Last night, I got an email from Audience Rewards about earning and redeeming points while Broadway is still shut down. If you’re not familiar with Audience Rewards, by the way, it’s a great service where you can earn points by purchasing tickets to shows that you can redeem for merchandise or experiences. I highly recommend it. Anyway, this email said I could answer theatre trivia and earn ShowPoints. I love trivia and my brain for whatever reason contains a lot of useless knowledge, so obviously I was interested.
I checked it out and quickly became obsessed. If you love trivia, this will be so much fun for you. Some of the questions were super easy, but there were a few challenging ones too. Plus, there are 12 categories and nearly 60 pages of questions, so there’s tons of variety if you need more.
Now, don’t expect to earn thousands of points doing this. The questions generally range between two and four points for a correct answer. This is not much considering when you buy a ticket, one dollar equals two points. I earned about 50 points just doing this last night. But it’s still a fun way to earn some extra ShowPoints while actually buying tickets is out of the question.
If you like theatre trivia, you should definitely check out Audience Rewards – especially if you don’t have an existing account. Usually, you can redeem your points for merchandise or cool theatre experiences, but while Broadway is closed, you can still redeem points for interesting things. There’s always shirts and cast albums you can get, and they are even doing a virtual wine tasting experience with Mean Girls star Kate Rockwell. Or, save up your points to redeem them for something really cool when Broadway returns. If you know the name of the main flying monkey in Wicked or if you know what state Lynn Nottage’s Sweat takes place in, you’ll have a great time.
The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing recently announced that the 2020 Tony Awards ceremony will be going ahead in the fall – but digitally.
The ceremony, originally set for June 7 of this year, was postponed indefinitely March 25.
“Though unprecedented events cut the 2019–2020 Broadway season short, it was a year full of extraordinary work that deserves to be recognized,” Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin and American Theatre Wing President Heather Hitchens said in a joint statement. “We are thrilled not only to have found a way to properly celebrate our artists’ incredible achievements this season, but also to be able to uplift the entire theatre community and show the world what makes our Broadway family so special at this difficult time. The show must go on, no matter what—and it will.”
Only shows that opened by February 19 will be eligible. Though West Side Story and Girl From the North Country had opened by the time the Broadway shutdown started, but the Tony voters were not all able to see them, so they will not be eligible this time around. They will, however, be eligible for next year’s awards. 16 shows that were supposed to open this past season had not done so yet by shutdown, and half of them had not even played a single preview, according to Playbill.
According to the New York Times, the administrators had actually considered combining both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons for one big televised ceremony next year, but ultimately decided that would be unfair to the shows that opened in 2019.
The administrators and rule-makers will be meeting this week to discuss the categories. For many categories there are few eligible competitors. For example, The Lightning Thief is technically the only show eligible for original score. They may decide to eliminate the category completely, or require that a certain percentage of voters support the nominee, even though it is the only one. The same goes for other categories facing similar issues.
They hope to have the ceremony in late October, but further details remain to be seen. Will it be fully digital? Or will it be socially distanced in person? What will the performances be like?
Let’s speculate for fun. What do we all think the awards show will be like this year? All I hope for is a way to celebrate our beloved community.
If you’re like me, you’re always looking for new ways to consume theatre. That’s where BroadwayHD comes in. I’ve spoken about it before on this blog, but if you need a refresher, BroadwayHD is a streaming service that hosts tons of professionally filmed live theatre performances as well as some films and documentaries. But if you are like me, then you also are hesitant to spend your money without being sure its worth it. I tested out a BroadwayHD subscription to see if it was worth it.
For me, affordability is huge. First of all, BroadwayHD offers a free trial for a week, which is a great way to test the waters and see if you want to commit to a paid subscription. BroadwayHD costs $8.99 a month, which makes it comparable to Netflix, Hulu and Disney+. Say you watch a couple of shows a month. Compared to Broadway ticket prices, you’re definitely saving tons of money.
BroadwayHD only started in 2015, which means in terms of streaming services its still in its infancy. Add onto that the fact that producers in the past have been largely hesitant to allow filming of their shows means there’s really not that much theatrical content like this out there. So, while I do like the affordable price of the service…the content on it is a little lacking. But only you can decide if the content makes the price worth it for you, so check it out before you choose.
There are a lot of great shows on BroadwayHD. You can find classics like Death of a Salesman or the original Pippin. Or you can go more modern with the film adaptation of The Last Five Years, which is a personal favorite. There is also a lot of PBS’s Great Performances, so if you wanted to watch The King and I with Kelli O’Hara or Audra McDonald in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, you can go right ahead. There’s an extensive vintage category and an extensive Shakespeare category, so there is some variety.
Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, the catalog is a little lacking, though you can’t really compare the small operation of BroadwayHD to other multi-million dollar streaming services. Still, if you’re a musical fan, you may be a little disappointed in the musical category compared to the Shakespeare category. A lot of the content is from London, so I assume that they have different rules when it comes to filming performances than Broadway. And in my research it appears that there were other shows on there that were removed for whatever reason, specifically some Sondheim shows, which again is disappointing. Overall I like the content on the service, but I do hope they add more.
What I Would Like To See
This is purely my opinion on what I think BroadwayHD should add. I would like to see, of course, more musicals. I know that there is probably a reason why there is not too much and I am sure that it all has to do with money, but I hope they add more musicals. In my research, it appears it once had Company with Raul Esparza and the original Into the Woods, but I did not see them on the service, and having those two alone would make it worth it for me. So I would like to see more of that. Going off of that, I would like to see the service add more exclusive content. A lot of the catalog you can find other places so I think exclusive content would make it more of a must-subscribe. This is obviously a little harder to pull off, but I would really like to see more recent content. Shakespeare is great, but having shows like Kinky Boots and Falsettos set BroadwayHD apart from the rest. More of that, please!
Is it Worth It?
So, after all of that, the question remains: is BroadwayHD worth it? Yes, I think so. While there is certainly room to grow and I have made my issues clear, I really like the idea of having a one-stop shop for theatrical content. I’ll keep my subscription because I’m interested to see how it continues to grow and I do hope they continue to add new, exciting content. There is so much potential here and I can’t wait to see what happens. Check it out for yourself. The free trial means you have nothing to lose.
But, honestly, I’ll keep my subscription as long as they keep Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on there. It’s my guilty pleasure.
It seems like all we talk about these days is streaming. But without live theatre, streaming is all we have. And with the immense success of Hamilton on Disney+, all the streaming services are wanting to get in on streaming Broadway shows.
Of course, as more streaming services grow interested in adding theatrical content to their platform, I have my own list of what I would like to see. Here are a few of them – and let me know what you would like to see in the comments!
A victim of COVID-19 closures, this show grew a massive online following due to its popularity on TikTok. While there are still rumors about it potentially moving theatres, even if it doesn’t reopen a professionally filmed version of Beetlejuice would probably be incredibly successful. The show’s fandom stretches farther than those in the NYC area, and it being closed along with the uncertainty of a tour means that the common argument of losing ticket sales may not be valid here. And since it’s produced by Warner Bros., it would be a perfect fit on HBO Max. It’s a fun show with wide appeal, which makes it perfect for streaming.
Although this one did close a while ago on Broadway, I would still love it if the cast reunited to record the show onstage so it could be streamed. You could even have Sara Bareilles herself star in it, or maybe the London cast which also was a victim to COVID-19. The Sara Bareilles connection would also make it a great fit for Apple TV+, which being relatively new to the streaming game means this could be its big chance to break into the theatre streaming wars.
Netflix, are you listening? I would give so much money to have a filmed version of Hadestown. I honestly believe that with the right marketing, it could be as big as Hamilton. It’s such an incredible show, and any streaming platform would be lucky to get their hands on it. Plus, the performances of the original cast are so amazing that they deserve to be immortalized. Please, if nothing else, we need to be able to stream Hadestown.
4. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
This one is a commercial success (though, if you are a Harry Potter fan like I am, you may have your own opinions about the content of the play) and though I’m sure Warner Bros. are saving this one for a film when the Fantastic Beasts series runs out, it would be great to have the stage production to watch whenever. I’ve heard such wonderful things about the staging and it would be so nice to to see this play without having to pay the exorbitant Broadway prices. Plus, it just makes sense from a commercial standpoint – it appeals to the non-theatre fans as well.
What do you think? What shows would you love to be able to stream? Let me know below!
Netflix has thrown its hat into the musical streaming wars with a totally new move. The streaming service announced that the new musical about Princess Diana, Diana, will premiere on Netflix before its opening on Broadway.
Diana was originally scheduled to open March 31, which was impeded by the ongoing Broadway shutdown. Its new official opening night is May 25, 2021, and it will premiere on Netflix before then.
This is a completely unprecedented move. Never before has a musical gone to streaming before it opened on Broadway.
The show will be filmed on the Longacre Theatre stage without an audience. The full original cast is expected to return. The safety protocols for filming have been Equity-approved as well, though I am curious as to how this will reflect in the film or if it will not at all.
“We speak for the entire company when we say that we couldn’t be more excited to finally be able to share our show with theater lovers everywhere,” the Diana producers said in a joint statement. “Though there is no substitute for the live theater, we are honored to be a part of the quality entertainment that Netflix provides its subscribers worldwide.”
As I have said before, even without live theatre, this is still an exciting time to be a theatre fan. This theatre streaming war just grows more and more interesting as the streaming services try to get in on that Hamilton success Disney+ snatched up. And Diana is an interesting choice. I must admit I am not familiar with the show, but to choose an unopened show that never had a real chance to gauge its success for streaming is, well, an interesting choice.
Netflix has not announced an airdate other than “early 2021,” but I am keeping my eyes on this one. I wonder if it will lead to more shows doing the same with different streaming services. Feel free to speculate in the comments. Maybe HBO Max will pick up Harry Potter and the Cursed Child…but I would just love to be able to watch Hadestown over and over. What do you think?
Although we are seeing more musicals available for streaming, the vast majority of the musical theatre canon is unavailable outside of seeing the shows live. The most-used argument by Broadway producers against filming and releasing musicals is that of profit. That is, most producers are afraid that having a show readily available to watch will lead to revenue losses as people will choose to stay home to watch a musical instead of going to the theatre. And while we could discuss the problems with this argument, such as its inherent classism, the fact is this is the way things are right now. That is why most shows for streaming are released after the show has closed on Broadway.
Now, Hamilton has come and change everything. Even though Broadway is shut down for now, Hamilton is technically still running. So, now you can see one of the most popular and expensive musicals for $6.99 a month…but people are still interested in buying tickets, according to a recent survey done by TodayTix.
Turns out, this old idea of releasing a musical on film cheapening the experience may not be true. 38.6% of those surveyed who streamed it are now more likely to buy tickets to Hamilton.
This TodayTix survey also revealed that 81% of people who streamed Hamilton on Disney+ would pay to watch another filmed version of a Broadway or West End show. Plus, 78% of TodayTix users surveyed all around the world will still watch streamed shows when theatres open up. And when live theatre is back, 72% say they will still buy tickets to a streamed show.
When it comes to theatre, we’re definitely still in the early stages of streaming. And it will be interesting to see how these survey results are reflected in real life when theatre eventually does return in its live form.
As I mentioned before, I personally believe the argument that live theatre is special and therefore cannot be filmed to be classist. While I adore live theatre (clearly) and do agree that it is special, it is not a strong enough argument to justify keeping it locked to only people who live near NYC or in a touring area, are able to afford it or are otherwise part of the elite. There are so many theatre lovers out there who are unable to see professional live theatre. Theatre should absolutely be accessible to all, and streaming is helping it get there.
I hope as we go on that filming and releasing musicals grows in popularity. These numbers from TodayTix show that no matter what the platform, fans are eager to consume any form of theatre. And everybody should be able to watch theatre, no matter where they are.
Disney is a huge corporation that seems to be trying to control all aspects of the entertainment world, and its entry into the world of streaming is no different. While their streaming service, Disney+, has all the Disney animated movies and TV shows that you would expect, it seems like they are trying to take the crown in another media form: musicals.
You can already stream a couple of musicals on Disney+, whether it’s an existing movie musical, the Disney musical Newsies that was filmed live, or, of course, Hamilton. But did you know that Disney+ is currently working on adding more musicals to the service?
After Hamilton‘s massive success on the platform, Filmed on Stage reported that Disney+ is apparently planning on releasing their West End version of Aladdin as well. It was previously filmed and apparently Disney had planned on releasing it earlier this year, which changed because they decided to release Hamilton instead. A Disney representative confirmed that Aladdin had been filmed live, and that details of its broadcast will be coming soon. According to Filmed on Stage, the cast that was filmed in 2019 was composed of various cast members from different productions as well as Trevor Dion Douglas, who originated the role of the Genie in the West End.
But musicals filmed live are not the only way that Disney+ is attempting to corner the musical streaming market. Just days after the above news was revealed, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Disney+ is developing a live action adaptation of the 1990 musical that was turned into the 2017 hit revival, Once on this Island. Disney confirmed that this will be a traditional movie musical as a opposed to a stage recording. Playwright Jocelyn Bioh and director Wanuri Kahiu are already on the team, and Marc Platt (you may know him as producer of Wicked, or Ben Platt’s dad) is set to produce. We’ll have to wait for further details about casting and release dates, but so far it seems pretty exciting.
Whether you love or hate Disney, you have to admit that right now is an exciting time to be a theatre fan. With the two existing theatre streaming services (BroadwayHD and Broadway on Demand) and more services like Disney+ adding theatre content, things are looking great for those who love theatre and wish it to be more accessible. And now, after the massive success of Hamilton, we may begin to see even more theatre on streaming services as more companies realize there is a huge market here. I can’t wait to see what’s in store.
Okay, I know I may be a little too old for the demographic, but guys, I am obsessed with watching TikToks. They are so clever and funny, and there are so many of them perfectly tailored to the things you like! There is a ton of theatrical content to find on TikTok. I know I haven’t seen them all, but I’ve found a few favorites along the way. So here is a list of my favorite theatre TikTok accounts – and if you have any recommendations, let me know!
Kat Kelly is different from the other creators I’ve talked about so far. Instead of being a performer, she actually was the social media manager for Waitress the Musical. Not all of her TikToks are theatre related (she’s also responsible for a couple viral videos), but the ones that are can be really interesting. Or, the ones that aren’t informative are super funny. Also, she kinda has my dream job, so Kat, if you’re reading this…hit me up on LinkedIn?
Averno Musicals is really interesting. If you are really into TikTok aesthetics like cottagecore and dark academia this is right up your alley. It’s more than just musicals, it has turned into a multimedia universe in all genres. Morgan Smith, the creator, already came up with one viral internet musical, Oceanborn. Now, they’ve created a whole universe in Averno, and honestly, it’s pretty incredible. The aesthetics are so relaxing, too. The music sounds really good, the team is young and so talented, and they’re working on recording albums now. I can’t wait to hear them!
Maggie Schneider is for my fellow former emo kids who also are theatre kids. (There’s a lot of us, right?) She makes pop punk versions of your favorite musical theatre songs. And they’re so good! She has a great voice, and who doesn’t secretly still love pop punk music in 2020? She also does covers of pop punk songs, and has her own band too. But now I want a Broadway Goes Punk album. Who’s with me?
What’s your favorite theatre TikTok account? I would love to discover more accounts and have more reasons to waste my day away on this app. Let me know what you think!