Episode 7 of the Filmed Live Musicals podcast is out!
This week I chat with the Executive Director of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT), Julie Leach. Based in Sarasota, Florida, WBTT is a non-profit theatre founded in 1999 by Nate Jacobs. The company’s mission is “to produce professional theatre that promotes and celebrates the African American experience, that attracts diverse audiences, supports and develops African American artists, and builds the self-esteem of African American youth.”
We look at how WBTT were able to pivot during the COVID-19 shutdown, connection with community, the business end of putting theatre online, and Vinnette Carroll's Your Arms Too Short to Box With God.
Learn more WBTT's filmed live productions Your Arms Too Short to Box With God and Rockin' Down Fairytale Lane in the Filmed Live Musicals database, and check out WBTT's current productions at www.westcoastblacktheatre.org.
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It is no secret that as a result of the pandemic, theatre companies have lost their most significant stream of revenue: ticket sales. As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, while some theatres are streaming shows, others are responding to the COVID-19 shutdown by branching out into new areas, creating new streaming platforms, and selling virtual tickets to online content.
In May, TodayTix temporarily rebranded as TomorrowTix and launched a platform allowing theatre companies across the United States to sell tickets to online shows. As with the previous incarnation of the site, content is available by city, though it seems most virtual content is available across all cities.
At the time of writing, offerings include comedy and improv, concerts, drag shows, and two musical-esque productions, The Keep Going Song and A Killer Party.
The Keep Going Song is presented by the Actors Theatre of Louisville (who back in 1973 produced In Fashion). Described as “an intimate evening of storytelling through song,” the piece was written and performed by indie-folk duo Abigail and Shaun Bengson during lockdown. Ben Brantley gave The Keep Going Song the New York Times Critic’s Pick stamp of approval, and the music is truly extraordinary. You have until October 8 to stream it. Virtual tickets are available via TodayTix and directly from Actors Theatre of Louisville, on a sliding scale between $15 - $100 (not including fees).
A Killer Party is an episodic murder mystery musical directed by Broadway musical director Marc Bruni. The cast includes a slew of Broadway stars including Carolee Carmello, Jackie Burns, Jeremy Jordan, Laura Osnes, and Alex Newell. The music was composed by Jason Howland (who, among many other credits, did the arrangements on Jekyll and Hyde), with lyrics by Nathan Tysen, and book by Kait Karrigan. Rachel Axler, who worked on Veep, The Daily Show, and Parks and Recreation, is also credited as a writer. Composed and performed entirely during quarantine, A Killer Party is a laugh out loud, silly, and joyful spoof. It’s available via TodayTix and directly from A Killer Party Musical for $12.99, which provides access to all 9 episodes.
In late July, Playbill launched Social Selects, theatre-themed interactive online events that include tours of Broadway theatres and theatre sites in NYC, storytelling events, cooking, and wine-pairing. Events range in price from $9.99 - $21.99. Tickets for the HamilTour, which will visit Hamilton-related locations around NYC on October 7 and 14, are currently on sale.
And just a couple of weeks ago, Goldstar launched Stellar, a new monetized streaming platform. The site currently has nearly 50 productions, including concerts, comedy, and from-artist-living-room events.
Coming up we'll be taking a look at another innovation, drive-in theatre!
What are you watching? Let me know in the comments, or on Twitter or Facebook!
In episode 3 of the podcast, Luisa chats with the founder and artistic director of Prima, Mitch Nugent. Based in Lancaster, PA, Prima is a non-profit organization focused on invigorating lives through fresh theatrical experiences.
An experienced actor, director, and producer, Mitch has led Prima from its start in 2010 as a nomadic organization, to its own home in 2018. On the west side of Lancaster City, Prima’s new venue offers an exciting location for boutique musicals, concerts and special events.
We chat about how Prima has responded to the COVID-19 crisis, what it takes to put theatre online, developing drive-in theatre, and how bootlegs are akin to medical marijuana!
Subscribe to the Filmed Live Musicals podcast on your favorite app, or take a listen below.
Learn more about Prima at https://primatheatre.org/.
Can’t wait for Hamilton on July 3? Catch Lin-Manuel’s one-act musical 21 Chump Street. Want a moving musical to commemorate Memorial Day? Try out the Millennium Wales Centre production of Only the Brave. Need something to occupy the kids? Try Chichester Theatre Festival’s production of The Midnight Gang. If you’re feeling literary, you can catch Wasted, a rock musical about the Brontë family, or Emma Rice’s joyous Wise Children. Science more your thing? You can watch Tangram Theatre’s The Element in the Room about Marie Curie. Or perhaps you'd like to celebrate some historic women? Take a look at the new song cycle Passion Project.
Here is a list of over 30 musicals you can currently watch online (legally!) for free! There truly is a musical for everyone!
Musicals are sorted below by Broadway & West End Composers, off-Broadway & off-West End Beyond London & New York, Musicals in Development/Concert Readings, & Family Friendly.
If you’re able, please consider making a donation to the theatre or company making their content available. As reported by producer Sonia Freedman this week, up to 70% of theatres in the UK risk permanent closure by the end of the year, and things are also looking grim in the US.
Broadway and West End Composers
Off-Broadway and Off-West-End
Beyond London and New York
Musicals in Development/Concert Readings
Still want MORE musicals?
Use the Filmed Live Musicals database to search for musicals to watch online!
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Cities around the world are banning public gatherings of more than 1000 people. Some places are implementing city-wide lock downs. Broadway has shut down for at least a month. Productions, tours, concerts, and events are being cancelled at a rapid rate, and venues across the globe are closing their doors to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Can the show go on in the face of a worldwide pandemic?
It seems that with performers wanting to share their talents (check out the delightful thread started by Tony Award winner Laura Benanti encouraging school-age performers to share their songs, #SunshineSongs), and audiences with internet connections sitting at home seeking theatre in a time of crisis, the show indeed must go on, online.
The Met Opera, always a leader in making digital content available to audiences around the world, has already announced it will provide nightly screenings from its filmed live catalog beginning March 16.
BroadwayWorld have begun hosting #LivingRoomConcerts, featuring intimate performances by Broadway performers including Jagged Little Pill's Katherine Gallagher, Dear Evan Hansen's Andrew Barth Feldman, and Pretty Woman's Andy Karl and Orfeh.
As reported on BroadwayWorld, Broadway Licensing have announced that 400 plays from their Playscripts catalog have been specially approved for live-streaming, so watch this space for more new content to be made available in the coming weeks and months.
To help you find content in the meantime, I've added a new page to the site: Where to Stream Live Theatre Content. It's a wide-ranging list of legal, already existing, companies streaming theatre content to the world. A lot of it is viewable for free, or available at a discount during this unprecedented time.
And finally, below is a list of upcoming musical theatre livestreams. This post will be updated on a rolling basis as new online productions are announced.
Online with the show!
Calendar of Livestreams
March 13, 2020
March 16, 2020
March 17, 2020
March 20, 2020
(follow the artist/channel for regular content!)
Don't forget, if you're fixing for a full-length musical, you can always search the filmed live musicals database for some inspiration!
Know of other musical theatre events live-streaming during the pandemic?
Let me know!
Written by Luisa Lyons
follow me @filmedliveMT and @luisalyons
Filmed Live Musicals is a labor of love that takes many hours of research and hundreds of dollars to run. Please consider supporting the site by becoming a patron today!
With thanks to Star patrons Mercedes Esteban-Lyons, Jesse Rabinowitz and Brenda Goodman, and David and Katherine Rabinowitz for their ongoing support.