There are many of us who love the experience of live theater. And when it comes to theater, nothing can beat the experience of Broadway. Live theater seems like heaven when you think about Star Wars The Last Jedi and Thor III. Nothing Broadway puts can be that abysmal. New York is famous for many attractions – nightlife, billboards, Times Square – but Broadway remains at the top. Just like every actor dreams of performing at Broadway at least once in the lifetime, every theater enthusiast also longs to catch at least one Broadway show. But alas, not everyone is able to fly to New York to watch a show at Broadway. Not even every New Yorker is able to afford a ticket to a Broadway show.
BroadwayHD – How Broadway Hopes To Cash In On Digital Streaming
Broadway Has a Plan
But there seems to be a way out now. No, Broadway isn’t going to open in every country or American city, like Hard Rock Café. It is only going to take the help of technology to make Broadway shows more accessible to the masses.
Unfortunately, Broadway has been slow to adapt to changes. In fact, the use of microphones only started after the 1960s, as crazy as that sounds. If compared to the latest digital scenario, Broadway is far from it. While every movie hall and television show is trying to cash in on the digital trend, Broadway is still selling premium tickets the old-fashioned way.
Despite the time and effort required to design and create each show, only forty shows can fit on Broadway at any given time.
Even if you are in other countries, you can get access to over 200 recorded Broadway shows at only about nine dollars a month, thanks to BroadwayHD, a theater streaming platform started two years ago by producer Stewart F. Lane and his wife Bonnie Comley.
BroadwayHD is the first and only such platform for streaming Broadway shows, but it hasn’t yet garnered much popularity because Broadway actors and producers aren’t too keen on recording their shows.
Technology has given us access to things we might not have otherwise been able to enjoy. Netflix has offered us a world of quality shows and movies, which otherwise would have been regionally restricted.
Most people don’t even need to go to the theaters to watch movies anymore. Streaming platforms have made it possible to view everything right at home.
Despite BroadwayHD being around for two years, not many know of its existence. If this streaming platform had gained mass popularity, Broadway shows would be accessible by millions of people around the world. You can watch BroadwayHD on PC, Mac, Android, iOS, Chromecast, Apple TV, and Roku.
Recently, another theatrical streaming service called Stage has also been launched.
Afraid of Change
But producers haven’t been too happy about recording their shows because of two reasons: first, it would lead to a drop in ticket prices, and second, it would rob the shows of the ‘live’ feel. After all, most would agree that the best part about theater is the liveness. But Broadway is old fashioned. It doesn’t want to accept new ideas. It still wants to keep running the way it has done since 1750. Kind of like the IRS. We want a flat tax! Simplification!
But producers who support theater streaming don’t think that recorded versions need to have the ‘live’ feel, because it serves a different purpose. Directors like Michael Urie believe that those who enjoy the ‘liveness’ of theater will pay premium prices to catch live shows.
But streaming is for those are new to theater or want to get the Broadway experience without heading to New York. It is meant for a different section of audience.
Music and movies are easily pirated, but Broadway shows are not, justifying the expensive prices. But that doesn’t mean piracy doesn’t exist at all. No matter which country you are in, you can always find grainy mobile phone videos on YouTube of Tony-winning shows. Watching these would be better and more constructive than watching Dreamcatcher, Kill Bill, and 22 Jumpstreet!
Not a Bright Experience
They are of the poorest quality, and not how actors want people to see their shows. Most actors rue that these low-quality grainy videos ruin the whole experience of theater.
Piracy isn’t going to go away ever. Therefore, producers must find a way to turn people from pirated content to authorized high-quality content. The key here is high quality. Theater shows are done in the moment, and aren’t usually fit to be recorded.
Without the right tools, the recorded version can turn out to be of poor quality. Although a recorded show can never recreate the live experience, it can allow people to enjoy a high-quality premium version of a popular Broadway show.
Although the process of filming a theater show is exorbitant, and BroadwayHD is currently fronting the costs as of now, it will help actors preserve their performances and also in their CV when seeking future work. It remains to be seen if BroadwayHD will garner mass appeal and if it will boost the 268-year-old theater.