Watching Theatre from Home
Adapting to the Pandemic
By: Aaron Krause - Apr 21, 2020
Stage shows are going on – maybe not live, but via live streaming and through other means. Since the world is in the midst of a pandemic, theater lovers are not able to experience the vitality and immediacy that comes with truly live theater. However, that doesn’t mean theater can’t be a part of your life under quarantine.
With that said, here are some ways to indulge your hunger for live theater without leaving your home.
- Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS will present its first trivia event at 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 21. The event will occur weekly at 5 p.m. Tuesdays. Log onto the Broadway Cares YouTube or Facebook channels for three rounds of musical theater trivia. Throughout the hour, Broadway star Caitlin Kinnunen will join participants. While you don’t have to pay-to-play, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS encourages $10 donations to the organization’s COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund at broadwaycares.org/help2020. After the third round of questions, send an e-mail with your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org. The email or emails with the most correct answers will be eligible for a prize through a drawing. Participants can play on a team, just as long as only one e-mail is submitted per team. While this is a fun event, Broadway Cares officials stressed the importance of donations. “Tonight, you can help those onstage, backstage, and behind the scenes get urgent health care and emergency financial assistance during this pandemic,” officials wrote on their YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9kriuuI798. “And right now, your donation will be doubled by a group of Broadway producers who have pledged an additional million dollar match. Every dollar you donate will be doubled.”
- “Share Your Shakespeare” with the Folger Shakespeare Library. After all, the Bard’s birthday is Thursday, April 23 and the Folger is throwing a virtual birthday party open to all ages. The event will include many options for kids and families. A schedule of events is available at https://www.folger.edu/shakespeare-birthday-2020-virtual-events. You can access these and other events via Folger’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/folgershakespearelibrary/ or its YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/FolgerLibrary.
- Usually, nothing is free, but these are not usual times. Therefore, Theatrical Rights is offering, at no cost, its entire digital script perusal library. “Every title, every show is now available to you free of charge,” according to the company’s website. The company maintains a 100+ title script library, which is now available to directors, actors, musicians, stage managers, designers, selection committee members, as well as the general public. To get started, log onto https://tinyurl.com/ybx8alwb. “Throughout this time and always, TRW is committed to serving our our worldwide theater community in the best interest of authors, producers, and performers,” said Steve Spiegel, Theatrical Rights Worldwide’s owner, president and CEO. Meanwhile, Folger’s website is www.folger.edu.
- Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables is giving people a chance to get creative by sharing their experiences during the pandemic. If you wish to participate in “Stories That Connect Us All,” compose and submit an 8-minute or less piece of writing in monologue form. Participants can write in first person or in storytelling fashion. Once Actors’ Playhouse is able to re-open, its staff will select several submissions and invite the writers to perform their pieces in the playhouse’s 300-seat Balcony Theatre for the public. Send all entries to email@example.com in PDF form by June 1. Actors’ Playhouse will not accept mail submissions. “Stories That Connect Us All” is limited to playwrights/creative writing aficionados living in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe Counties. All entires must be less than eight minutes long and be focused around the themes of the pandemic. Musicals will not be accepted. All entries should be original, unpublished works that nobody has produced. You must include an entry form and adhere to a one entry limit per form. Include your name and contact information on the entry form. By submitting a piece for consideration, you agree to Actors’ Playhouse’s right, upon determination, to further develop the work in a staged reading and production. Participants must perform their own works, or find a replacement person to perform it.
- Actors’ Playhouse is also giving Miami-Dade County youth ages 8-17 the chance to submit preliminary round audition videos that showcase their talent. Prizes range from performing arts scholarships, cash awards, and performance opportunities, as well as tickets to local cultural attractions and theaters. The grand prize winner will receive a free trip — airfare, hotel, and passes for two — to attend the live Teen Choice Awards, courtesy of WSVN 7News, along with $500 in cash. If the Teen Choice Awards is cancelled, WSVN 7News will provide an alternate prize of equal value.
The individual categories are: Vocal (pop/rock/rap), vocal (musical theater/jazz standards/classical), dance, musical instrument, original spoken word, and original composition (vocal and/or instrumental). Meanwhile, the group categories, which must comprise six or few members, are dance, musical instrumental/band and vocal group. For more information, log onto https://www.stayhome.miami/young-talent-big-dreams-goes-virtual.
- Theatre Lab, the professional resident company at Florida Atlantic University, will present Part II of its online original monologue festival titled “Heroes.” This is a benefit for “the unsung heroes of the South Florida Theatre Community,” according to the company’s website. Recently, the company made headlines when it presented the first part of this online event to help local artists affected by the COVID-19 crisis. To read a story about the monologue festival, log onto http://www.floridatheateronstage.com/general/sofla-monologues-a-different-kind-of-room-where-it-happens/. Part II of the festival will take place at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 27 on https://www.facebook.com/theatrelabfau/photos/p.2425194760914437/2425194760914437/?type=1&theater.
Meanwhile, Theatre Lab’s “Parts of a Story” and “Elements of a Monologue” workshop from the inaugural monologue festival remain on the company’s Facebook page. You can watch it at any time. Also, Theatre Lab will provide a brief “Scene Writing” workshop live on Facebook at 12:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday, April 16. Anyone interested in the process can tune in live for some tips on how to create compelling scenes and dialogue, which they can use to try their hand at a two-person, three-page play. Theatre Lab will accept submissions through 10 a.m. on Monday, April 20. E-mail submissions to Jill Carr, Director of Education and Community Outreach for Theatre Lab. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. A selection committee will choose the pieces that best fit the “Heroes” theme and distribute them to actors and directors to rehearse and prepare for performance.
- Let West Palm Beach-based MNM Theatre Company serenade you with songs from musicals that the company has performed. MNM alumni have created videos of their favorites. MNM uploads new videos as they arrive. To watch, visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrTMxuarDRpYVE7LRcyu-9A.
- While Palm Beach Dramaworks has had to postpone its production of The Light in the Piazza due to the pandemic, the company is trying to engage with patrons in a creative manner. Specifically, PBD is inviting its regular patrons and others to share their thoughts about the pandemic in 17 syllables – in the form of a haiku. This structure consists of five syllables in three unrhymed lines: five in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third. Folks are invited to submit as many as three haikus by May 1. The company announced on its website that it will upload some of its favorite submissions. To submit one or more, log onto http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07eh03w1l0k8ekljts/a012dk928ayt2/questions.
- The National Theatre in London, UK is streaming one of their productions per week on YouTube. Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, a tale of mutiny, money, and murder, will begin streaming at 2 p.m. April 16 and be available through April 23. National Theatre Live, the broadcast arm of the National Theatre, filmed Treasure Island and other plays. To watch, visit https://www.youtube.com/user/ntdiscovertheatre.
- Every Friday, renowned composer Andrew Lloyd Webber will stream one of his iconic musicals on his YouTube channel titled “The Shows Must Go On.” Each show will be available for just 48 hours. While you must subscribe to his channel to watch, viewing is free. You can find his channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdmPjhKMaXNNeCr1FjuMvag.
- Actor John Krasinski highlights positive news at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdmPjhKMaXNNeCr1FjuMvag.
- While Palm Beach Dramaworks (PBD) has had to postpone its production of The Light in the Piazza due to the pandemic, the company is trying to engage with patrons in a creative manner. Specifically, PBD is inviting its regular patrons and others to share their thoughts about the pandemic in 17 syllables – in the form of a haiku. This structure consists of five syllables in three unrhymed lines: five in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third. Folks are invited to submit as many as three haikus by May 1. The company announced on its website that it will upload some of its favorite submissions. To submit one or more, log onto http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07eh03w1l0k8ekljts/a012dk928ayt2/questions.
- The website broadwayhd.com allows people to stream their favorite Broadway hits “anytime, anywhere!” The monthly cost is $8.99 per month following a seven-day free trial and $99.99 a year following the free trial.
- Ft. Lauderdale-based New City Players is going live on Instagram with a different South Florida theater artist at 9 p.m. each night until the pandemic is over and theater companies have safely re-opened their doors. The goal is not just to entertain, but to call attention to the South Florida League Relief Fund and raise money for artists in need. To watch the Late Show Live with NCP, visit https://www.instagram.com/newcityplayers/
- Also, New City Players will host its first “Movie Night with NCP” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 25. The featured film will be Don’t Think Twice (2016). The website imbd.com describes the film as follows: When a member of a popular New York City improv troupe gets a huge break, the rest of the group – all best friends – start to realize that not everyone is going to make it after all. Log onto newcityplayers.com to RSVP and follow instructions in order to receive the emailed link on April 25.
- Miami New Drama, based in Miami Beach, is offering free master classes in various theatrical disciplines. To view classes, and register for them, visit https://www.colonymb.org/master-mind.
- “The Show Must Go On…Show” features topics such as art, medicine, and science at 7 p.m. every Tuesday. It is literally a variety show. Episodes could feature cooking with a gourmet chef, pet stories, a Broadway performer serenading you, and a marine biologist exploring the ocean’s beauty and fragility. To watch live streamed episodes and previous ones, log onto www.showmustgoonshow.com.