On Thursday, Sept. 10, the renowned epidemiologist and director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) did an interview with actress Jennifer Garner where he said that Broadway will likely not open its doors again until at least a year after the implementation of an effective vaccine.
Although that news is, of course, unfortunate for both fans and live theatre workers alike, there are still many events that can help to somewhat alleviate that pain by offering theatrical enjoyment virtually. From online interviews to games to fundraisers, Broadway has not allowed the pandemic to wipe away all of its allure.
There are several interviews conducted virtually between Broadway stars. One example of this is in a biweekly YouTube series hosted by Sirius XM radio host Seth Rudetsky: “Stars in the House.” From film to television to theater, Rudetsky has guests from all around the entertainment spectrum. Whether they graced the silver screen or the Great White Way, they are sure to be on his show.
Along with interviews, there are several game shows with Broadway stars. Andrew Barth Feldman and Alex Boniello, two former actors in “Dear Evan Hansen,” host both “Broadway Jackbox” and “Broadway Whodunit”.
The former is a 90-minute show, which is streamed on Tiltify most Friday evenings at 5 p.m. and has featured many Broadway stars from Lesli Margherita to Alex Brightman.
The latter is an improvised show where each performer creates a character, and the audience is tasked with finding the murderer. Then, depending on if they get their prediction correct or not, adds points to their leaderboard, which will continue throughout each game. Tickets to the online show cost $22 and a link to watch the show is sent out after the purchase is completed.
Many of Broadway’s premier events have resorted to an online format instead of being outright canceled. For example, the annual Broadway Barks Fundraiser, “MisCast Cabaret,” and “Broadway Flea Market,” have all gone live.
Furthermore, the Tony Awards, which were unfortunately postponed from their original date in June, have decided to go completely virtual on a date yet to be determined. This is in addition to the Anthony Awards from June that honored BIPOC individuals in the theater industry.
Finally, there are several plays and musicals you can view online during this prolonged performing hiatus. Rudetsky also hosts “Plays in the House,” where actors will read through plays, from Shakespeare to Eugene O’Neill. Regarding musicals, there are several on Netflix, Disney+ or YouTube for your viewing enjoyment. Some examples include “Shrek the Musical” (Netflix), “Hamilton: An American Musical” (Disney+) and the whole “Team Starkid” catalog (YouTube).
While I know there is nothing that can replace the thrill that comes from sitting in a theater, there are plenty of events to fill the hole in your heart left from March’s shutdown. Broadway will be back in due time. The industry has faced challenges before and has always managed to overcome them.