During this week and for the near future, it is entirely possible you're going to find yourself a little stir crazy while protecting yourself and those around you during the Coronavirus outbreak. And if you're a lover of the stage, you know live theatre is being hit particularly hard right now.
But never fear, there are numerous ways for you to still enjoy live theatre, as well as some of your favorite musicals and plays made into film, right from the comfort of your own home. Here's my own personal top ten list of ways to stream the stage onto your television.
1. Broadway HD
This is by far the best source for the most content for live theatre. You can stream hundreds of plays and musicals, from classics including She Loves Me, Miss Saigon, and Carousel, to cult classics like Sweeney Todd, as well as newer, challenging pieces including Falsettos and the Tony-winner Kinky Boots. There are no ads included in your subscription. Prices range from $8.99/month or $99.99/year.
Should you fancy yourself a trip across the Atlantic, Digital Theatre brings you some of the best from London's West End. Classics like Hamlet musicals including Into the Woods and featured films like Joan Collins' Decadence or Eclipse Theatre's Rage all can be found either for rent or via subscription. You can also browse dance, orchestra and opera hits for while you're trying out some favorite recipes in the kitchen or relaxing with that glass of wine at the end of a stressful day of self-quarantine. Rental prices begin around $9.50 with monthly subscriptions just under $13.
3. Marquee TV
If your fancy takes you to ballet or opera, as well as a range of other theatre performances, Marquee TV is another good option. With both international and American titles, you can stream everything from the Royal Shakespeare Company and Oscar Wilde, to titles from the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia and other titles from Germany, and other nations as well. They are currently offering a 30-day free trial with subscriptions starting at $8.99/month or $89.99/year.
If you want something a bit more structured into your day, the historic Metropolitan Opera will be live-streaming a title from its Live in HD series each night during its closure beginning at 7:30PM. They will be available to watch for free for 20 hours. Upcoming titles include Donizetti's La Fille du Régiment and Lucia di Lammermoor, as well as Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin.
The audiobook giant has been getting involved more and more in recording Off-Broadway productions and putting them out as theatrical drama for the ears. You can listen to the likes of John Lithgow, Carey Mulligan, Alan Cumming and more through the streaming service. There is a 30-day free trial. After that, subscriptions start at $14.95/month.
As theatres across the country have temporarily closed, artists nationwide have taken to Instagram to continue sharing their voices and other talents. 24 Hour Plays recently featured monologues from artists, posting them every 15-minutes showcasing impactful roles and amazing talent. Broadway Goes Viral is a relatively new channel (with currently a few number of followers) posting songs from performers. Tony-winner Laura Benanti asked her followers to post themselves singing songs from performances that may have been canceled due to the outbreak with the hashtag #SunshineSongs for her and others to be their audience. Theatre Without Theatre is another Instagram feed with similar posting.
Now begins our more commonly found streaming services with an abundance of titles online to stream. Netflix has a range of both authentic Broadway titles as well as films and musicals made from Broadway titles. Some include film musicals like Hairspray and Sweeney Todd as well as shows with Broadway runs including Springsteen on Broadway and the comedic Oh, Hello on Broadway. The streaming service even has produced its own adaptations of works from the stage, including Kerry Washington in American Son, a Netflix Original film based on Washington's run in the Broadway play of the same name. After a free 30-day trial, a subscription to Netflix will cost you anywhere from $8.99 to $15.99.
8. Amazon Prime
Just type in "musicals" on the streaming service, and you'll find a wide variety of on-stage, in-film and other adaptations on Amazon Prime. Anything from Live from Lincoln Center: Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel and Hamilton: One Shot to Broadway features recordings from the actual performances themselves. You can also find musicals turned into films like 2014's Into the Woods, Little Shop of Horrors, Bye Bye Birdie, The King and I, and Les Miserables. Plays including live performances of Driving Miss Daisy with Angela Lansbury and James Earl Jones can be found on Prime Video as well. A Prime Video-only subscription will cost you $8.99/month. Or, you can go all in on Prime for $12.99/month or pay $119 for the year.
9. Hulu (with add-ons)
Head over to Hulu, and it will lead you to mostly adaptations of stage plays and musicals rather than live theatre. However, there's still quite the browsing possibilities on the streaming service. Many, however, will cost you an additional add on to HBOGO, Starz, Cinemax and others. Amongst those, you can find The Phantom of the Opera, Rent, Chicago, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and many more. The base subscription to Hulu, with ads, starts at $5.99/month before any add-ons.
10. Honorable Mentions
There are, of course, a variety of other locations to find content you may be looking for. YouTube undoubtedly, amongst numerous community theatre and high school performances, houses full live productions and films of musicals either for free or rent. Broadway Licensing is making new titles available to stream every day. There are also a few other platforms being created for you to watch some of your favorite names, including a soon-to-be new service called "Play-Per-View" on Twitter, which could be promising. Another site working to promote the Actor's Fund is called "Stars in the House," with various Broadway names appearing on the show to talk.
This is by far not a full list of avenues for where you can find live and adapted theatre content. However, for those of us who have plenty of time on our hands in an unprecedented time for the nation and the world, if you have that itch for live theatre that we won't be able to scratch for awhile, there will always be ways to find the content you crave.