Broadway turns to streaming services as shows postpone


As the nation fights through the pandemic, famous shows such as “Hamilton,” “BeetleJuice” and “Mean Girls” have been postponed. However, some shows have been switched to be viewed on certain streaming services, below are a few musicals available online.

Shannon Sullivan

The song “Blackout” from “In the Heights” is full of chaos and confusion, not unlike the current blackout sweeping through Broadway, except the cause of it is not the lack of electricity but is instead due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

No one knows for sure when social distancing will end and when Broadway shows will be allowed to play again. Shows were originally reported to reopen around April 17 but that date has since been extended to June 7. 

Despite these restrictions, many Broadway actors are not letting the quarantine rain on their parade. Taking the show online instead of on the road, the original cast of “Hamilton” reunited via Zoom call to sing their show’s opening number. “SIX the Musical” has since done the same, not only singing the opening number but also including every actress who ever played a queen.

When New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered a ban of all gatherings that exceeded 500 people, Broadway was forced to shut down on March 12.

The closure has led to the official end of “Beetlejuice,” which was intended to play its final show on June 6. It has also led to the cancellation of the “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” revival that was slated to open April 9. 

Among the many other shows forced to close, for the time being, the most popular among them are “SIX the Musical,” “West Side Story,” “Mean Girls,” “Frozen,” “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Hamilton,” “The Book of Mormon” and many others. The 74 Annual Tony awards have also since been postponed. 

BroadwayWorld has been posting weekly challenges since the beginning of the shutdown, allowing theatre fans to answer musical-themed prompts with a piece of art and then reposting them on social media. The site has also been sharing videos of Broadway stars performing songs while stuck at home, labeling them “Living Room Concerts.”

Actors are teaching and joining in on a variety of online classes that aim to educate and entertain their fellow performers. Many of these webinars are free like the ones from The Broadway Collective but there are some that require payment like those from The Virtual Dance Center.

Any theatre kid who is still in search of their musical fix can find solace in streaming services such as BroadwayHD. Pro-shots of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musicals are being released on YouTube every Friday, for a limited amount of time, as part of a series called “The Show Must Go On.” Concerts like Steven Sondheim’s 90th Birthday Celebration and Disney on Broadway 25th Anniversary Concert are currently available on YouTube for a limited time as well. There are also a variety of live watch parties that occur over Facebook and Zoom, although since there are still a lot of shows that aren’t pro-shot, some of those streams will be watching bootlegs. 

Beyond the streaming of classes and shows, however, Andrew Barth Feldman from “Dear Evan Hansen” has been hosting Broadway Jackbox. In that and other Broadway actors, ranging from his fellow castmates from “Dear Evan Hansen” to members of Team Starkid, stream playing Jackbox, an online party game together. The streams also exist to raise money for The Actor’s Fund. 

While Broadway may be on an extended intermission, many of its stars continue to shine and try to be a light in the dark. Like in “Blackout” people can only make the most of the confusion and try to come out stronger than before. This is only the end of Act 1 and the chaos can’t last forever.