation and utilizing cutting-edge proprietary technology that promises “to create a live 360-degree soundscape of howls, bats, screams, creaky floors, slamming doors, and everything that goes bump in the night.” Tony nominee Norm Lewis dons the cape as the bloodsucking count, with Lindsay Nicole Chambers as Mina Murray, Siho Ellsmore as Lucy Westenra, Chris Renfro as Jonathan Harker, Dick Terhune as Prof. Van Helsing, Stuart Williams as Dr. Seward, and John Stimac as Renfield, all performing live from wherever they’re sheltering in place.

“I’ve been thinking for the better part of a decade about how to leverage the internet to increase audience and participation in the theater in America and the world,” Resounding creative director Steve Wargo said in a statement. “My initial ideas were to re-create the style and substance of the broadcasts that Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre performed live on the radio in the late ’30s. Time passed, other projects came and went, then the pandemic hit, and this idea became front and center. We have an amazing team and now we have some fancy patent-pending new technology on our hands, something potentially revolutionary. And what better way to launch that with the great Norm Lewis as Dracula for Halloween.” In addition, New York City bartender Jena Ellenwood has curated cocktails to accompany the fifty-five-minute show; the audience is also encouraged to dress up for the event and post images to a virtual photo booth on Pinterest to form a unique community. Next up for Resounding are an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island November 27-28 and the world premiere of The Fantastical Tale of the Nutcracker and the Mouse King December 18-19.


Who: James Monroe Iglehart, Rafael Casal, Adrienne Warren, James Monroe Iglehart, Danny Burstein, Nik Walker, Lesli Margherita, Rob McClure, Kathryn Allison, Jenni Barber, Erin Elizabeth Clemons, Fergie L. Philippe, Jawan M. Jackson, Brian Gonzales
What: Livestreamed benefit concert
Where: the Actors Fund Vimeo channel
When: Saturday, October 31, $4.99, 7:00
Why: “Year after year, it’s the same routine / And I grow so weary of the sound of screams / And I, Jack, the Pumpkin King / Have grown so tired of the same old thing,” Skeleton Jack sings in Tim Burton’s 1993 animated classic, The Nightmare Before Christmas. In this horrific 2020, everyone will be lamenting the holiday, with no parade in the Village, no club parties and in-person costume contests, no bobbing for apples, and no trick-or-treating; the city is destined to be a lonely place on October 31. But there’s a lot happening online, including a benefit concert featuring Broadway stars performing Danny Elfman’s music from Nightmare. The all-star cast includes Rafael Casal as Jack, Adrienne Warren as Sally, James Monroe Iglehart as Oogie Boogie, Danny Burstein as Santa, Nik Walker as Lock, Leslie Margherita as Shock, and Rob McClure as Barrel, joined by Kathryn Allison, Jenni Barber, Erin Elizabeth Clemons, Fergie L. Philippe, Jawan M. Jackson, and Brian Gonzales. Tickets are only $4.99, with proceeds going to the Actors Fund and the Lymphoma Research Foundation.


Who: Tarik Davis, Micah Sherman, Paul(i) Reese, Mark Stetson, Steve Capps, Greg Kotis, Suni Reyes, Kristin Stokes, Priya Patel, Don P. Hooper, Kelly Aucoin
What: Virtual one-act horror play
Where: The Tank online
When: Saturday, October 31, $10-$125, 7:00
Why: Actor, filmmaker, comedian, and improv teacher Tarik Davis grew up on a diet of sci-fi and horror films on VCR in the 1980s and ’90s, resulting in, among other things, his making the award-winning 2017 short Page One, about danger on a movie set involving a Black actor whose character gets killed on the first page of the script and a white man playing a uniformed police officer. Davis has now returned to the horror genre with Host Invite, a work-in-progress he will be presenting on Halloween night through the Tank’s online portal. “The people who make theater with or without an actual theater are stronger than this damn virus will ever be,” Davis, who appeared on Broadway in Freestyle Love Supreme, noted on Facebook. “Artists are stronger than the forces of racism, fascism, unregulated capitalism, homophobia, transphobia, constitutional originalism. If ever there was a moment to make theater it’s THIS moment.”

The cast and crew for Host Invite includes director Micah Sherman, tech designer Paul(i) Reese, Mark Stetson, Steve Capps, Greg Kotis, Suni Reyes, Kristin Stokes, Priya Patel, Page One director Don P. Hooper, and Kelly Aucoin of Billions and The Americans. Part of the Tank Artists-in-Residence Program, the sixty-minute virtual play deals with a Zoom call and a whistleblower from the multinational conglomerate Tangle. “I had an overwhelming urge to figure out a way to get all the wonderful people who made my debut on Broadway such a dream paid,” Davis continued. “Art is work, work deserves compensation. ‘I’ll write a play for Zoom,’ I thought. And now here we are.” Tickets are pay-what-you-can-can, from $10 to $125.


Who: Jason Tam, Arnie Burton, Morgan Siobhan Green, Khiry Walker, Dan Domingues, Courtney Thomas, Jonathan Silverstein
What: Livestreamed version of classic Orson Welles radio broadcast and talkback
Where: Keen Company Hear/Now
When: Friday, October 30, $25, 8:00
Why: On October 30, 1938, Raymond Rocello and His Orchestra were performing over the Columbia Broadcasting System radio network from the Meridian Room at the Park Plaza Hotel in downtown Manhattan when a news bulletin broke in, announcing that there had been explosions on Mars, with objects now heading toward Earth. Believing that a Martian invasion was under way, Americans were in a panic and took to the streets and highways. They would eventually find out that it was merely an audio adaptation of H. G. Wells’s 1898 novel The War of the Worlds, with a script written by Howard Koch and directed by Orson Welles for his Mercury Theatre company. Eighty-two years later, with a pandemic and presidential election threatening the safety of the United States, New York’s Keen Company is presenting an all-star benefit livestream reading of the radio drama, featuring Jason Tam, Arnie Burton, Morgan Siobhan Green, Khiry Walker, Dan Domingues, and Courtney Thomas, with original music by Paul Brill. “Since the early days of the pandemic, I became increasingly obsessed with old time radio and the ways these early pioneers provoked their audience to use their imagination in new ways,” Keen artistic director Jonathan Silverstein said in a statement. “One of the greatest of these programs is Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds, which skillfully used ‘fake news’ to create real-life panic on October 30, 1938. I look forward to sharing this one-of-a-kind revival, which will not only entertain but also bring to light some eerily similar themes between its original broadcast and today.” Tickets for the one-night-only show, which will be followed by an interactive talkback, are $25, supporting such Keen initiatives as its Hear/Now audio programming, which will continue in February with Lucille Fletcher’s Sorry, Wrong Number, starring Marsha Mason, in addition to works by Pearl Cleage, Kate Cortesi, finkle, James Anthony Tyler, and Melissa Li and Kit Yan. What better way to prepare for a virtual Halloween?