How to See the World's Best Performances Without Leaving Portland

You don't have to travel to New York or London to see world-class theater, dance, and stars (hello, James Franco). You can see them at Portland cinemas. Here's the schedule.

By Matthew Schonfeld November 20, 2014

You don't have to drop a small fortune travelling to New York or London to see some of the world's greatest performances. The newest trend at the world's leading venues is to record those performances and beam them to your favorite theater.

You might ask, why would I want to watch live theater in a movie theater; doesn't that defeat the whole point of live theater? The answer is no. Multiple camera angles and close ups give you a view you'll never get at a live performance, but maintain the energy and beauty. And the $20-something ticket price is multitudes cheaper than the in-person thing.

Third Rail Repertory Theatre was the first local group to popularize the screenings, broadcasting shows from London's National Theatre with stars like Helen Mirren and Benedict Cumberbatch to great success (ticket sales have jumped from 850 in 2009 to more than 5000 last year). And now Fathom Events is bringing more NT Live shows, plus New York's Metropolitan Opera (which is the big pioneer of live broadcasts), London's Royal Ballet, and Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet.

Take a peek at our picks for the best live-streamed performances to see this season: 

James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Of Mice and Men Photo: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

National Theatre Live 
Our Pick:
NT Live: January 3 and 4 and February 8,
World Trade Center Theater
Currently playing at the Longacre Theatre in New York, this revival of John Steinbeck's novel stars James Franco as George and Chris O'Dowd as Lennie Small. Need we say more? Tickets $20

NT Live: November 23, World Trade Center Theater
Euripides' ancient Greek tragedy follows the fate of an exiled mother of two as she fights to stay close to her family. Helen McCrory (Hugo, Skyfall, The Queen, and currently burning down post-WWI England in Peaky Blinders) takes on the title role in this new take by playwright Ben Power, directed by Carrie Cracknell. The Telegraph said: "This ancient play still speaks to us with astonishing directness across the millennia in a raw 90-minute modern-dress production that never relaxes the dramatic tension. Ben Power’s translation has a stark eloquence without an ounce of fat on it, and that superb actress, Helen McCrory, gives the performance of her career as Medea." Tickets $20

NT Live: January 11 and 17, World Trade Center Theater 
British playwright David Hare's Skylight brings us into the London apartment of school teacher Kyra Hollis as she fields two unexpected guests from her past—Edward Sargeant and his father Tom. Hollis had lived with the Sargeants for many years and left abrupty after Tom's wife found out about their affair. The drama contemplates life and love in the most dysfunctional of families. Carey Mulligan, of The Great Gatsby and Inside Llewyn Davis, stars as Kyra Hollis. Tickets $20

NT Live: January 18 and 31, World Trade Center Theater
This is a new, innovative production brought to you by London's dance-integrated company DV8 Physical Theatre. John depicts a string of real life stories compiled through a series of interviews by company Artistic Director Lloyd Newson. The performance uses movement and spoken word to represent stories of love, betrayal, drug abuse, and mystery. Tickets $20

Treasure Island
NT Live: Febuary 1 and March 14, World Trade Center Theater
Robert Louis Stevenson's time-honored novel has been adapted for the stage by British playwright Bryony Lavery. The coming-of-age adventure follows young Jim as he finds himself at the hands, and mercy, of a treasure chest and the many who quest for it. Tickets $20

A shot of Isabele Leonard on the Metropolitan Opera House stage.

The Metropolitan Opera 
Our pick:  
Fathom: November 22 and 26, Lloyd Center 10 & Century 16 Eastport 
Gioachino Rossini 1816 opera pulls from a Beaumarchais comedy and depicts Count Almaviva's undercover quest to woo the town doctor's daughter, Rosina. This Metropolitan Opera House performance features an illustrious cast including Argentinean-born Isabele Leonard, who has been with the Met Opera since 2007, performing Il Barbiere Di Siviglia for over two years. Alongside Leonard is award-wining tenor Lawrence Brownlee. The piece is conducted by Italy's Michele Mariotti, who is in his second season at the Metropolitan Opera House. $24 Tickets

Die Meistersinger Von Nürnberg
Fathom: December 13 and 17, Lloyd Center 10 & Century 16 Eastport 
Richard Wagner's German opera presents the story of two lovesick teenagers, Walther von Stolzing and Eva Pogner, who are forced to fight the impending reality of an unwanted arranged marriage—and at four-plus hours, clocks in as one of the longest operas still performed. $24 Tickets

The Royal Ballet and the bolshoi ballet

Beatriz Stix-Brunell as Alice in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Royal Ballet © ROH / Johan Persson 2013

Our Pick: 
Fathom: December 16, Regal Lloyd Center 10 Cinema & Ceder Hills Crossing 
The Royal Ballet's production of Christopher Wheeldon's ballet reimagines Lewis Carroll's wonderful children's story with a lightheartedness rarely seen on the classical stage. The extravagant performance premiered in 2011 with an elaborate set design, video production, and surrealist illusions. As one of the most modern and daring ballets performed by the Royal Ballet in the last decade, Alice's Adventures In Wonderland is a truly exceptional production. $18 Tickets 

The Nutcracker
Fathom: December 21, Regal Lloyd Center 10 Cinema & Ceder Hills Crossing
If you have yet to see this fairytale holiday staple, don't miss the Yuri Grigorovich choreographed performance straight from Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre stage. $18 Tickets

Filed under
Show Comments