Broadway struggles to take steps into the future. But thankfully, there are a few orgs out there that are grabbing its hand and pulling it, kicking and “streaming” into the 21st century.
And in the past few days, we’ve made some headway on the subject of filmed theatrical productions, which is near and dear to my handheld device.
On Monday, Tony Award winners Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley announced that BroadwayHD, a company they started dedicated to capturing Broadway content, was now in the business of streaming theater to anyone with access to the web. You can join and watch Orlando Bloom in Romeo and Juliet, the Tony Award-winning Memphis, Jekyll & Hyde and a ton more. Of course, the majority of the titles in their online catalog are from UK productions (click here to read my take on that), but it’s a step . . . and more than a baby step . . . to educating our audiences and more importantly, us content creators, that there is another distribution method for our shows. And this distribution method means additional revenue for the artists, and for the investors . . . and is a massive marketing tool for the specific productions (licensing anyone?) and for theater as a whole.
And last night, Lincoln Center and Playbill offered a live stream of Songwriters, a concert performance of songs by Robert L. Freedman (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder), Ryan Scott Oliver, Kerrigan and Lowdermilk, Nick Blaemire and more, featuring Broadway A-list talent like Alice Ripley and Jeff Blumenkrantz.
Not bad, right? Anything to give theater fans something to watch besides another rerun of SVU.
Seriously, when we can start competing with television and Netflix, we will get a massive leg up on our competition. And no, I’m not worried about losing our audience. Movies from musicals (even the bad ones) have proven over and over that grosses always go up when there is a movie in the market.
I’d expect both BroadwayHD and Lincoln Center/Playbill to offer more and more titles in the future. And I’d expect other orgs to follow the lead of these innovators and offer streaming of their own.
In fact, they say things happen in threes. So maybe there’s another big announcement coming soon.
And maybe it will be from me.
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