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.
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