Host Luisa Lyons chats with Maribel Legarda and Liza Magtoto, the director and writer of the hit Filipino jukebox musical Rak of Aegis.
Topics include the formation of the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA), and how PETA operates and fulfills its founders’ mission to create a Filipino theater. We discuss the development of Rak of Aegis, why Maribel double cast the show, the significance of the incredible set, and why an audience member saw the show 21 times! We also take a look at how the show came to be streamed, and how the pandemic has changed thinking about streaming going forward.
Maribel Legarda is a multi-disciplinary director and the Artistic Director of PETA. As a Senior Artist-Teacher of the company, she has directed and choreographed major productions including “Care Divas,” “William,” and “Pamana”. Maribel has also conducted workshops for Dance, Women and Children’s Theater, both locally and internationally.
Liza Magtoto is a playwright and freelance scriptwriter, a member of The Writer’s Bloc and an artist-teacher of the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA). Recent works include “Rak of Aegis,” “Rated PG,” “A Game of Trolls” and “Care Divas.” A recipient of Gawad Buhay! and the Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Francisco Balagtas, Liza also won the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, and three of her award-winning plays are published in Bienvenida de Soltera, an anthology of her earlier works.
Learn more about PETA at www.petatheater.com and follow on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Available wherever you listen to podcasts!
Enjoyed this podcast? Leave a review and help spread the word!
On episode 25 of the Filmed Live Musicals podcast, host Luisa Lyons chats with Sarah Ellis & Greg Kamp, co-founders of MT Shorts, a new company working to merge short films and musical theatre.
Topics include the creation of MT Shorts, working with Emmy nominated producer & director Kenneth Ferrone, the personal stories behind the short film Jump, the creation of High School Zoomsical during the early days of the pandemic, and more! Includes an exclusive preview to “All of These Goodbyes” from new short Still Here!
MT Shorts Presents “A Jingle”
Music & lyrics: Nat Zegree & Eric Holmes; Arrangements & vocals: Jim Hogan; Vocals: Joey Harrell, Samantha Littleford, Sean Switzer
“All of These Goodbyes” from MT Shorts STILL HERE
Music: Ben Roseberry; Music & lyrics: Ben Roseberry and Chip Klose; Performer: Nathaniel Stampley
MT Shorts is a creative platform where musical theatre and short film meet, forging a new medium of storytelling with a mission to bring the voices of an emerging generation of creatives to screen. www.mtshorts.com. Instagram, Facebook, YouTube.
Sarah Ellis is an NYC-based actor, concert artist, creator and producer with a passion for community building across the visual and performing arts. Her professional credits span across theatre, film, dance, commercial, and symphony work, NYC new works readings and labs, regionally, including the First National Tour of the Tony-Award Winning “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder," and as a frequent guest artist with the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra. She holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Penn State University where she received the Margaret “Peg” French Undergraduate Award in Theatre.
www.meetsarahellis.com Follow @sarahruthliss
Greg Kamp is a performer and producer whose career has spanned stage, screen, and concert venues across the country and internationally. Stage appearances have included the Tony Award Winning Center Theatre Group and Alliance Theatre, Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, York Theatre, Feinstein’s 54 Below, and The Cincinnati Pops as well as Lifetime, FOX, NBC, and Cartoon Network on the small screen. As a producer, Greg has worked with names and companies such as Rosie O’Donnell, Sara Bareilles, Paul Taylor Dance Company, as well as MT Shorts, the production company for which he Co-Founded. www.gregkamp.com
Available wherever you listen to podcasts. If you like what you hear, make sure to subscribe and leave a review!
Pre-pandemic the rules for streaming local school or community musical productions were very clear: no filming allowed! Although it was sometimes possible for these groups to buy additional licenses to film the show for archival purposes or purchase a license to sell show DVDs to friends and family at cost.
The pandemic saw a seismic shift in permissions for streaming. It took much negotiating with playwrights, composers, and music publishing houses, but it is now easier than ever for schools and amateur theatre groups to stream their productions so that non-local relatives, friends, people restricted by geography, physical ability, or global pandemics, can tune into their productions.
Due to the complex negotiations required for streaming, it’s not surprising that licensing companies themselves are behind new specialized platforms for streaming theatre. After purchasing a license for a show, schools and community groups can use platforms such ShowTix4U and ShowShare to stream their productions. One fee takes care of royalties and streaming rights, and the ticket sales or donations are all through the one platform. The platforms also provide tech and streaming support, resulting in higher quality streams than using Zoom, YouTube, or Facebook Live.
The first platform to go live was ShowTix4U, which launched in mid-June 2020. A partnership between musical licensing company Music Theatre International (MTI), streaming platform Digital Theatre, and tech experts Broadway Media, ShowTix4U provides a platform for both ticket sales and streams. Tickets can be sold to both in-person and streamed events, and shows can be streamed live or on demand. Another benefit of using the platform, is that licensing fees and royalties for MTI shows are automatically part of the fee.
MTI titles are available with 4 different types of streaming rights: Live-Streaming (streamed in real-time), Scheduled Content (stream pre-recorded productions), Video on Demand (pre-recorded video or previous productions), or Remote Content (produced virtually). There are currently 97 titles available including Annie, Billy Elliot the Musical, Daddy Long Legs, Spring Awakening, Urinetown, and Working. There are also 35 Disney titles available, including Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and The Descendants, and The Little Mermaid, and Newsies, with most only available using Scheduled Content Streaming. According to Playbill, the top three streamed MTI titles throughout the pandemic were Songs for a New World, Disney’s High School Musical, and Annie.
An initiative of Broadway on Demand, ShowShare launched in September 2020. Its current licensing partners include Broadway Licensing, Playscripts, Stage Rights, Concord Theatricals, and Youth Plays. Musicals with streaming rights include After Midnight, BRKLYN the Musical, Emma: A Pop Musical, and Polkadots. According to Broadway on Demand Vice President Tralen Doler, 1466 schools streamed their musical productions via ShowShare throughout the pandemic. The most produced musicals were Emma, Disenchanted, and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.
A third platform is BookTix, which as its name suggests, started as a digital ticket booking platform. Founders Tim DiVito and Jason Goldstein increasingly saw a need to also provide streaming services, and expanded. As of May 2020, BookTix is partnered with Theatrical Rights Worldwide, whose entire catalog, including Monty Python’s Spamalot, Bright Star, The Prom, and The Color Purple, includes free streaming rights. According Director of Operations Cassie Balint, the most produced musical “by far” throughout the pandemic was The Addams Family. Other popular shows included You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, We Will Rock You, and Spamalot.
It will be great to see these streaming rights extended to professional productions, though this will need a significant shift from Equity and SAG/AFTRA, who have long battled over how to negotiate who gets paid what for live theatre broadcasts.
I have been sharing upcoming high school and community theatre streams in the weekly Filmed Live Musicals newsletter. Sign up to find out what’s streaming near you!
On episode 24 of the Filmed Live Musicals podcast, host Luisa Lyons chats with songwriter and performer Benjamin Scheuer.
We chat about the influence of Frank Loesser, how Benjamin came to write his first show (which Prince William ushered), the interplay of different performance and artistic mediums, being diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkins lymphoma at age 28 and our shared journey of cancer treatment and bone marrow biopsies, how The Lion served as a personal ad, the devastating story of one of Benjamin's most memorable performances whilst on tour, and exclusive news about what's next for The Lion!
Benjamin Scheuer wrote and performed THE LION (Drama Desk Award, Outstanding Solo Performance; Off-West End Award, Best New Musical). Scheuer and Carlos Acosta made Empty Stage, the “magical…best dance film of the year” (The Guardian). Scheuer’s music-videos have won Annecy Film Festival’s Best Commissioned Film, and the British Animation Awards’ Best Music Video (twice.) Author of two songs-turned-into-children’s books: Hundred Feet Tall and Hibernate With Me. Scheuer is writing a musical about Peter Roget, creator of Roget’s Thesaurus. A Kleban Award winner, “Scheuer plays guitar as if he invented the instrument (LA Times) and his songwriting “gets to the heart of the matter” (NY Times).
The Lion is available to stream on demand on BroadwayHD.
Learn more at www.benjaminscheuer.com and follow Benjamin on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and SoundCloud.
Check out Benjamin's latest short films:
"Empty Stage" with the Birmingham Royal Ballet and Carlos Acosta
"Empty Stage" with Robbie Fairchild.
Like what you hear? Rate the podcast, like and subscribe on your preferred podcast app - we're available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music and more!
Filmed musicals bring joy to people around the world, create connections between theatre lovers, and shows what can be possible in bringing theatre to the screen. Filmed Live Musicals creates a centralized place to search for information on nearly 200 stage musicals (and growing!) that have been legally filmed and made publicly available. The Filmed Live Musicals podcast features interviews with actors, producers, and creatives about the joys and challenges of filming live theatre.
As you love musicals as much as I do, I invite you to make an ongoing donation to extend the reach of Filmed Live Musicals. As an alternative, I’d love you to consider a one-off donation. You’ll be helping to spread the love of musical theatre around the world and contribute to a new frontier of theatre on screen.
With thanks to Josh Brandon, Elliott Charlz, Rachel Esteban, Mercedes Esteban-Lyons, James T. Lane, Al Monaco, David Negrin, Jesse Rabinowitz & Brenda Goodman, David & Katherine Rabinowitz, and Bec Twist for being a part of spreading the love of musical theatre.
Sick of staring at your screen, but still feel craving some musical theatre? Why not try an audio musical!
Audio musicals can be stage shows adapted for audio-only, others are written specifically for podcasts. It’s like radio theatre! With the cost of production being significantly lower than mounting a full stage production, and powerhouses Audible and Clubhouse joining the game, I think we will continue to see more audio musicals being released into the world.
Here’s a collection of 20 audio musicals from the United States, Canada, the UK, and Australia, for your listening pleasure. Ranging in length from 10minutes to full-length musicals, and with a wide range of topics including the first woman to row across the Atlantic, growing up with dyslexia, LGBTQ love stories, murder mysteries, re-vamped fairy tales, and the first dog in space, there truly is something for everyone.
10 Days That Shook the World
Produced by Thereby Hangs A Tale Productions and presented by the TTS World Wide Virtual Fringe Festival, this audio musical is set in Petrograd, 1917, where a pair of married journalists are about to experience an all-singing, all-rioting, Russian Revolution. An irreverent retelling of a true story featuring songs and spoken word. For anyone who’s ever wanted to change the world. Written and directed by Milo Morris. Available for free on Scenesaver.
Billed as the world’s first podcast musical, the show tells the story of a couple in their last-ditch attempt to save their marriage by using the 36 questions, an experiment known for making strangers fall in love. Composed by Chris Littler and Ellen Winter with sound designer Joel Raabe, the musical features Jonathan Groff and Jessie Shelton. It was released in 3 acts in July 2017, and is available from Two Up Productions.
Written by John Cameron Mitchell and Bryan Weller, this podcast musical follows Ceann Mackay who is broadcasting a podcast to crowdfund treatment for a brain tumor from the trailer once occupied by Hedwig Schmidt (of Hedwig and the Angry Inch). Told over 10 episodes, the musical features 31 original songs, and a starry cast including Patti LuPone, Glenn Close, Cynthia Erivo, Marion Cotillard, Laurie Anderson, and John Cameron Mitchell. The podcast was released in April 2019, and is available on Luminary.
In a world where it’s too dangerous to go outside, a starry-eyed teen cellist risks leaving her apartment to win the love of the rebel punk next door. A twisted musical with a good, pure heart. With a book by Jason Schafer, music by Arthur Lafrentz Bacon, and lyrics Harris Doran, the cast includes Annie Golden, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Marc Kudisch, Sarah Stiles, Taylor Trensch, and Tony Vincent. Available wherever you listen to podcasts and the Broadway Podcast Network.
Childish: The Podcast Musical
A musical comedy presented by Whale Bus about Dante, a college student in NYC, becomes an RA in order to follow in the footsteps of his hero, Childish Gambino. While he hopes this will be the next step toward becoming a famous rapper, his delusions of grandeur are shattered when he realizes his dweebish co-workers are hellbent on making his life miserable. Created by Whale Bus, POC, LGBTQ+. Muslim, Jewish, and Latinx artists, among other underrepresented groups, who strive to uplift and celebrate minority voices on and off mic. Available wherever you listen to podcasts and Whale Bus.
Driving From Barking to Deptford
Billed as “Minder meets Game Of Thrones as a musical,” a podcast musical about the story of three men and their van driving from Barking to Deptford. Presented over 7 episodes by Men with Ven. Available via Bandcamp.
The Fall of the House of Sunshine
A serialized musical comedy adventure where the beloved host of the Sunshine Smile Hour is murdered! Can anyone solve it? Meet the suspects, untangle the mystery. Created by Matt Roi Berger and Jonathan A. Goldberg, and features a starry cast include Bonnie Milligan, Grace McLean, and Larry Owens, Available via Soundcloud.
Theatre Sheridan at Sheridan College in Ontario have launched a new project entitled First Drafts, a series of 5 musicals that “reimagine, reconstitute, and reanimate the Western “musical theatre canon” in a way that acknowledges the truth of where we are now and where we hope to go. First Drafts is grounded in an urgency to make space for stories that must be told now and must continue to be prioritized in our art form.” All pieces are presented as podcast-style audio recordings, and one, To Ronnie, With Love was also rehearsed and filmed remotely. All pieces are available for free via Theatre Sheridan.
The Flame: An LGBTQ Romantic Comedy
An original musical that over 8 episodes tells the story of two women: Jamie, a queer bar owner, and Sam, the woman selling the building the bar inhabits, and the inevitable sparks that end up flying between them. With music and lrurics by Leigh Holmes Foster, book and additional lyrics by Caitlyn Clear, the cast includes Ellie Brigida, Jen Colella, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Chilina Kennedy, Harrison White, Valerie Rose Lohman, and Leigh Holmes Foster.
Produced by Lez Hang Out Productions, the producers, director, writer, and lead characters are all members of the LGBTQ community, and the orchestra is made up predominantly of women.
Available wherever you listen to podcasts including the Broadway Podcast Network.
In Strange Woods
A fictional documentary musical about 18-year-old Peregrine Wells who seeks out survivalist skills from an enigmatic old recluse after a tragedy in the Whitetail National Forest. Produced by Atypical Artists, and created by Jeff Luppino-Esposito, Brett Ryback, and Matt Sav. The cast includes Donna Lynne Champlin, Patrick Page, and Beth Leavel. Available on Apple Podcasts.
It Makes a Sound
A serial fiction musical podcast about what we remember, and what we forget. Deirdre Gardner finds a lost cassette tape from 1992 in an attic and embarks on a quest to revive the sound of a generation. Written by Jacquelyn Landgraf and presented on the Night Vale Presents/PRX network. Available wherever you listen to podcasts and It Makes a Sound.
Little Did I Know
Presented over 9 podcast episodes, this new musical tells the story of a group of friends – recent college graduates – who bring a broken-down summer theatre back to life in 1976. The summer will be different from anything they expected, and what they experience will resonate throughout their lives. Directed by Marlo Hunter, with music by Doug Besterman, lyrics by Dean Pitchford and Marcy Heisler, and book by Lou Aronica and Johanna Besterman. The cast includes Broadway actors Patrick Page, Lesli Margherita, and Richard Kind. Available via Apple Podcasts.
A celebration of the moment of risk, heartbreak, and joy when the wild strangeness of love comes into clearer view presented over 9 episodes. With book and lyrics by David Zellnik and music by Eric Svejcar, the cast features Kathryn Allison, Kathryn Gallagher, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Hailey Kilgore, Mason Alexander Park, Ryann Redmond, and Ali Stroker. Available on Loveville High.
Prime: A Practical Breviary
A song cycle composed by the innovative Christian and named IndieWire‘s number 1 Podcast Episode of 2020. The piece was inspired by breviary masses performed by cloistered monks, employing modern language and rich, contemporary musical arrangements to reimagine what a modern prayer for a Tuesday morning at 6 AM might sound like. Released in April 2020 as part of Playwrights Horizons Soundstage podcast. Available wherever you listen to podcasts.
New musical Row by Daniel Goldstein (book) and Dawn Landes (music and lyrics) was scheduled to have its world premier at the 2020 Williamstown Theatre Festival. Due to the pandemic, the festival was cancelled, but rather than wait, Williamstown pivoted and partnered with Audible Theater to present the world’s first audio theatre festival.
Row is inspired by Tori Murden McClure’s memoir A Pearl in the Storm, which chronicles her incredible journey to becoming the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic. Directed by Tyne Rafaeli, Row features Grace McLean as Tori, supported by Kerstin Anderson, John Ellison Conlee, Nehal Joshi, Tamika Lawrence, John McGinty, Kathryn O’Rourke, Lance Roberts, Sean Stack, and Sally Wilfert.
The musical is currently available on Audible (affiliate link), and will be also presented in person at the 2021 Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts from July 13 - August 15, 2021.
Sammy Smile Music
This music publishing company have developed two “audiobook musicals”, Spin the Rumpelstiltskin Musical, and Puss in Boots: A Musical, both with music by Neil Fishman and lyrics by Harvey Edelman. Both musicals are re-tellings of classic fairytales, and have won multiple awards. A new musical, Dead End the Musical will be released in 2022.
A tragic alt-country australiana romantic horror musical podcast set in a jaded small town on Australia’s east coast. Written by audio and multiplatform producer Jessica Hamilton, the podcast was inspired by a surf trip down the coast through small town Australia listening to country community radio, and a real life Slaughterhouse Road. Presented in 3 acts. Available on Spotify and Slaughterhouse Road.
Created as part of The Truth podcast, the musical tells the story of Doc, Penny, & Jojo who had a band that was going nowhere, until they found a drum machine that transported them into their songs. Written by Jonathan Mitchell and Josh Perilo, and presented over 8 episodes. Available via The Truth podcast.
Originally produced as a stage show in 2017, this Canadian musical about growing up with dyslexia has been re-imagined as a radio play. Written and performed by Katherine Cullen and Britta Johnson, the musical is being made available in three formats. From July 7 - 16, the musical is available to livestream at select times. From July 20 - August 1, audiences in Toronto can book a performance in their own backyard, and from August 16 - 29, the musical will play at TIFT’s “Bees in the Bush Festival.” Tickets for the audio broadcast are $15CAN. More info and tickets from Outside the March.
Take a Ten
Need a ten minute break? Founded by NYC composer Andy Roninson, and first released in 2013, the podcast features 17 original 10 minute musicals. Writers and performers include Laura Osnes, Rob McClure, Kathryn Allison, George Salazar, and Mary Page Nance. Available wherever you listen to podcasts and on Take a Ten.
U.Me: The Musical
An original musical by Theo Jamieson (book, music, and lyrics, and former music director for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie), and Simon Pitts (book) about two young people on opposite sides of the world who meet online and make a true connection. Commissioned by the BBC, the audio musical premiered on May 12, 201 on BBC World Service. The musical features a diverse and international cast including Anoushka Lucas, Martin Sarreal, Kevin Chen, Nicole Deon, and Michelle Yumiko Payne, with narration by Stephen Fry, and music performed by the BBC Philharmonic. A free online programme includes cast and crew bios, and the complete lyrics.
U.Me is now available on the BBC Sounds podcast.
The World to Come
In a post-apocalyptic world with no internet or electricity, five disparate factions vie for dominance in the city-state of Fiveboro. Each tribe worships at the altar of the bygone pop-culture references of an earlier time, and relishes the stories of film and television they've never actually seen. Created by Rachel Klein, Andy Peterson, and Erik Ransom, and presented by David Treatman Creative and Iconoclast Theatre. Available wherever you listen to podcasts and The World to Come.
Keep an Ear Out
The following musicals are not currently available, but they deserve a mention for their innovative use of the medium and what could be coming up next.
Triassic Parq: The Musical: Radial Park
First premiering off-Broadway in 2012, this musical comedy is told from the perspective of dinosaurs from a certain Theme Park as they discover the truth about faith, science, innocence, sex, and gender identity. In late May 2021, the musical was performed for three shows only at the drive-in at Radial Park in Queens. Billed as the world’s first binaural musical, the show was performed live with “atmospheric and stage projections”, with in-person audience members receiving special “silent-disco” type headphones. Remote audiences were also able to tune into the audio simulcast.
Launched in March 2020, Clubhouse is an invite-only audio app with chatrooms where users can host and join live discussions. The app has has been host to several audio musicals, all of which have been produced, directed, and performed by people of color, including The Lion King (December 2020), Dreamgirls (March 2021), The Wiz (March 2021) and Fela! (May 2021).
The Lion King featured a 40-member cast, choir, live music, and orchestrated pull-to-refresh (PTR) imagery where performers changed their profile pictures to re-create scenes from the movie. The entire cast and crew were people of color, including director and executive producer Noelle Chestnut Whitmore, musical directors Bomani X and Kam DeLa, and lead actors Chris “Boogie” Glover (Mufasa), Myles Grier (Simba), and Mir Harris (Nala). Performed over two shows on December 26, over 5000 people tuned into each show, and #LionKingCH trended nationally on Twitter.
Dreamgirls held an open call through the app on January 2, with over 10,000 people tuning in for the auditions. The musical was performed over four performances on February 27 and 28 with four different casts, featuring professional and amateur performers. The musical received creative input from original Broadway cast member Sheryl Lee Ralph, London revival cast member Amber Riley, and composer Henry Kreger.
Produced by Talia Moore and Serita Carton, The Wiz was performed by two different casts on March 12 and 13, 2021. Like The Lion King, the audio musical employed PTR to create dynamic visuals. The Friday show featured singer/songwriter YahZarah as Dorothy, and the Saturday show featured singer Alana Houston. Each show attracted over 3000 listeners.
Fela! was adapted into Fela Ten Twenty and set in the #EndSARS movement, a protest against police violence in Nigeria that erupted in late 2020 and resulted in the death of 12 people. The musical was produced by original Fela! producer Stephen Hendel along with Maduka, and Ọlabimpe Ọlaniyan, and featured an international cast hailing from Nigeria, the U.K., and the U.S. Like Dreamgirls, cast and creatives from the original Broadway production served as consultants. The production intentionally tripled speaking roles for women in the musical, to show the vital role of women in the struggle for equality and progress.
💖 Love this content?! 💖
With roses and standing ovations to patrons Josh Brandon, Elliott Charlz, Rachel Esteban, Mercedes Esteban-Lyons, James T. Lane, Al Monaco, David Negrin, Jesse Rabinowitz & Brenda Goodman, David & Katherine Rabinowitz, and Bec Twist for being a part of spreading the love of musical theatre.
If you would like to contribute financially you can make a one-off or regular donation. For as little as $3 a month, regular donors receive early access to the Filmed Live Musicals podcast, early access to site content, and a weekly newsletter with info on upcoming streams! Plus, you'll be helping to bring joy to people around the world, create connections between theatre lovers, and show what can be possible in bringing the stage to the screen.
On episode 23 of the Filmed Live Musicals podcast, host Luisa Lyons chats with Jessica Ryan, founder and CEO of Broadway Unlocked.
In this fun conversation, we talk about Jessica's grandparents role in getting her into theatre, how being an advocate for the Crime Victims Treatment Center and making accessible content led to a career in digital theatre, the inspiration of early Kickstarter, being an early adopter of tech, why the theatre industry is afraid of streaming, how COVID has shifted the game, and more!
Jessica Ryan is a serial entrepreneur, award winning director/actor/writer and mad scientist at the intersection of technology and the arts. Her groundbreaking work has been featured at Talks at Google, The New York Times, Idealist, W42ST Magazine, and CBS Sunday Morning. She created Broadway’s first hybrid concert blending digital and in-person audiences almost a decade ago; All Together Now, her latest venture, is digital venue technology for exclusive audience experiences around live shows. In case you’re not exhausted yet, she’s also the creator and host of #TechTheatre Tuesdays on the Clubhouse App, as well as its' recap podcast with tech and media startup veteran Joe White, as well as the Take Me To Coffee Podcast with Hamilton star Andrew Call. Currently accepting extra hours in the day, inquire within. Learn more at www.broadwayunlocked.com and follow Broadway Unlocked on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
June is bustin’ out all over, and it’s the month where we commemorate the Stonewall Uprising, where in 1969 Marsha P. Johnson, a Black, trans, bisexual woman, and Sylvia Rivera, a trans woman, led a protest for people in the LGBT community to be able to live freely without fear of prosecution.
Musicals have a poor history of including LGBTQi characters, and when they do, often it is to make those characters the punchline because of their sexuality. While representation of gay men has increased, there are infuriatingly few musicals featuring lesbians, and even less featuring people who are bisexual, trans, or intersex. Oh, how I wish Head Over Heels and The Prom had been filmed live during their Broadway runs. #MORELesbiansOnBroadway!
Here’s a quick look at some filmed live musicals with LGBTQi themes and central characters (this post includes affiliate links).
The Color Purple
Based on Alice Walker’s novel, with music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray, and book by Marsha Norman, the plot follows the eventful life of Celie, a Black lesbian in the American South in the first half of the 20th century.
Curve Theatre in Leicester, England, streamed a digital concert version of their 2019 production to audiences in the UK earlier this year. The 2019 production was subject to controversy when Curve fired the lead actor initially cast to play the role of Celie after it was revealed the actor had posted homophobic statements on social media. She attempted to sue Curve theatre, and was ultimately ordered to pay the theatre’s extensive legal costs.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie tells the story of a gay teenager who lives in a Yorkshire council estate and dreams of becoming a drag queen. Composed by first-time theatre writers Dan Gillespie Sells (music) and Tom MacRae (book and lyrics, the musical was inspired by the BBC documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16.
The musical was filmed live during its West End run, and broadcast in cinemas throughout the UK and Ireland, and in the North America, in 2018.
While the movie adaptation will be available worldwide on Amazon on September 17, 2021, the filmed live capture has yet to be made available beyond the initial cinema release.
Adapted from earlier William Finn works, Falsettos follows the life of a charming, intelligent, neurotic gay man named Marvin, his wife, lover, about-to-be-Bar-Mitzvahed son, their psychiatrist, and the lesbians next door.
The Lincoln Center revival in 2017 was filmed live and later broadcast in cinemas across North America. The musical was also broadcast on PBS, and is available to stream on Amazon and BroadwayHD.
From Here to Eternity
Stuart Brayson, Tim Rice, and Bill Oakes’ musical based on the novel of the same name. Unlike the heavily censored novel, the musical surprised audiences with its frank and realistic depictions of homosexuality in the US Army during World War II.
The final performances of West End production were filmed live at the Shaftesbury Theatre in March 2014, and the capture was released in cinemas shortly after.
From Here to Eternity is available to stream on Amazon and BroadwayHD.
Based on Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic novel of the same name, and composed by Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron, Fun Home is an intimate musical in which we are introduced to Alison at three different ages as she remembers her life in relation to her closeted father’s suicide shortly after she came out as a lesbian.
The 2017 Victory Garden Theater production was recorded for archival purposes, and in response to the COVID-19 shutdown was made available online for a limited time in May. It is not currently available to view.
La Juala de Las Locas
A Spanish language production of the classic musical comedy La Cage Aux Folles. With a score by Jerry Herman, lyrics by Jean Poiret, and book by Harvey Fierstein, the musical tells the story of a gay couple, Georges and Albin, and the humorous events that transpire when they meet their son’s conservative soon-to-be in-laws.
The Spanish language production has been running for over 5 years, and was filmed at the Hidalgo Teatro in Mexico City in late 2020. It was streamed several times via Ticketmaster Mexico. It is currently not available to view.
Based on the 2005 film of the same name, Kinky Boots tells the story of Charlie, a factory owner struggling to save his family shoe business, and Lola, a Black gay drag queen. With a little compassion, and a lot of understanding, the unexpected pair learn to embrace their differences and create a line of sturdy stilettos unlike any the world has ever seen.
With a book by Harvey Fierstein, and music and lyrics by Cindy Lauper, the multi-award winning musical was filmed live during its West End run at the Adelphi Theatre and released in cinemas in June 2019.
Kinky Boots is available to stream on Amazon, BroadwayHD and PBS’ Great Performances.
Naked Boys Singing!
A cheeky revue style musical with men singing in a state of undress about various issues, including gay life, coming out, and relationships.
The musical opened off-Broadway in 1999, and played 3069 performances before closing in 2012.
Naked Boys Singing! was filmed live in Los Angeles at the Hayworth Theatre in 2007, and is now available on DVD.
Pieces of String
Pieces of String is an original musical set both in 1940 and the present day. When Jane returns to the family home after her father’s funeral to begin clearing out the house, she unfolds a devastating secret, the ramifications of which stretch across generations.
Writer and composer Gus Gowland was inspired to create Pieces of String after seeing a BBC documentary that briefly mentioned gay relationships in the UK and USA during World War II, and modern day stories of gay men being unable to donate blood. Gowland sought to widen the scope for the way gay male characters are portrayed in musical theatre (a topic which he later explored in his PhD dissertation), and attempted to ensure women were also equally represented in the musical.
The musical is currently available to rent on Digital Theatre.
A modern re-interpretation of Puccini’s La Boheme, RENT tells the story of a group of artists living in the East Village in New York in the late 1980s. The Pulitzer Prize winning musical features several gay characters, including Tom Collins, a college professor who is gay and HIV positive; Angel Dumott Schunard, a drumming drag queen who is also HIV positive; Maureen Johnson, a bisexual performance artist; and Joanne Jefferson a public interest lawyer and lesbian.
There are currently three filmed live productions of RENT - the original Broadway production, Fox’s RENT Live (even if we only got to see the dress rehearsal), and, most recently, Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre 2020 production.
RENT: Filmed Live on Broadway is available on DVD, and available to stream on Amazon, Google Play, VUDU, and YouTube.
Fox’s RENT Live is available on Amazon.
The Rocky Horror Show
Richard O’Brien's musical ode to science fiction and B horror movies that became a cult classic film featuring a sweet transvestite.
The musical has been filmed twice on stage — during the Royal Court’s 50th anniversary in 2006 and the musical’s 40th anniversary in 2015.
The 40th anniversary concert is not officially available, and The Royal Court production, The Rocky Horror Tribute Show, is available on DVD.
Taboo the Musical is a love story set against the artistic backdrop of the New Romantic period in 1980s England, interweaving autobiographical elements from the lives of Leigh Bowery, and Boy George, both legendary queer icons and trendsetters.
The original London production was filmed in 2003 at the Leicester Square Theatre and is available on DVD.
A stage musical based on the film of the same name, starring Julie Andrews, Tony Roberts, and Michael Nouri. Set in a gay nightclub in Paris, the musical follows the trials and tribulations of a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman.
The Broadway production was filmed for distribution on Japanese television in 1995 and is now available on DVD.
YANK! tells the story of male soldiers falling in love, depicting the gay world that “thrived just beneath the surface of the US Army in the 1940s.” The musical was a hit of the NY Musical Theatre Festival in 2005, and had a successful off-Broadway run in 2010.
Below 54th hosted a 10th anniversary concert early in 2020 and the video is currently available on YouTube.
Queer Music Heritage has an extensive list of queer-centric musicals that have received commercial cast recordings.
On episode 22 of the Filmed Live Musicals podcast, host Luisa Lyons chats with Susan Jamson, Press and PR Manager for the north London based inclusive theatre company Chickenshed.
Chickenshed is an inclusive theatre company that first began in 1974. Primarily based at their purpose-built venue in North London, they create theatre for all ages and run successful outreach projects, education courses and membership programmes throughout the year. As a result of lockdown, Chickenshed have made many of their past shows available for free online.
In this moving chat, Susan shares some of the stories from her 30 years with Chickenshed, her experience of raising a child with down syndrome, how finding an inclusive theatre company changed her family's life, the origins of Chickenshed and how the company has grown over the years, how they adapted to lockdown, and the importance of filming theatre.
Learn more about Chickenshed at www.chickenshed.org.uk and visit their YouTube channel to see some of their incredible work!
The Filmed Live Musicals podcast is available wherever you listen to podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Amazon, Google, Overcast, Stitcher, Spotify, and more!
If you like what you hear, please make sure to subscribe and leave a review!
This week on the Filmed Live Musicals podcast, host Luisa Lyons chats with actor/dancer/singer James T. Lane.
Topics include the influence of Robert Guilluame and the importance of being able to see people that look like you on stage, Forbidden Broadway and movie musicals as a gateway to musical theatre, Jesus Christ Superstar, A Chorus Line, coining the phrase “sad understand”, working at the Jen Waldman Studio, words of wisdom from Baayork Lee, why writers and artists should share their work widely, and the development and staging of James’ new play Triple Threat: A Play That Moves and Sings.
James T. Lane is an actor singer dancer based in New York City. A true triple threat, he brings joy, electricity, nuance, humor, and heart to roles on Broadway, across the United States, and throughout the world. James's powerful love for his craft and for his fellow human beings shines through in all that he does. Learn more at www.jamestlane.com and follow James on Instagram and Twitter.
The Filmed Live Musicals podcast is available wherever you listen to podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Amazon, Google, Overcast, Stitcher, Spotify, and more!
If you like what you hear, please make sure to subscribe and leave a review!