Last Minute Holiday Gift Idea: Enjoying Live Theatre From Your Own Home

by Kevin M. Thomas
 
If you’re looking for a last minute Christmas present – or one for yourself – I have become a big fan of the streaming device BroadwayHD.
 
BroadwayHD is the perfect answer for people who can’t afford to go to live theatre (pity) or those who don’t have the time to go to New York on a regular basis.
 
With a one month subscription of $8.99 (or a year for $99.99), I was able to see tons of shows. In the month I tried them out, I saw five shows – I could have seen more if I had the time. Maybe there’s some binge watching in my future.
 
But if I had seen these shows live, not only would I be faced with theatre tickets for over $100 each, but then there’s airfare and hotel. So if you do the math, a hotel for five nights can easily be $200 a day, airfare might be $450 (if I’m lucky). So that’s $1950. But I only spent $8.99.
 
Sure live is much better and I really urge people to support live theatre. But if you can’t, there’s BroadwayHD, where you can stream on the device of your choice (but best on your HD TV as all filmed in HD after all).
 
On my last New York trip, I was running out of time before I was running out of shows to see. Alas, I didn’t get a chance to see “Present Laughter.” A week later Kevin Kline won the Tony Award for Best Actor. Thanks to BroadwayHD, I now have seen his terrific award-winning performance. It’s filmed very much like a movie with multiple cameras, great editing, and close-ups. This service makes you feel as if you have VIP prime seats thanks to the show being up close and personal, even though you’re watching from your own couch.
 
In many ways, these plays and musicals seem like theatrical movies thanks to the superior quality of their productions. But they are actually filmed live in the theatres they played in.
 
In my month, I also watched one of my favorite shows “Memphis,” which won a Tony Award for Best Musical. It seemed like a reunion to me to see that amazing cast of Chad Kimball, Montego Glover, and the Bay Area’s fantastic James Monroe Iglehart. The musical colors in this production pop out thanks to it being filmed in high definition.
 
I also rewatched “Daddy Long Legs,” a musical I loved when it played in the Bay Area at TheatreWorks but I missed it in its Off-Broadway run and was able to catch up in the comfort of my own home. I was happy to see that it still has the fantastic original stars Megan McGinnis and Adam Halpin. 
 

Then, what a delight in seeing Audra McDonald in her Tony-winning role in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” and I will look forward to seeing the recent Tony nominees “Falsettos” and “She Loves Me.

This service is more than current shows – and it’s more than just Broadway. Imagine the fun I will finally see Hugh Jackman in a 1999 production of “Oklahoma!” – this was before America knew he can even sing. I also had a great flashback to London to see a wonderful production of “Billy Elliot.”

BroadwayHD also has a lot of musical concerts from the very popular “Phantom of the Opera” and  “Les Miserables” to other exciting star-studded concert productions of “Sweeney Todd,” “Company,” “Follies” and “Candide.”

While I am crazy about musicals, BroadwayHD is more than that. There are tons of dramas – new and old – and a lot from the BBC. One can go from watching Shakespeare to an early performance of Nathan Lane in “The Man Who Came to Dinner.”  Classics like “Hedda Gabler”  and “The Merchant of Venice” are also available.  

The list goes on an on. In short, there is something on BroadwayHD for everyone who loves theatre. It’s great for when you can’t go to the theatre or catch up on shows you missed. It also makes for a nice journey down memory lane and revisits some of your favorites, many with original casts filmed in their heyday.
 
I do hope, in time, they add shows that have become so popular that their tickets cost over $900, making it too expensive for most people to see especially students. It’s great  “Hamilton,” “Hello, Dolly!” or “Dear Evan Hansen” can command $900 or more for tickets, but, especially in the case of “Hansen,” many students who would benefit from the moral to the story are robbed of its lessons because of the cost. So for these very popular and expensive shows, I do hope when their popularity dies down, they consider streaming it via BroadwayHD to reach a larger audience of people who can’t afford the high cost of theatre tickets.
 
Until that happens, gifting yourself or a friend a subscription to BroadwayHD is just the ticket to enjoy a love of live theatre. Check it out at www.broadwayhd.com or download on your favorite streaming device.