McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton had planned to bring a staged reading of "The Manic Monologues," a collection of stories from people struggling with mental illness, as part of its 2019-2020 season, but the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting shut-down of public performances threatened to keep it from moving forward.

As performing arts ensembles moved their performances online in the wake of venue closures due to Covid-19, many are discovering that their reach now goes far beyond their traditional audiences. This has opened up new possibilities, and this Saturday (1/23 at 7 pm) A Tempo highlights a partnership between the Princeton Symphony Orchestra and the Buskaid Soweto String Ensemble to present five of Buskaid's concerts online.

As opera companies roll out 2021 programming, many of the productions were totally conceived of and created in the era of Covid-19, with its restrictions on live performances and the shift to screens and devices. A Tempo this Saturday (1/9 at 7 pm) looks at some upcoming events at Opera Philadelphia and Prototype 2021 Festival. Host Rachel Katz will speak with Opera Philadelphia General Director David Devan about its upcoming showing of Lee Hoiby's Bon Appetit, starring Jamie Barton as Julia Child, which is also serving as a fundraiser and runs Jan.

The Broadway musical called "The Prom" looks at a tiny town where the senior prom is cancelled after a lesbian student says she intends to bring her girlfriend as her date. Now the show has been turned into a star-studded musical for Netflix. Hear Theater Critic Howard Shapiro's review of the film this week on In a Broadway Minute, Friday (12/11) at 8 am and Saturday (12/12) at 10 am.

Many performing arts organizations have had to re-think their annual holiday traditions, including Messiah performances and family concerts, because of the restrictions on live performances and public gatherings during the Covid-19 pandemic. A Tempo this Saturday (12/12 at 7 pm) checks in with Trinity-Wall Street and the Philadelphia Orchestra to learn about their revised and re-imagined plans for holiday specials.

Photo by Jorge Cousineau

Since 1992, Westminster Choir College has brought music of the season to the community through its annual Readings and Carols, which has become a highly anticipated part of the holiday season for those in the Princeton, NJ area. This year has brought challenges to the school, including its move by Rider University to Rider's Lawrenceville campus and restrictions on large gatherings and live performances.

Amitava Sarkar

When Dallas Black Dance Theatre's Academy first created its Espresso Nutcracker in 2018, bringing together parts of the Tchaikovsky ballet with Duke Ellington's jazz-infused Nutcracker Suite, it quickly had to expand the production as venues sold out amid popular demand for tickets. This year it will continue its tradition with a virtual production, mixing video from past performances with newly recorded selections.

Joan Marcus

As Covid-19 began its surge last March, American Ballet Theater quickly brought its education programs online, including dance instruction and ABTKids Daily - five days of content a week that brings ballet and related concepts to young audiences. That was followed during the ensuing months with other virtual programs from its dancers that kept the company engaged with its existing, and new-found, audiences.

Photo by Matthew Murphy

Photo from TheaterWorks Hartford

Joan Marcus

Meredith Whitefield

As the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra adapts to social distancing restrictions, it has unveiled a revised season that maintains its mission to feature its musicians around the state performing a diverse repetoire, including some new and contemporary works reflecting current-day discussions of race and social justice.

Joan Marcus

Photos courtesy of Susan Kander

Behind the news headlines and social discussions of inequality and discrimination - ranging from incidents of police brutality to all-too-common everyday examples of bias - lie some very fraught decisions and emotions faced by Black parents as they raise their children and prepare them to go out into the world as young adults. Some of these reflections came up during conversations between composer Susan Kander and soprano Roberta Gumbel, and the result is the chamber opera dwb (driving while black).

Photo by Rafael Estaban Phillips

Photo by Allan Warren

As pianist Yael Weiss looked ahead to Beethoven's 250th Anniversary, she asked composers from conflict-torn countries around the world to create works inspired by his piano sonatas and tied together by a motif from the Dona nobis Pacem from his Missa Solemnis. The composers hailed from countries inlcuding Ghana, Iran, and Jordan, to the Philippines, Syria, and Venezuela, and Weiss began touring with her project, called "32 Bright Clouds," in 2018.

Photo courtesy of Curve Theatre

Photo courtesy Olney Theatre Center