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Daily distraction: Catch a Broadway show, explore the Met and give back

Welcome to your daily distraction, our recommendations for ways to stay engaged and entertained while we socially distance ourselves to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak. You can find our past recommendations here; many of the opportunities we’ve highlighted are ongoing.

It’s Sunday. Tomorrow, the new week begins, as does — again — the difficult balance of home life and work that’s now the norm for many of us. Today’s recommendations for how to expand your world beyond the boundaries of your living room are designed to provide an extra sense of peace to prepare you for the week ahead.

1) Take a free trip to Broadway

BroadwayHD, a streaming service with an admirable library of recent hits and older classics, has begun offering free 7-day trials. (In order to access them you have to sign up for a subscription, but you can cancel before the trial ends to avoid a charge.) For those with kids, try out “Peter Pan,” “The Wind in the Willows” or “The Sound of Music.” For adults, there are the gorgeously escapist musicals “An American in Paris” and “The King and I,” among many others, but our first recommendation would be to stream three Shakespearean dramas directed by the British standout Phyllida Lloyd and starring all-female casts: “Julius Caesar,” “The Tempest” and “Henry IV.”

2) Take a digital saunter through the Met

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced that it will likely remain closed until at least June. But you can still take advantage of its world-class art galleries. We’re particularly fond of the “Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History,” which lets you learn about different kinds of art through over 8,000 objects paired with interpretive essays, and “The Artist Project,” a series of videos in which artists roam the Met halls and discourse on artistic styles they find influential. For a home base, refer to the “Primer,” a new guide to how best to experience the exhibits online.

3) Support struggling artists

Whenever I’m upset, my brother gives me a piece of very good advice: Do something nice for yourself, and then do something nice for someone else. He’s always right — no matter what, paying it forward helps me out of any emotional tangle. Most everyone in the country is struggling right now, but artists are in a particularly difficult place. With pretty much every cultural institution closed, workers who deal every day with economically precarious, contract-based industries are in serious need. So, if you can afford to, give thanks for the cultural bounty now available online by helping out some of the workers and institutions in need. Americans for the Arts has a list of different ways to contribute, and The New York Times has a good guide for how to evaluate the efficacy of the drives to which you’re considering contributing. Much of the fear and anxiety we’re feeling right now is collective; supporting the collective, in response, can only help.


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