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.
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