Falling For Guild Hall

A cornucopia of live and recorded performances
“The Exterminating Angel” was one of the most anticipated operas of the year, as can be surmised by this scene from Act III. Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

Guild Hall will greet late fall and the holiday season with a combination of live, recorded, and simulcast entertainment, including this season’s most talked about opera and a holiday sing-along. The new season will also involve a partnership with BroadwayHD, which will transmit performances from “the Great White Way” directly to Guild Hall’s theater.

Thomas Ades’s “The Exterminating Angel,” which was co-commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera, had its American premiere last Thursday and will be simulcast at Guild Hall on Nov. 18. The opera is based on the Luis Bunuel and Luis Alcoriza film of the same title and features the unusual music of tiny violins, a salad bowl, and a slamming door. Mr. Ades is conducting the opera. The libretto is in English and will be sung by an ensemble cast, several of them making their Met debuts. The New York Times has already declared in a review that this is the one opera to see this year.

Sam Shepard’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Buried Child” will be the first play screened by BroadwayHD, on Nov. 17. The New Group revival stars Ed Harris and Amy Madigan and is directed by Scott Elliott. The plot centers around a fractured family’s struggles to keep their farm and the secret they have long guarded. Reviews of the play have praised Mr. Harris’s performance, and The New York Times called the production “thoughtful and absorbing.”

Another big-screen event coming to Guild Hall is National Theatre Live’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” by Edward Albee, starring Imelda Staun­ton, Conleth Hill, Luke Treadway, and Imogen Poots, on Nov. 11. Set on an American college campus, a new professor and his wife are witness to the dysfunctional relationship of George and Martha and the alcohol-fueled night of reckoning for their unraveling relationship. The Guardian gave this production five stars.

It will be followed by Stephen Sondheim’s “Follies” on Dec. 15. The musical is set in 1971 New York, where a theater is about to be torn down. A group of women who performed there as Follies girls three decades before reunite over drinks to reminisce, sing some songs, and tell some tall tales about their lives since. The cast includes Tracie Bennett, Janie Dee, and Imelda Staunton. The screened performances range in price from $15 to $22. 

Several live JDT Lab events are scheduled for the coming weeks, too. The free Tuesday night performances of works in process continue this week with a staged reading of “Ancient History” by David Ives. The fast-paced comedy will be performed by Stephanie Linas and Daniel Schwartz, who will debate marriage and family as a linguistic duel. 

On Nov. 21, “Gutless & Grateful,” written and performed by Amy Oestreicher, will tell her story of harrowing medical experiences and miraculous survival. Part of a national tour, the production was chosen for Thanksgiving week because of its hopeful and grateful message. Also timed for the holidays is “A Christmas Sing-Along and Musicale” by the Johansen-Markard Piano Duo on Dec. 12. The curtain for all JDT Lab events is at 7:30 p.m.