Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Watch Broadway From The Comfort Of Your Own Couch

Show of hands. How many of you out there love the theatre? I'm guessing all of you have your hands raised. I mean why else would you be reading this blog right? As of today, it has been exactly twenty days since my last show. Now I don't know about you, but that feels like a lifetime for a theatre fan like me. My last show, was the London transfer of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth's Company.

The show, is not only my favorite Sondheim musical, but one of my favorite show's of all time. Directed by Tony Award winner Marianne Elliott, and starring Tony Award winners Katrina Lenk and Patti LuPone, Company was scheduled to open on March 22 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. Hopefully when the chaos is over, and we can get back to normal, the show will finally open.

Now until Broadway as we know it returns, there are ways to fill the void until that day comes. As we speak, there are almost two dozen celebrated plays and musicals that are just a a click away. Some I actually saw live in the theatre, and others I never had the chance to see until now. Isn't technology great? Here are twenty-two shows that you can watch at home.

The SpongeBob Musical: Live On Stage (Amazon) - One of the biggest surprises in all the years that I have been going to the theatre. Going in, I had never seen one episode of this television phenomenon. Oh, and if you were thinking this is a show that only the little ones will enjoy, you would be wrong. I can't remember that last time I had so much fun at a Broadway show. You will not be disappointed. 

The New One (Netflix) - Even though I did not see this production, I did see his first solo show, Sleepwalk With Me, which was also turned into a critically acclaimed film in 2012. It was great, and I have no doubt this one will be too.

Oh, Hello on Broadway (Netflix) - I didn't see the show during it's Broadway run, because quite frankly it didn't seem like something that I would enjoy. Then a couple of years ago, one of it's stars John Mulaney hosted SNL, and I thought it might be time to give it a try. If you want a good laugh, then you won't do any better than John Mulaney and Nick Kroll. 

Indecent (PBS Passport and BroadwayHD) - I first heard about this show from a friend of mine, who raved about it. Then I heard from even more friends who felt the same. I figured it was time to see what all the hype was about. Of course by then, the show had already closed. Thank goodness for PBS.

Holiday Inn (PBS Passport and BroadwayHD) - If you are a fan of the movie, you will love this stage adaptation of this beloved film. A great Irving Berlin score and amazing choreography make this a must see theatre fans.

An American In Paris (PBS Passport and BroadwayHD) - I remember seeing the movie for the first time in my 20's and always thought it would make a great Broadway musical. I guess I was right. 

42nd Street (PBS Passport and BroadwayHD) - Even though I was here during the 2001 Tony Award winning production, I never saw it. Now's my chance. This version is from the critically acclaimed West End version from 2018. 

Putting It Together - (BroadwayHD) - The oldest production on the list, is this enchanting Sondheim revue that opened on Broadway in 1999. Starring Carol Burnett, two-time Tony Award winner George Hearn, John Barrowman, Ruthie Henshall, and Bronson Pinchoy, this is a must see for any Sondheim fan.

25th Anniversary Concert The Phantom of the Opera (BroadwayHD and Amazon) - Now while it may not be a full production, it does feature Broadway favorites Ramin Karimloo as the Phantom and Sierra Boggess as Christine. What can be better than that?

The King and I (PBS Passport and BroadwayHD) - My favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. Based on the Tony Award winning 2015 production, it stars Tony Award winners Kelli O'Hara, Ruthie Ann Miles, and Ken Watanabe, who recreate their roles for the London production. 

Red (PBS Passport and BroadwayHD) - One of my biggest theatrical regrets. Not because I saw it, but because I never did. Thankfully now I have the chance to correct that mistake. Filmed in London in 2019 at the Wyndham Theatre, this Tony Award winning play by John Logan, stars original star Alfred Molina in his Tony Award nominated performance, and Alfed Enoch. 

Much Ado About Nothing (PBS) - Who doesn't love Shakespeare? Recorded in 2019 at New York's Delacorte Theatre, this is the first production of Shakespeare in the Park to be broadcast on PBS. Starring Tony Award nominee Danielle Brooks (The Color Purple), this classic masterpiece is directed by Tony Award winner Kenny Leon (A Raisin In The Sun). 

Kinky Boots (PBS Passport and BroadwayHD) - Another award winning musical that I never got around to seeing. Here's my chance. Recorded in the West End, and directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell, this version stars Olivier Award winners Matt Henry and Killian Donnelly. 

If I Forget (BroadwayHD) - One of my favorite shows of the past few years was Dear Evan Hanson. Which is why I was excited when I heard that the shows book writer Stephen Levenson, had written a new play. If I Forget centers around two sisters played by Kate Walsh and Maria Dizzia, and their brother played by Jeremy Shamos, who gather together to celebrate their father's 75th Birthday. 

Pipeline (BroadwayHD) - Pipeline tells the story of black student Omari, who attends a predominantly all-white school, and his single mother who teaches at the local public school. Produced Off-Broadway by Lincoln Center in 2017, this Pulitzer Prize finalist was written by Dominique Morriseau. 

Macbeth (Masterpiece on Amazon and Amazon) - Well would you look at that? Another Shakespeare play on the list. Starring Patrick Stewart and Kate Fleetwood, who reprise their 2008 Tony nominated performances,was produced in 2010, and was directed by Rupert Goold. 

Daddy Long Legs (BrodwayHD) - Now in case you didn't know, this was the first ever Off-Broadway show in history to live stream. The musical, which is based on the Jean Webster novel, is adapted by Tony Award winner John Caird (Miserables). 

Miss Saigon (BroadwayHD) - One of my favorite shows of all time. Recorded in London as part of the shows 25th Anniversary, Miss Saigon stars original Broadway revival star Eva Noblezada in her Tony nominated performance as Kim, and Alistair Brammer as Chris. 

Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill (HBO on Amazon) - Starring six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald as Billie Holiday. Enough said. 

Ann (BroadwayHD) - Starring Emmy Award winner Holland Taylor, this new play celebrating the life of Texas Governor Ann Richards, was recorded in 2016 at the Zach Theatre in Austin, Texas. The show, which played on Broadway in 2013, was one of the best one person shows that I have ever seen. 

Shakespeare at the Donmar Warehouse (BroadwayHD) - Shakespeare again? Yes. But this time it's an all-female trilogy of Henry IV, Julius Caesar, and The Tempest. I think I could handle a little more Shakespeare to see that. 

A Night With Janis Joplin (BroadwayHD) - I had the pleasure of seeing this show when it played on Broadway in 2013. It was fantastic. This production, which was filmed at Portland Center Stage in Oregon, stars Mary Bridget Davies, who recreates her amazing Tony nominated performance as Janis Joplin.

Quite the lineup of shows don't you think? Now the only question you have to ask yourself is, "Which one do you see?" Here's a thought. Why not see all of them? I mean it's not like we all don't have a lot of free time on our hands these days. But don't worry. Before you know it, things will be back to normal. And when they do, we will once again be able to celebrate the thing we all love. Live theatre. After all, there's nothing like it in the whole world. Until next time theatre fans.

Applause Theatre and Entertainment Service, Inc.
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