Stream Your Way to Broadway
by Luisa Tanno, Book Nation Theatre Advisor
There is nothing better than sitting in the audience of a show and soaking up the energy of the room. However, you can also enjoy excellent theatre in a way that is almost as good: from the comfort of your couch!
Streaming is the way of the world today, and in addition to all those TV shows and movies on your list, there is also quite a bit of theatre to watch if you know where to find it!
Essentially every Broadway show is filmed for preservation. When I was enrolled at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy way back in the early 90s, my fellow students and I had access to the theatre archives at Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts. What a treasure chest of goodness! We watched tons of shows. I especially remember seeing the original cast of Company and Gregory Hines in Sophisticated Ladies. Heaven.
Some recorded shows are released to the public, historically through PBS and their Great Performances series. But now, lucky for us, there are even more options! Here a few recommendations:
You probably already know this but Hamilton, Yes THE Hamilton with Lin-Manuel Miranda and the entire original cast is now available for everyone to see and it is excellent. It is yours for the bargain price of a subscription to Disney Plus (currently 7.99/month).
Rent filmed Live on Broadway
There is a movie version of Rent, but this is different! This is the final Broadway performance, filmed in 2008. If you have never seen Rent, I suggest you watch this version! Available on Amazon Prime and Apple TV.
Stephen Sondheim’s works was, and is, monumental in the landscape of musical theatre. Truly, and some of his very best is available to watch now!
Sunday in the Park with George is cited as the favorite musical of countless musical theatre kids young and old (including me), and you can discover it just as we did through the recording of the original Broadway production starring Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters. Available on Apple TV, or if you’re feeling old fashioned, you can get the DVD.
You might also consider:
Into the Woods, the original Broadway production, available on Amazon Prime and Apple TV.
Company. The 2011 New York Philharmonic production starring Neil Patrick Harris and Patti Lupone is lovely and happens to be on YouTube right now!
Here is the next best thing to those archives at Lincoln Center Library! Broadway HD is a streaming platform with an impressive catalog of filmed plays and musicals. There are SO many to choose from, but among my favorites for musicals are: Kinky Boots, An American in Paris, Falsettos, and First Date. For plays: Indecent, Red, Pipeline, and If I Forget. Subscription price is currently 11.99 per month.
Watch These Spaces!
Live streams and virtual theatre are new and evolving options brought to us by the pandemic. Many theatre companies are exploring this still! This excites me because 1) these options increase access to high quality theatre and 2) they offer theatres, all of which are still struggling to get by, another form of revenue. Here are few venues to check out from home!
Second Stage Theatre
Second Stage Theatre is simulcasting their performances of Clyde’s, which is critically acclaimed and delightful. You can purchase a ticket for $59 to watch the show LIVE at home, alone or with friends and family! Now through January 16th – tickets and info HERE!
New York Theatre Workshop
New York Theatre Workshop has allowed viewers to buy streaming tickets to their last two productions and I am really hopeful that they will continue to do so. Especially since I am very much looking forward to On Sugarland by Aleshia Harris which in opening in February! I suggest you get on their mailing list so you stay in the know!! Details HERE!
Rattlestick Theatre is doing something really interesting. It is an interactive piece called Addressless that aims to shine a light on the complexities of homelessness and housing insecurity through a virtual theatre game where you can choose how it unfolds. I have no idea what to expect, but one the fundamental gifts of theatre is its ability to foster understanding and compassion, so I am all in! January 13th- February 13th. Details HERE!
As always, this is merely a sampling, there is so much out there! Scroll, search, click and enjoy theatre at home. May you be filled up and inspired. I hope that the accessibility that streaming provides will result in more theatre kids (young and old) finding joy and acceptance in an art form that I adore. Happy viewing!