Stream Kinky Boots Netflix alternative

Miss Broadway? You can stream hit shows like Kinky Boots in your pj’s. (BroadwayHD)

The need for good entertainment feels more important now than ever for New Yorkers thanks to quarantine living. And after binging Netflix and Hulu in glorious excess, you’re probably in the market for some new options. Luckily, many incredible establishments in New York City — and around the world — have gone virtual during this crisis, giving us access to top-notch plays, films, music, dance, discussions, and even parties. You probably never imagined streaming a heart-wrenching opera while dressed in an onesie. Or wildly applauding an all-star Shakespeare in the Park cast from the comfort of your living room (where another glass of wine need not wait for intermission). During such disconcerting times, indulge in the myriad virtual offerings and stay safe with these 15 Netflix alternatives to watch right now.

See a Classic Revamped During Shakespeare in the Park

Public Theater Netflix Alternative

The Public Theater is open for business online. (Getty Images)

Never snagged tickets to last summer’s Shakespeare in the Park? Danielle Brooks and company brought down the house in an exuberant, modern-day production of Much Ado About Nothing. And you can now stream it  —without pitching a tent outside Central Park’s Delacorte Theater at pre-dawn! If you missed this hilarious, innovative show the first time around, or just want to see it again, now’s your big chance. And the Public Theater — the arts organization behind Shakespeare in the Park — has a slew of other virtual offerings for you to binge watch, including The Gabriels, a three-part play by Tony-winning director and writer Richard Nelson. 

Classy Netflix Alternative: Get Cozy with The Metropolitan Opera

Whether you’re already an opera buff or just dipping your toes into this musical form, you should take advantage of The Metropolitan Opera’s nightly livestream. This iconic New York institution announced its “Nightly Met Opera Streams” every evening at 7:30 EST, for the duration of the COVID-19 closure. Each production will remain available and on their homepage for 23 hours. And if you’re itching to be serenaded by more incredible operas, consider subscribing to the Met Opera On Demand, which boasts more than 700 performances. 

Binge-Watch Your Favorite Broadway Shows

There’s nothing quite like the glitz and glam of a Broadway production, and now you can enjoy more than 300 show-stoppers with subscription service BroadwayHD. Instead of vying for rush tickets or shelling out your life savings to get close to the action, experience these top-notch theater productions from home. Featuring everything from the ethereal An American in Paris to the iconic Cats to the romantic Miss Saigon, Broadway HD has become a much-needed resource when Times Square feels about as far away as France or Vietnam. Not sure if at-home Broadway is your entertainment of choice? You can start with a seven-day free trial, and commit to a monthly or yearly subscription once you’re hooked. Trust, this may become your favorite Netflix alternative!

…And At-Home Clips From Theater Stars

If you don’t want a whole performance but are still looking to jam alongside Broadway royalty, check out Broadway World’s Living Room Concert series. Catch these divas belting out show tunes from their homes, occasionally battling technical difficulties, and sharing some much-needed emotional support. This is a great Netflix alternative for those who crave a small dose of reality television.

Support Indie Movie Theaters by Renting Films

Film Forum Streaming Event

Now streaming: must-see indies at Film Forum.

One of NYC’s greatest cultural joys is the abundance of intriguing, innovative, independent films screened at equally quirky local indie theaters. Continue to watch these incredible movies — often ones that would never make it into blockbuster-only movie theaters — online. New York indies like the West Village’s Film Forum Virtual Cinema and The Angelika Film Center offer a selection of rentals, with 50% of the proceeds going directly back to the theaters. The best part? No loud popcorn chewers or texting-during-the-movie culprits — unless, of course, the offender is coming from inside the house. 

Listen to Live Show Tunes at Marie’s Crisis

Marie's Crisis Cafe is live streaming

This NYC Piano Bar is broadcasting on Facebook. (Marie’s Crisis Cafe)

Legendary piano bar Marie’s Crisis has taken its raucous evenings virtual. Known for epic show-tune singalongs, the musicians from this funky dive bar now host Virtual Piano Bar Live sessions through their Facebook page. Although it’s a private group, anyone can join by merely requesting entrance and sharing their favorite show tune with admins. The team posts their nightly lineup daily, which you can catch on Facebook or Instagram

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Check Out the Social Distancing Festival

Netflix Alternative Social Distancing Festival

Verlaine & McCann’s Through The Looking Glass: The Burlesque Alice In Wonderland. (Social Distancing Festival)

The pandemic has impacted creatives across mediums, and the Social Distancing Festival has compiled an impressive list of livestream events that have gone virtual during COVID-19. Explore the festival’s calendar, which is teeming with music, theater, comedy, art, film, talks, and more. Since the site features online events across the world and time zones, chances are you’ll find something for any interest. That might be an ensemble concert from Scotland to start your day, an interactive storytelling event in Atlanta to pre-game dinner, or a concert performed right here in NYC to wrap up the evening. All of the featured events not only support the global artistic community but also make social distancing feel a lot more interesting. 

Watch Author Q&As at McNally Jackson

Local bookstore favorite McNally Jackson has taken its popular author discussions and events online. Although McNally’s cozy café might be closed at the moment, feel free to bring your own beverage and enjoy these chats with writers across genres. And if you’re looking for some good reads to accompany your quarantine, peruse the bookstore’s website, as they’re still selling books online and can ship to your home. Remember, reading is an excellent Netflix alternative that exercises the brain. Local author Emma Straub’s Brooklyn-based Books Are Magic also has a robust virtual events calendar and is similarly processing and shipping online orders, as are a ton of other incredible indie shops.

Magnet Theater Improv Shows

The Magnet is already beloved across NYC improv and sketch circles, and comedy aficionados can now enjoy these hilarious performances virtually. Unlike many of the other cultural institutions that have transitioned to online, the Magnet is still putting on its shows live — albeit from their respective Zoom frames — with certain sketch groups experimenting with pre-recording specific segments to bolster the overall experience. The theater, which is also known for its incredible training programs, has also started to offer virtual pay-what-you-can workshops for those who want to get their creative juices flowing. “While in lockdown, our goal is to keep our community connected and help people find ways to stay creative,” explains the Magnet’s Artistic Director, Michael Lutton. And all proceeds from shows and classes go directly back to the amazing Magnet teachers who are out of work right now. 

Unique Netflix Alternative: Do Stuff…at Home

You might already know Do Stuff, a network of city-based media platforms that share all of the best ways to get out there and do fun things, like local concerts and parties. To help flatten the curve, its team has wholeheartedly changed its messaging to Do Stuff [At Home] and has compiled digital events New Yorkers should know about. For those extroverts out there — or really anyone who wants to spend a few hours bopping around in a virtual dance party — they’re also featuring events like Le Poisson Rouge’s Thursday Freedom Party NYC

Get Serenaded By Classical Music


The world-renowned New York Philharmonic has also hopped on the digital bandwagon with NY Phil Plays On, a new portal for classical music. This hub contains a wide selection of performances, archive highlights, and even new footage of these ultra-talented musicians performing in their own homes. If you’re already a classic music superfan, or just looking to watch and listen to some superb music (pro tip: it’s a great WFH soundtrack), you won’t be disappointed by the Philharmonic’s ever-expanding online resources.  

Enjoy Dance Theater with Ailey All Access

Alvin Ailey streaming classes

Midtown’s Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has an array of exciting options for online viewing, including one full-length performance, updated weekly. The studio is also taking advantage of this unprecedented time to showcase its dancers’ stories, with live Instagram conversations on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 1 p.m. For those looking for a more interactive experience, Ailey Extension also has a plethora of online classes

Binge Watch the Happenings at 92Y


Finished Netflix? Catch up with the Schitt’s Creek cast. (92Y)

The 92nd Street Y has long been an integral space for concerts, intellectual discussions, and all sorts of other wonderful NYC gatherings. Luckily, it’s still serving the community with live events like classes and concerts and workshops. It also has a robust archive collection, featuring discussions and comedy and everything in between. It’s the type of collection you could peruse for hours, days, weeks — perfect for a time of self-isolation. Our favorite picks? A conversation with Bill Hader and John Mulaney, and the cast of Schitt’s Creek reminiscing with moderator Richard Lawson from Vanity Fair.

Tip Your Waitstaff Comedy

Comedian Mike Birbiglia recently started Tip Your Waitstaff, a daily Instagram comedy special to raise money for many of the unemployed comedians out there. Birbiglia hosts the events on his Instagram every day at 2 p.m., each featuring a different comedian, which remain available for 24 hours. The accompanying Tip Your Waitstaff website links out directly to gofundme pages for a slew of comedy clubs so that viewers can support their favorite places with donations. Past guests have included John Mulaney, Nikki Glaser, and Maria Bamford — tune in to find out who’s up next. 

Enjoy Productions From Across the Pond

Although we want to support our local businesses and artists here in New York, we’d be remiss not to mention that going virtual means we can now enjoy culture from just about anywhere. And what better way to take advantage of that than London’s fabulous West End theater scene? The U.K.’s National Theatre London is offering full-length plays for free, available for one week, and updated every Thursday at 7 p.m. UK time. Perfect for anyone simultaneously dreaming of future travel and looking for some quality entertainment right here and now. 

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