THIS WEEK ON THE LIVESTREAM: Mara Isaacs, Daddy Long Legs Reunion, Michael Greif, and more!

This week, we’re celebrating the big 5-0. 50 episodes since the shutdown. Are you caught up?

If you missed any, here are a few replays from last week to catch up on!

  • Santino Fontana shared his infamous “baby blowouts” stories and his best Andrew Cuomo impersonation.
  • James Snyder unpacked his first professional role . . . as Luke Skywalker in Stars Wars the Musical.
  • Dominique Morisseau announced she submitted her script for the upcoming SoulTrain musical.
  • Lorin Latarro disclosed her exciting plans for June . . . including Broadway choreographers and ensemblists dancing on the streets of Broadway.
  • Stephanie Klemons talked about how being a double major in Genetics & Microbio Research and Modern Dance helped her on her journey of being the Supervising Choreographer for Hamilton: An American Musical.

You can see all of the episodes here.

AND HERE IS WHO IS ON THE LIVE STREAM THIS WEEK:

Monday, May 18th – Mara Isaacs (Producer – Hadestown)

Tuesday, May 19th – Jamil Jude (Artistic Director & Director, True Colors Theatre – Paradise Blue) and Special Guest Mary Neely

Wednesday, May 20th – Michael Greif (Director – Dear Evan Hansen, Next To Normal, RENT)

Thursday, May 21st – Daddy Long Legs Reunion 

Friday, May 22nd – Des McAnuff (Director – Ain’t Too Proud, Jersey Boys, The Who’s Tommy)

 

We are going LIVE every night at 8pm EDT (7pm CDT/ 6pm MDT/ 5pm PDT). Follow me on Facebook to get notified as soon as we hit the “GO LIVE” button.

Don’t have Facebook? You can also watch the livestream on Broadway Podcast Network’s Youtube channel.

To see who’s coming up next, visit www.TheProducersPerspective.com/LIVE.

GUEST BLOG: “Producing the Digital Musical: Live Theatre in the Age of Quarantine”

TheaterMakers are the MacGyvers of the Arts.

We’ll make art with whatever we have.  We can turn a barn into a theater, some newspaper into a dress . . . and yep, a pandemic into an opportunity.

And that’s exactly what the resourceful Student TheaterMakers at Northwestern did.

Faced with a possible cancellation of their traditional spring production, which has been going on for almost 100 years, they found another way to do it . . . through Zoom.

But, as you’ll see below, this wasn’t your typical Zoom production.  It featured live singing, “entrances and exits,” scenic backdrops, and over 500 people in their audience from around the world.

It is one of the best virtual productions I’ve seen.  And it was done by students.

That’s why I asked them to write this guest blog about their process, best practices, and their outcome.

What outcome I know is for sure . . . these kids are going to make some great stuff over the next few decades, on actual and virtual stages.

Take it away!

– – – – – – – – – –

Like any producers debuting a new show to a public audience for the first time, we were having quite a busy week leading up to March 13th.

The Waa-Mu Show, the organization we lead, was gearing up for a final reading of our new musical, State of the Art, for our faculty mentors and our student writing team. But after our university issued guidance to suspend all gatherings of over 50 people, we decided an hour before the reading not only that it was our ethical responsibility as producers to cancel the reading, but that our show, slated to open in May, was going to look a lot different than we had originally envisioned.

The Waa-Mu Show is Northwestern University’s oldest theatrical tradition, which began in 1929 as a student-written musical revue. In recent years, Waa-Mu has transitioned to an original book musical, which is written, produced, orchestrated, and performed by a team of over 150 students each year. Until now, The Waa-Mu Show had only ever been disrupted by World War II. And so, as the world was rapidly changing in the face of the coronavirus, we weren’t ready to abandon our show, which had been in development since spring of 2019.

While it quickly became clear that an in-person performance would not be possible — Broadway and the West End had just gone dark — we knew that we could preserve the mission of our process-oriented organization by continuing to develop our draft. Initially, we didn’t set out to do an online performance, but held virtual rehearsals to workshop material with the cast, writers, and music team. It wasn’t until a few weeks into this process that we realized the show was actually turning out better than we expected — so we decided to do a final reading of the show for a select audience on May 1st, our original opening date.

Creating and performing a new musical each year is already a monumental task and is all the more difficult when our collaborators cannot be in the same physical space. The most pressing challenge was figuring out how to sing over Zoom. While our music directors taught the cast their parts, our orchestrators and arrangers developed tracks over which the actors could sing live. For group numbers, where singing simultaneously would have been impossible, actors recorded all of their parts to click tracks and our music team stitched the actors’ parts together using some technical magic in Logic and Finale into one final recording.

As we worked through our virtual rehearsals, we discovered other online analogs for the in-person elements of a staged show. For example, actors’ entrances and exits were replaced with turning one’s video on and off, which removed the actors’ profiles from the screen. We also took advantage of Zoom’s “breakout room” feature to allow multiple rehearsals to happen at once — our director Amanda Tanguay might have been doing scene work in the main room, while actors learned vocal parts in a second room, our writing team made edits in a third room, as us producers discussed logistics in a fourth.

In addition to figuring out the technical aspects of a virtual musical, it was also important for us as the leadership to be aware of the time we’re living in and the toll it can take on mental health. While we remained committed to making this show happen, we understood if team members had to take a step back from the process.

It was also essential to embrace the limitations of this new medium, which allowed us to make all sorts of new discoveries. For example, as a new work process, the virtual format freed us from the budgetary or work time constraints of the physical elements of the show, which allowed us to make bigger story edits later in the rehearsal timeline. Normally, you can’t make changes that would affect your set during tech week, but without a set, we could make edits that were in the best interest of the story at any time.

Another added surprise of the virtual performance was the sense of community we still felt. In the end, a combined audience of about 500 friends, family, alumni, mentors, industry insiders, and students from as far as the Netherlands and New Zealand tuned into a first-of-its-kind virtual presentation of an original musical. As soon as the show ended, our inboxes were buzzing nonstop from viewers who were so thrilled at the way the show came together.

Ultimately, while our virtual reading was certainly not the performance we anticipated, we are so proud of the work we created and what we learned along the way. We hope our production can serve as a model and a resource for the wider theatre community as we enter into a new era of online theatre-making. Our gratitude is forever with our passionate and resilient team, who were able to look a worldwide pandemic in the face and decide that art is still worth making.

 

Written by: Emma Griffone, Leo Jared Scheck, Jon Toussaint, and Olivia Worley
Producers of State of the Art and Co-Chairs of The Waa-Mu Show

 

And now you can watch State of the Art!

 

 


Emma Griffone studies Theatre and Literature at Northwestern University. Favorite performance credits include FUN HOME, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, and RAGTIME. She has been an orchestrator and arranger for several Northwestern productions, including COMPANY and GUYS AND DOLLS. Management credits include STATE OF THE ART, where she served as co-producer.

Leo Jared Scheck studied Theatre and Economics at Northwestern University, where he produced sold-out runs of DRY LAND and 13 THE MUSICAL. Other management credits include HELLO, DOLLY!, NEXT TO NORMAL, 9 TO 5, and STATE OF THE ART. He previously interned for HAMILTON on the Marketing and Communications team. www.leoscheck.com.

Jon Toussaint studies Theatre, French, and Psychology at Northwestern University. In addition to being a co-chair of the 89th Annual Waa-Mu Show and co-producer of STATE OF THE ART, Jon is an actor, director, and choreographer, most recently having directed Northwestern’s largest student-produced musical of the year (SPAMALOT).

Olivia Worley studied Theatre and Business Institutions at Northwestern University. Favorite performance credits include URINETOWN, CARRIE, SPELLING BEE, and LEGALLY BLONDE. As a playwright, she has written two full-length plays performed at Northwestern. Co-Producing credits include INTO THE WOODS, STEP ON A CRACK, and STATE OF THE ART. www.oliviaworley.com.

 

P.S. Tonight, we’re LIVE with James Snyder (Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, If/Then, Cry-Baby). Swing by at 8pm EDT to find out what he’s been up to since the Broadway shutdown affected what was about to be Year 3 of Harry Potter and Cursed Child. Click here to set your reminder on Facebook. Or click here to watch on Youtube.

THIS WEEK ON THE LIVESTREAM: Santino Fontana, Dominique Morisseau, Lorin Latarro, and more!

We had a week of big laughs on last week’s Livestream, and not just because I can’t seem to get through an episode without screwing something up.  🙂

If you missed any, here are a few replays from last week to catch up on!

  • Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Bobby Lopez, the songwriting duo shared a cut song from Disney’s Frozen 2 especially for us!
  • Jordan Fisher taught me about the world of Twitch, and now I’m hooked and wondering how start Twitchin’ for the theater.
  • Rob McClure shared the inspiration for his Conductor Cam series on Instagram (which is a must-see)
  • Julie Halston described how important it was to wake up each morning and glam up!
  • Ashley Park and I reminisced about our Tony Nominee luncheon and who was at our table and more.

You can see all of the 43+ episodes here.

AND HERE IS WHO IS ON THE LIVE STREAM THIS WEEK:

Monday, May 11th – Santino Fontana (Tony Award-winning Actor – Tootsie, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Sunday In The Park With George)

Tuesday, May 12th – James Snyder (Actor – Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, If/Then)

Wednesday, May 13th – Dominique Morisseau (Playwright/Book Writer – Ain’t Too Proud, Pipeline)

Thursday, May 14th – Lorin Latarro (Choreographer – Mrs. Doubtfire, Waitress, American Idiot)

Friday, May 15th – Stephanie Klemons (Choreographer/Director – FLYHamilton, In The Heights, “Hunters” starring Al Pacino).

We are going LIVE every night at 8pm EDT (7pm CDT/ 6pm MDT/ 5pm PDT). Follow me on Facebook to get notified as soon as we hit the “GO LIVE” button.

Don’t have Facebook? You can also watch the livestream on Broadway Podcast Network’s Youtube channel.

To see who’s coming up next, visit www.TheProducersPerspective.com/LIVE.

I Discovered The Secret of Happiness. It’s a Virtual Reunion of Daddy Long Legs!

In 2015, we streamed Daddy Long Legs LIVE to the world, and it became the very first Broadway or Off-Broadway show to take our performance virtual.

We were seen by over 150k people in 135 countries around the world.  And when all the press articles started appearing on our efforts, and when our box office went up, and when our two stars started getting recognized on the street, we knew we were on to something with this streaming thing.

And now, 5 years later, streamin’ is the only thing we have.

Since my out-of-the-box-thinking and super courageous artists on Daddy Long Legs were so instrumental in ushering in the idea of theater-to-stream, I couldn’t think of a better group to reunite online during these cray-cray times.

So, on Thursday, May 21st, I’m hosting a Daddy Long Legs Reunion on my daily livestream series, The Producer’s Perspective LIVE!, to raise money and awareness for The Actors Fund.

And look who’s gonna be there!

Megan McGinnis (Jerusha Abbott), Adam Halpin (Jervis Pendleton), John Caird (Book & Director), Paul Gordon (Music & Lyrics), and Michael Jackowitz (Producer).

Tune in to my Facebook page on Thursday, May 21st at 8pm EDT / 7pm CDT / 6pm MDT / 5pm PDT.

And if you’re like me and are now feeling super nostalgic for Daddy Long Legs, or you haven’t seen it yet (gasp), you can see it FREE on BroadwayHD. They’re running a free trial to all of you who want to see in before the reunion.  (My advice . . . watch it RIGHT before!)  Daddy has become one of the most popular titles on BroadwayHD, and when you watch it, you’ll see why.

To replay Daddy Long Legs: click here and use this code: DLLBHD

To listen to the tear-jerkin’ recording, click here to get it on Spotify, here on Amazon, or here on Apple Music.

I look forward to seeing you on the livestream on May 21st at 8pm EDT!

 

 

P.S. Don’t have Facebook? No problem. We’re also streaming to Broadway Podcast Network’s Youtube Channel.

P.P.S. Tune in tonight at 8pm EDT. I’ll be sitting down with Ashley Park to talk about Mean Girls, KPOP, Sunday In The Park…, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and more! Join the conversation here.

THIS WEEK ON THE LIVESTREAM: Ashley Park, Jordan Fisher, Rob McClure, and more!

Since the shutdown began, we’ve done 38 livestreams for almost 20 straight hours of content.  So don’t tell me you’ve got nothing to watch.  🙂

If you missed any, here are a few replays from last week to catch up on!

  • Zalmen Mlotek, the Artistic Director of National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, and probably the only Artistic Director in the country to also be a conductor and musical arranger!
  • Michael Arden and Andy Mientus shared their ideas for a drive-in theater experience!
  • David Korins designed a labeled for the future COVID-19 vaccine . . . in 15 seconds, and LIVE.
  • Kerry Butler talked about her coaching biz and her Instagram Live watercolor class . . .  and even got a new nickname from a fan!
  • Krysta Rodriguez gave us a preview of her upcoming role as Liza Minelli on Ryan Murphy’s new TV show!

You can see all of the episodes here.

AND HERE IS WHO IS ON THE LIVE STREAM THIS WEEK:

Monday, May 4th – Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez (Composer/Lyricist – Disney’s Frozen)

Tuesday, May 5th – Jordan Fisher (Actor/Musician – Dear Evan Hansen, Hamilton, “Grease Live!”)

Wednesday, May 6th – Rob McClure (Actor – Beetlejuice, Mrs. Doubtfire, Honeymoon In Vegas)

Thursday, May 7th – Julie Halston (Actor – Tootsie, On The Town, Hairspray)

Friday, May 8th – Ashley Park (Actor – Grand Horizons, Mean Girls, Sunday In The Park With George)

 

We are going LIVE every night at 8pm EDT (7pm CDT/ 6pm MDT/ 5pm PDT). Follow me on Facebook to get notified as soon as we hit the “GO LIVE” button.

Don’t have Facebook? You can also watch the livestream on Broadway Podcast Network’s Youtube channel.

To see who’s coming up next, visit www.TheProducersPerspective.com/LIVE.

Ken Davenport
Ken Davenport

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer

I'm on a mission to help 5000 shows get produced by 2025.

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