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Other Artforms => Miscellaneous => Topic started by: scenicdesign71 on May 07, 2020, 12:27 am

Title: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on May 07, 2020, 12:27 am
Hey, it only took me seven weeks of quarantine to grasp the obvious: there should be a thread for this!

Most of these are free (though donations, often to COVID-related charities, are encouraged), a few are not:

Take Me To The World is still up on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A92wZIvEUAw
Broadway's Best:  https://www.broadwaysbestshows.com/post/the-best-of-series/
NT At Home: https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/nt-at-home
Nightly Metropolitan Opera Streams: https://www.metopera.org/user-information/nightly-met-opera-streams/
Lincoln Center Theatre on BroadwayHD: https://www.lct.org/shows/lights-camera-theater/
Playwrights Horizons "Soundstage" podcasts: https://www.playwrightshorizons.org/watch-listen/soundstage/
Red Bull Theater, play readings and "podversations": https://www.redbulltheater.com
The Wooster Group archives (through May 15): https://vimeo.com/showcase/7088308

...and the one that currently has me most excited:
Fun Home, taped in 2017 at Chicago's Victory Gardens Theater (May 12-24): https://victorygardens.org/event/fun-home-streaming/

Some of these were taken from a recent New York Times article (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/04/theater/theater-streaming-coronavirus.html), which includes more upcoming streaming theatre that I haven't copied here.  Also, TDF (https://www.tdf.org) maintains its own list (though you have to be a member to see it) of streaming shows, usually not free but cheap.

Many of the above are ongoing series(es?) of streaming events (so check the links for new titles each week), but there are also sometimes individual one-off shows (like Fun Home) apparently benefitting the producing theatre company.

Some streaming plays and musicals have already stayed up for quite awhile (like Take Me To The World), others will remain streamable for anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, and still others are strictly "live" one-night-only events (like the "Broadway's Best" series).

And while some of these are full productions taped before the pandemic began, others are Zoom-style readings -- often with starry casts -- made for the current moment and either honest-to-god LIVE-live-streamed (with whatever technical glitches may arise) or recorded and edited to sidestep such glitches.

Given a few more months -- at the optimistic minimum -- in which to develop this format while real theatre is off the boards, I suspect we'll start seeing more and more experimentation (https://www.playwrightshorizons.org/watch-listen/soundstage/soundstage-episodes/episode-3-pfatp/), which has me deeply curious.  (Last month's marvelous (https://www.newyorker.com/recommends/watch/buyer-and-cellar-a-play-that-will-make-you-want-to-watch-theatre-online) Buyer & Cellar, though sadly no longer viewable, represented one modest but highly successful step in that direction (https://www.vulture.com/2020/04/buyer-and-cellar-is-proof-of-concept-for-streamed-theater.html)).  But in the meantime, there's a silver lining of sorts in simply getting to see this much "streaming theatre" of all kinds, much of it free or pay-what-you-can, and in many cases of very high quality indeed.

Check the links for further info, and if you see something coming up, add it to this thread!  Share your thoughts about streaming performances you've seen (or are looking forward to seeing, or hope to see) here too.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on May 13, 2020, 01:19 pm
I've only caught two of Seth Rudetsky's "Plays in the House" series (https://www.starsinthehouse.com/pith), but looking back over their lineup so far, I regret not having tuned in Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2pm and will try to remember to do so more often going forward.

Charles Busch's The Confession of Lily Dare (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbXLfVq6EYo), with the entire original cast, was delightful just now -- my mom actually saw it at the Cherry Lane earlier this year, and now I wish I had too.

The series is an offshoot of Rudetsky's "Stars in the House" podcast and web series, and the PITH readings can be viewed on the same YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzQxZX9II3m0YaF7Kvt1FjA) -- but catch them when they air, because they're live-live and they don't stay up for long afterward.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on May 13, 2020, 04:41 pm
More from Lincoln Center -- next month they'll be streaming Carousel (NY Philharmonic, with Kelli O'Hara and Nathan Gunn), The Nance (Nathan Lane, Cady Huffman) and Act One (Tony Shalhoub, Andrea Martin, Santino Fontana):

https://www.playbill.com/article/lincoln-center-will-stream-kelli-ohara-and-jessie-mueller-in-carousel-nathan-lane-in-the-nance-santino-fontana-in-act-one

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on May 15, 2020, 04:31 am
Bill Irwin has created (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/12/theater/bill-irwin-zoom.html) a silly-sweet and melancholy socially-distanced ten-minute cyberplaylet called In-Zoom (https://youtu.be/qi7TLQX2JDc) under the auspices of the Old Globe.  Click, watch, you'll like!
____________________

I was a bit confounded by Significant Other (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aUZ4QJdUzY) last night.  It was everything and more (less?) that I had made-a-point-of-avoiding-both-its-Roundabout-runs-under-the-assumption-that it would be.  And it was proof, both positive and negative, of what works in the Zoom-reading format and what doesn't: the script's strengths and weakness were thrown into high relief, with the talented but uneven cast making the most of the former and largely stymied by the latter.  A few high-contrast, blink-and-you-miss-them monochrome renderings (http://www.markwendland.com/significant-other-1) of Mark Wendland's original set (http://www.markwendland.com/significant-other), splashed across the screen at intermission, provided the merest suggestion of how the physical production may have picked up some of the script's considerable slack.

And still... while SO came off (imho) hands-down worse than any show I've yet seen translated into this format (despite the laboriously cute editing and annotative title cards), in some vague way I actually feel for its gaga admirers, as well as its sniffy detractors, in the sharply-divided comments accompanying its original NYT reviews.

I'm of exactly the wrong age cohort to fully appreciate this play, but I can see how an effective production might strike a chord with its intended millennial audience -- and I have to give playwright Joshua Harmon a point for [spoiler alert] sidestepping the easy, unearned romcom-happy ending on which another writer might have settled (even if, in a context of paper-thin characters and sitcom dialogue, his abruptly pensive ending feels a bit unearned in its own way).  In retrospect, Brantley's (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/02/theater/significant-other-review.html) comparison of Harmon's script to those of Wendy Wasserstein seems very apt (apparently it features an epigraph from Isn't It Romantic?) -- and if I personally always found Wasserstein's work bafflingly, embarrassingly overrated, perhaps it's enough to assume that it, like Significant Other, scratched some not-entirely-rational yet highly satisfying demographic itch of the sort that's usually only accessible through pop songs and, far more occasionally, schmaltzy/wry voice-of-a-generation movies.  I may not precisely understand their ability to connect with their respective fans: I'm two decades older than Harmon's core audience, and two decades younger than Wasserstein's.  But that connection is strong enough to render the question of whether they're actually any good, by conventional standards (if anything, Harmon may have a slightly better ear for dialogue than Wasserstein did, though I'd call that a low bar), more or less moot.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on May 17, 2020, 11:24 pm
I've been watching the streaming Fun Home (https://victorygardens.org/event/fun-home-streaming/) -- two complete viewings now, one with a friend/crush whose unfamiliarity with the show gives me some useful perspective.  With nothing to compare it to except the original graphic novel (a copy of which I had recently gifted him), he found the streaming version thrilling, whereas for me... well, about a dozen live viewings of the original, off and on Broadway, have turned me into a rather tough customer for subsequent productions of this show (I did also like the touring version, but even that production shared the same creative team as both NYC versions).

The good news is that Victory Gardens has (well, had, in 2017 when this performance was filmed) a very talented cast.  The score sounds splendid -- my one and only quibble would be that the flashier sections of "Raincoat Of Love" are solidly above the lead singer's range, forcing him into a conspicuously weak falsetto just when he should sound most radiant.  But otherwise, this is a really beautifully-sung production.

The neither-good-nor-bad news is that this production's emotional temperature is markedly warmer than the original (which was already a few degrees above that of the graphic novel, probably an inevitable function of the translation from page to stage).  I don't know that that's necessarily a bad thing, but it is a distinct shift from the more emotionally-distant and inexpressive family described by Bechdel and beautifully embodied by the original cast, and for me it's taking some getting-used-to.

The less-good news is that, even granting all of the above, I'm still feeling like some of the direction here is lazy at best, or wrong-headed at worst; and the physical production is very basic indeed.  It sort of feels as though they tried to present the story simply and straightforwardly, while failing to notice that, at its core, it is neither of those things -- and can't really be made so, without to some degree blunting its complicated, delicate and prismatic essence.

Granted, this is a competently but blandly shot archival video, presumably never intended for commercial release; the sound is quite good, but the lighting, which may have looked fine in person, is barely adequate for filming purposes.  Overall, it's probably not fair to judge what may have been a wonderful live experience too severely on the basis of this recording.  But I can't entirely shake the sense that, despite a multitude of staging and design details borrowed from the original production (but assembled here without the same visual-storytelling brilliance -- a fitting complement to Bechdel's own -- that rightly won the original Tony awards for direction and lighting, and a richly-deserved nomination for set design), this comes off as a less sophisticated knockoff with a very good, but under-directed, cast.

This all probably sounds harsher than it's intended to; I really did enjoy this production -- nitpicking aside, it still brought me helplessly to tears by the end -- and I will certainly watch it through a few more times (I actually bought extra "tickets" on the VG website for expressly that purpose).  If anyone else here has seen it, I'd be curious to hear your thoughts.  I'm not usually one to get hung up on a single interpretation and be blinded to others thereafter, but in this case my admiration for the original may be clouding my judgement.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: KathyB on Jun 10, 2020, 02:39 pm
Denver's Curious Theatre Company is presenting a live reading of Black. by Lamaria Aminah on Sunday, June 14 at 6 pm MT (8 pm Eastern).

Below is the link to the reading:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbRSJsUfLI8&feature=youtu.be&dm_i=4AOA,AW98,3IEFSW,14XHT,1
Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Jun 13, 2020, 05:00 pm
Thanks, Kathy -- I'll be watching tomorrow!

I didn't catch the premiere of this new NYT series (https://timesevents.nytimes.com/broadway) when it live-streamed on Thursday, but started watching it just now and thought I'd post it here:

OFFSTAGE Ep. 1 | Opening Night: Exploring Broadway As It Was, Is and Will Be (https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=5&v=5S-uyxuZFSw&feature=emb_logo)

Among many other things, it includes the New York cast of Marianne Elliott's Company singing that show's title song.

I recommend watching the extended 45-minute opening conversation about race and Broadway.  I haven't seen Tina, but at some point last year I read something about Adrienne Warren's heroic struggle in the title role, which sounds like a particularly punishing Olympic event; and, having seen her in Shuffle Along, I think people should be falling over themselves to write serious new shows for her.

But if you can't wait for the Company number, it begins just after the 47-minute mark (or you can see it separately here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DL-2yzMd9Ms)).  The few Sondheim songs I've heard Katrina Lenk sing, in recent months, had been leaving me a bit worried that, as much as I've admired her work in Indecent and The Band's Visit, she might not be an ideal interpreter for Sondheim.  But in this rendition of the opening number -- very flashily edited, with Lenk's eyelines alone quite a feat of technical virtuosity -- she is genuinely radiant, even in a context where her role is largely reactive.

The traditional (male) Bobby tends to coast through this number on a much cooler kind of charisma, but I can picture Lenk's highly expressive performance setting up the story in a different and very interesting way.  On the evidence of this clip, her Bobbie isn't a cipher; she's someone whose joy in her social circle is perfectly sincere, captivating to watch, and understandably exhausting.  Her social "on" setting looks like a lot more work than that of any male Bobby I've ever seen, which casts the character in a new and sympathetic light from square one -- as an active protagonist rather than just the still center around which her friends all swirl (literally, here, in what may be the most animated Zoom-ography I've yet seen in one of these at-home things).

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Jun 19, 2020, 11:00 pm
I'm kicking myself for not having posted this a couple days ago when I watched it (or a few days before that, when I heard about it) -- but it has now stayed on YouTube for seven hours past its ostensible expiration date, so perhaps it'll continue to remain up at least long enough for someone else to enjoy it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=TO_D6Jkt_VI&feature=emb_logo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=TO_D6Jkt_VI&feature=emb_logo)

It's Gogol's The Government Inspector, in a reunion Zoom reading featuring the cast of the 2017 Red Bull Theater production (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/01/theater/the-government-inspector-review.html), which I was lucky enough to see after it transferred to New World Stages.  Its delightful cast features Michael Urie, Mary Testa and Arnie Burton, among others -- all in tip-top comedic form.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Jun 22, 2020, 01:19 pm
Tonight I'm watching a Zoom reading of a new play, A Distinct Society, by my friend Kareem -- a gifted playwright as well as an amazing director -- which is being sponsored by Oregon Contemporary Theatre.  It starts at 8pm EST / 5pm PST.

https://www.octheatre.org/a-distinct-society (https://www.octheatre.org/a-distinct-society)

I read this play last fall and was immediately excited by it; if and when it someday gets a full production, I'm hoping I might get the opportunity to design it.  I don't call Kareem "gifted" lightly -- I think he's a rare talent, and I've only grown more and more convinced of that over the five years I've known him.

A Distinct Society has had at least two (normal, pre-pandemic, live-in-person) readings to date -- most recently here in NYC this past February, but I was unfortunately unable to rejigger my schedule in order to attend.  (My mom did see it, though, and she loved it).  So I'm very excited to finally get to hear the play out loud tonight.

You can also read the script, along with some of Kareem's other work (and that of dozens of other playwrights besides) on the New Play Exchange (https://newplayexchange.org/users/17218/kareem-fahmy).  It does require membership, which costs ten bucks a year -- about the price of a single hard-copy playscript on Amazon or wherever.
________________________________________

ABOUT THE PLAY:
A quiet library that straddles the border (https://haskellopera.com/about-us/) of the U.S. and Canada becomes an unlikely crucible for five people from around the world.  When an Iranian family, separated from one another by the "Muslim ban," use the library as a meeting place (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-ban-insight/separated-by-travel-ban-iranian-families-reunite-at-border-library-idUSKCN1NX1P2), the head librarian, a U.S. border patrol officer, and a local teenager have to choose between breaking the law (https://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Canada,_U.S._to_tighten_security_between_%27cross-border%27_library) and saving themselves.  OCT calls A Distinct Society "both intimate and expansive ... a prismatic character study of people yearning for connection in a context of corrosive nationalism."

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: DiveMilw on Jun 23, 2020, 06:03 pm
"This American Life" on NPR did a segment about that library back in 2018.  It is one of my favorite stories.  
https://www.thisamericanlife.org/664/the-room-of-requirement/act-one-4 (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/664/the-room-of-requirement/act-one-4)
Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Jun 26, 2020, 06:41 pm
Thanks for that link, Tom!  Very interesting to watch right after the reading -- I assume Kareem probably saw it at some point when he was researching.

I just finished watching The Men From The Boys (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8YIlPxAHdg&feature=youtu.be), Mart Crowley's 2002 sequel (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Men_from_the_Boys) to The Boys In The Band, directed by Zachary Quinto as a Zoom reading for Playbill's 2020 Pride Plays (https://www.playbill.com/prideplays) series.  It was enjoyable, though I couldn't always keep all the characters and their relationships straight -- never mind the new ones involving three younger men -- despite having seen TBITB on Broadway just two years ago.  (One of these days I'll get around to watching the 1970 movie version, perhaps in preparation for seeing the upcoming Netflix remake (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10199914/) -- produced by Ryan Murphy, and directed by Joe Mantello with his entire cast from the excellent B'way revival -- sometime later this year).

I'm not sure how long Men/Boys will remain streamable;* I watched the Pride Plays reading of Brave Smiles: Another Lesbian Tragedy on Tuesday, the day after it premiered, because Monday night I had been busy watching Kareem's play.  (It was my first time seeing the Five Lesbian Brothers, despite having known of them since right around the time Brave Smiles premiered in 1992!).  It has since been taken down, I'm not sure when; but you can still watch Playbill's Zoom chat (https://www.playbill.com/article/the-five-lesbian-brothers-talk-brave-smiles-lesbian-tropes-and-laughter) with the 5LB, taped last week.  In it, founding member Lisa Kron mentions how the group's catchy name has served it well over the years; it certainly stuck with me, so much so that, despite never having actually seen their work until the other day, for the past 20+ years I've always thought of Kron herself as a Lesbian Brother first if not foremost.

Playbill has also put up a listing of other streaming events this weekend (https://www.playbill.com/article/what-to-stream-pride-weekend-a-playbill-spectacular-concert-zachary-quinto-helmed-the-boys-in-the-band-sequel-more), including their own two remaining Pride Plays offerings: a reading of MJ Kaufman's new play Masculinity Max tomorrow evening at 7pm, and their "Pride Spectacular" concert on Sunday at 8pm.


*(Ed.: I just noticed -- according to that listing, The Men From The Boys will be up for 72 hours, meaning through Monday evening).

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Jun 28, 2020, 12:25 pm
Molière in the Park's Zoom staging of Tartuffe (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmGzfjO-W-M), with Raúl Esparza in the title role and Orange is the New Black's Samira Wiley as Orgon, was a hoot!  They did two readings of it yesterday, at 2pm and 7pm, and I enjoyed the first one so much that I logged back in for the second.  The recording will remain on YouTube until Wednesday afternoon.

Tonight I'll be watching The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me (https://provincetowntheater.org/virtual-programming/), which I haven't seen since a year or two after its Off-B'way premiere.  And after reading a fascinating NYT piece (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/03/theater/lorraine-hansberry-marrow.html) about Lorraine Hansbury earlier this month, I'm looking forward to watching Yael Farber (https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/21/arts/international/with-les-blancs-yael-farber-resurrects-a-rebuke-of-colonialism.html)'s NT production of Hansbury's Les Blancs, starting Thursday as part of the NT At Home (https://www.youtube.com/user/ntdiscovertheatre) series.  (In the meantime, they're running the Bridge production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, which looks interesting, too).

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: Leighton on Jun 28, 2020, 02:38 pm
Quote from: scenicdesign71 on Jun 28, 2020, 12:25 pmMolière in the Park's Zoom staging of Tartuffe (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmGzfjO-W-M), with Raúl Esparza in the title role and Orange is the New Black's Samira Wiley as Orgon, was a hoot!  They did two readings of it yesterday, at 2pm and 7pm, and I enjoyed the first one so much that I logged back in for the second.  The recording will remain on YouTube until Wednesday afternoon.

Tonight I'll be watching The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me (https://provincetowntheater.org/virtual-programming/), which I haven't seen since a year or two after its Off-B'way premiere.  And after reading a fascinating NYT piece (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/03/theater/lorraine-hansberry-marrow.html) about Lorraine Hansbury earlier this month, I'm looking forward to watching Yael Farber (https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/21/arts/international/with-les-blancs-yael-farber-resurrects-a-rebuke-of-colonialism.html)'s NT production of Hansbury's Les Blancs, starting Thursday as part of the NT At Home (https://www.youtube.com/user/ntdiscovertheatre) series.  (In the meantime, they're running the Bridge production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, which looks interesting, too).




The Bridge's Dream is fab - delightfully anarchic
Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Jun 30, 2020, 05:11 am
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/29/theater/tartuffe-review.html

Up on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmGzfjO-W-M) until 2pm tomorrow.

It seems as though the NYT has lately started running a lot more full-on reviews of these streaming things in their Theater section -- perhaps not coincidentally, in light of yesterday's official announcement (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/29/theater/when-broadway-reopening-coronavirus.html) that B'way theatres will remain shuttered until January at least.  To be sure, they've reviewed some of these things before -- going back at least as far as the Sondheim concert (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/27/theater/take-me-to-the-world-sondheim-review.html) two months ago -- but two new top-of-the-page reviews in as many days, over the weekend (Tartuffe, and Lungs (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/28/theater/lungs-review-claire-foy-matt-smith.html) streamed live from the empty Old Vic), seemed like more than usual.

My guess is that they're settling in for the long haul and, while they'll have to remain as selective as ever amid the bumper crop of streaming theatre (which shows no sign of slowing, and indeed just keeps getting more diverse in various senses -- Tartuffe and Lungs make an instructive pairing as to the range of approaches at this particular moment), for the foreseeable future this is what they've got to cover.  With at least six more months of this to go, the Theater section certainly won't be able to subsist entirely on elegies (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/22/theater/mythic-performances-reader-choices.html) for live theatre, nervous surveys (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/07/theater/tourists-broadway-safety.html) of Broadway's economic wreckage, or even think pieces (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/16/theater/equitable-dinner-out-of-hand.html) and coverage (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/19/theater/the-flea-volunteer-payment.html) of the industry's soul-searching during the Great Pause. As appropriate as all those kinds of articles may be, they do not a Theater section make, even when leavened with frequent streaming-theatre roundup listings (and peppered with what seem like just-slightly-alarmingly more obits than usual).

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Jun 30, 2020, 12:35 pm
Oh, there's this obscure little curiosity coming up at the end of the week, too:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49Sn-6gPnwM

I suppose it's worth buying a month's worth of access to check this out; compared to theatre tickets that could easily set you back a thousand dollars (back when theatre tickets were a thing, remember?), seven bucks for thirty days of unlimited viewing isn't too shabby a deal.

(I'm fooling no one, obviously: I'm helpless (http://youtu.be/vo_s6PsVogI) with anticipation).

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: DiveMilw on Jun 30, 2020, 01:10 pm
Quote from: scenicdesign71 on Jun 30, 2020, 12:35 pmI suppose it's worth buying a month's worth of access to check this out; compared to theatre tickets, it's not too shabby a deal.
Plus, you get lots of Muppets and The Mandalorian and Forky Asks a Question and so much more!
Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Jul 01, 2020, 08:07 am
Sorry for any tonal whiplash, swiveling from Muppets to Covid Ground Zero, but I just read the email blast for this and it does look interesting:

Coming from the Public, a week from today (click the link for details):

https://publictheater.org/productions/season/1920/the-line (https://publictheater.org/productions/season/1920/the-line)

"THE LINE is a new play by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen created in the award-winning documentary style that brought you The Exonerated, Aftermath, and Coal Country.  Crafted from firsthand interviews with New York City medical first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic, THE LINE cuts through the media and political noise to reveal the lived experiences of frontline medical workers in New York and their battle to save lives in a system built to serve the bottom line."

Just to belabor a point, as I'm always fond of doing: the play's title, and the pivot from "frontline" to "bottom line," strike me as elegant, especially for a work that can only just have been developed over the past two or three months at most.  Blank and Jensen (and/or the Public's marketing copywriters) surely aren't the first to have thought of this particular formulation, in one context or another -- corporate jargon has linked the two terms (https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=%22frontline%22+%22bottom+line%22&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8) as part of its standard self-justifying blather for at least a decade -- but still.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: DiveMilw on Jul 01, 2020, 06:53 pm
Quote from: scenicdesign71 on Jul 01, 2020, 08:07 amSorry for any tonal whiplash, swiveling from Muppets to Covid Ground Zero, but I just read the email blast for this and it does look interesting:

Coming from the Public, a week from today (click the link for details):

https://publictheater.org/productions/season/1920/the-line (https://publictheater.org/productions/season/1920/the-line)

"THE LINE is a new play by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen created in the award-winning documentary style that brought you The Exonerated, Aftermath, and Coal Country.  Crafted from firsthand interviews with New York City medical first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic, THE LINE cuts through the media and political noise to reveal the lived experiences of frontline medical workers in New York and their battle to save lives in a system built to serve the bottom line."

Just to belabor a point, as I'm always fond of doing: the play's title, and the pivot from "frontline" to "bottom line," strike me as elegant, especially for a work that can only just have been developed over the past two or three months at most.  Blank and Jensen (and/or the Public's marketing copywriters) surely aren't the first to have thought of this particular formulation, in one context or another -- corporate jargon has linked the two terms (https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=%22frontline%22+%22bottom+line%22&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8) as part of its standard self-justifying blather for at least a decade -- but still.


original music composition by Aimee Mann!!!!



Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: DiveMilw on Jul 03, 2020, 05:17 pm
I think some historical show started streaming today but I'm fining it difficult to find out any details.    ;D
Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Jul 05, 2020, 09:21 pm
Quote from: DiveMilw on Jul 03, 2020, 05:17 pmI think some historical show started streaming today but I'm fining it difficult to find out any details.    ;D

I think I know the one you mean -- it is a pity they haven't publicized it better.  ;)

I'll admit I stayed up Thursday night to watch the Hamilfilm almost as soon as it began streaming.  And I'm sure I'll watch it several more times over the next four weeks.  Uniquely for me, among filmed-theatre performances, this one captures the show at a point in time very close to when I saw it live: in the month or so between Hamilton's Tony sweep and the beginnings of its original B'way cast's dispersal.  It's just as I remember -- or better, since even the house seat I lucked into can't compare with Kail's roaming camera, tight close-ups and occasional Busby Berkeley aerial views of David Korins's nested revolves.  The chemistry of that original cast is captured beautifully, and I look forward to geeking out on staging details that I haven't until now had the chance to study closely.

In other news, Tartuffe (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmGzfjO-W-M) is now staying online until July 12.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Jul 09, 2020, 02:31 am
NYT (7/8/20): "This Is Theater in 2020.  Will It Last?  Should It? (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/08/theater/streaming-theater-experiments.html)"

(spoiler:  yes and yes.)
...although, on the other hand:

NYT (7/8/20):  "Digital Theater Isn't Theater.  It's a Way to Mourn Its Absence. (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/08/theater/live-theater-absence.html)"

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Jul 23, 2020, 05:40 am
I missed the Irish Rep's Molly Sweeney back in May (https://www.playbill.com/article/irish-rep-adds-two-more-performances-of-virtual-molly-sweeney), but I very much enjoyed their "performance on screen" of The Weir (https://irishrep.org/show/irish-rep-online-2020/the-weir-3/) last night, currently scheduled to run through Saturday (donation is "suggested," but registration is required regardless; click the link for details).

It's the smoothest execution I've seen so far of a certain kind of streaming performance, captured on Zoom (I'm assuming) but pre-recorded and edited, with full costumes and props, scenic backgrounds and blocking all polished to a high-enough sheen that it's possible to forget that these actors (flawless, every one) are not in the same room together.  (The greenscreen work is smoother than usual, too; and the performers' subtle and specific eyelines -- even when imperfectly-framed, in a small handful of instances -- are a blessed improvement on the usual Zoom convention of everyone looking straight into the camera or occasionally peering across the grid at one another, Brady Bunch-style, for a dab of self-conscious humor).  While not literally indistinguishable from a pre-pandemic, studio-shot TV performance, this Weir is a significant step toward that goal, directed, acted and edited with remarkable skill and nuance. The remaining logistical hurdles -- sidestepped here with such unfussy tact and aplomb that one might forget just how substantial they are -- are direct physical interaction with the set (we see people head for the door, but then cut away and hear it close behind them, with the actual visual opening-and-closing left to our imagination) and wide composite shots with two or more performers realistically inhabiting the same visual space at the same time (which this production eschews altogether -- justifiably, on technical grounds and arguably on artistic ones as well; see below).

Under normal circumstances, viewed through the lens of long-established motion-picture convention, these limitations might seem notably awkward.  And from the opposite angle, there's an argument to be made against the singular goal of making Zoom performances indistinguishable from traditional film or TV productions.  Formally speaking, there's nothing groundbreaking or experimental happening here: from the script to the visual language, this Weir's basic impulse is toward cinematic naturalism -- not inappropriately, though even within that realm, this would be a distinctly staid and unshowy example of the form.

But given the givens -- these aren't normal circumstances (and The Weir isn't about formal ground-breaking; it's a beautifully-wrought exploration of the oldest of old-fashioned narrative pleasures: direct first-person storytelling) -- this is by far the deftest example I've yet seen of Zoom-performance-making-you-forget-that-it's-Zoom-performance. The production does an impressive job of mapping out the form's current limitations and working diligently within them to convert potential liabilities into virtues.  McPherson's savor-able script, a talky, monologue-y story about lonely people spinning yarns to keep one another company, is both ideal for the current moment and an apt candidate for this kind of treatment: over the course of 110 intermissionless minutes, the characters' literal isolation onscreen (even while dropped convincingly into a shared virtual background) builds a subliminal tension and melancholy which resonate nicely with the play's own structure and atmosphere.  The Rep has done very well by the playwright indeed, with a remarkably sensitive and successful contribution to this new genre -- at any rate, this Weir ranks high among my personal favorites so far.

I remain highly curious as to what others will continue to do with the larger genre (of "Zoom performance") in a less-naturalistic mode.  But I do have a soft spot for both the aesthetic and the technique of naturalism.  And as a theatre person whose bills in recent years have been paid entirely through film and TV work (where naturalism, broadly speaking, is the default), shows like this one interest me especially as teeny-tiny glimpses into how all three disciplines might inform and interact with one other to address the storytelling challenges that now face us all.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Jul 29, 2020, 09:28 am
Manual Cinema is back, with a virtual 10-year retrospective (http://manualcinema.com/watch) running through August 23: four shows streaming for free (a different show each week), plus a live-streamed fundraiser on August 22.  Click the link above for more info.

I sometimes refer to the group as "shadow puppeteers" when I'm trying (on rare occasions) to be succinct, but that label barely scratches the surface of what they do -- puppetry, yes, but blended with theatre, music, animation and live-action film in a delightful 21st-century mashup using mostly 20th-century (and older) technology.

Still not sure what that means?  The NYT did a wonderful feature on them last week, which explains in more detail:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/23/theater/manual-cinema-puppets-retrospective.html

But what it really means is: WATCH.  ;D

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Jul 29, 2020, 11:28 pm
There's also been some recent buzz (https://www.rollingstone.com/movies/movie-news/candyman-puppet-teaser-nia-dacosta-1016770/) around Manual Cinema's work (http://manualcinema.com/candyman/) on the upcoming Candyman sequel (https://www.candymanmovie.com) produced by Jordan Peele and directed by Nia DaCosta.

Presumably not coincidentally, MC has been proudly Chicago-based for its entire ten-year existence (though they tour regularly, which is how I encountered them in NYC in 2015, and have seen them here several times since) -- and the 1992 Candyman, though adapted from a Liverpool-set Clive Barker short story, was (like its (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candyman_(2020_film)) 2020 sequel) centered around Chicago's storied Cabrini-Green public housing projects.

Their puppet teaser (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-aieYI8L5I) is truly haunting.  Dreamlike, beautifully rendered, pinpoint-topical (which is to say, disturbingly not-topical-at-all: could the idea of systemic racism be any more subtly-yet-sharply conveyed than by keeping the puppeteers' hands visible throughout?), and resourceful not only in terms of the Chicago connection but also in the form's echo of Kara Walker's seminal silhouette-cutouts.  (The film's protagonist is a present-day African-American visual artist whose work likewise deals with race and violence).

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Jul 31, 2020, 02:08 pm
Maybe read this before watching:
https://thetheatretimes.com/russian-theatre-stages-the-cherry-orchard-using-minecraft/


Utterly daft, but worth a look if you've got twenty minutes to spare (there's some front-of-house exploration of the meticulously Lego-ized Tovstonogov Bolshoi Drama Theater before the performance begins; and it's fun watching the Minecraft cast get carpet-bombed with pixellated flowers during the curtain call afterward).

I recommend turning on YouTube's closed-caption and auto-translate features.  If your memory of Chekov's plot details is as fuzzy as mine... well, the wacky auto-subtitling won't actually help much, but it does add another dimension to the delightful surreality of the experience.

Still... more broadly speaking, I suspect there's an oddly plausible Cherry Orchard lurking under the deadpan japery (and extreme abridgment, obviously).  I greatly -- and non-ironically -- admired the [diegetic? "onstage"?] set design, with its towering upstage trees in bloom being steadily razed by workmen to reveal a panorama of newly-built dachas.  And Ranevskaya crying herself a river of tears on which to exit (through the orchestra pit?) is loopily inspired.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Aug 02, 2020, 09:56 am
Back to Manual Cinema -- they're hosting Facebook Live talkbacks each Saturday night for the duration of the "retrospectacular (http://manualcinema.com/watch)", with each conversation centering around whichever show they're streaming that week.

Last night's panel (https://www.facebook.com/manualcinema/videos/281898039774655/?type=3&theater) was very interesting indeed, focusing on the first production in the series (Lula Del Rey, streaming through tomorrow afternoon) and featuring four of MC's five co-Artistic Directors shedding light on the elaborately intricate, handmade process by which they make their "movies" live each night before a theatre audience.

I suppose there must be those who could fail to find that process fascinating, though I don't really see how.  Meanwhile, us geeks can wallow in the nitty-gritty details, from puppet-eyelashes to foley effects, nose-acting, and the influence of Wes Anderson.  Well worth 45 minutes of your time.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Aug 04, 2020, 01:02 pm
Theatre In Quarantine (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/31/theater/the-7th-voyage-of-egon-tichy-review.html) - NYT review

[WATCH HERE] (https://www.youtube.com/c/joshuawilliamgelb/featured)

Also: "The (Virtual) Theatrical Fringe Moves Front and Center" (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/03/theater/virtual-theater.html)

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Aug 04, 2020, 02:26 pm
#WhileWeBreathe: A Night of Creative Protest (https://youtu.be/f86ENknPd7I)

Featuring (among many other remarkable performers) the sometime regular on my last TV job, and star of the one I was working on when the world shut down (but am hoping to eventually rejoin), Ms. Patina Miller.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: DiveMilw on Aug 05, 2020, 07:58 am
Trifles by Susan Glaspell --Live Audio Production (https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=65&v=KCeZOQvVeow&feature=emb_logo)

Peninsula Players and Chicago Radio Theatre present a live audio production. Performed and recorded 100% live from six closets and desks in Chicago! Featuring live foley sounds by Ele Matelan and original music by Christopher Kriz! Stephanie Diaz, Erica Elam, Greg Vinkler, Kevin Christopher Fox and Neil Friedman are the cast in this groundbreaking classic one act mystery from Pulitzer Prize winner Susan Glaspel. Running time: approximately 33 minutes.

It's a little rough at the beginning as they navigate the Zoom platform.  It contains one of my favorite moments when, as we can see them onscreen, someone says they aren't streaming yet.

The Peninsula Players (https://www.peninsulaplayers.com/) is America's oldest resident summer theater located and is located in Door County, WI,  They have been operating for over 80 years.
Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Aug 22, 2020, 07:49 pm
I've been following Manual Cinema's 10th-anniversary retrospective over the past month, and just now enjoyed their closing "tele-FUN-draiser", live-streamed on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezbShJNvuN4&feature=emb_logo).  I'm so smitten with their work that my daydreams lately (while sitting at home wondering whether my former career on the lowermost fringes of the entertainment industry will ever return in any recognizable form) have been about running away to Chicago to join them.

On that topic -- dreams -- the fundraiser concluded with a brand-new ten-minute piece called Dream Delivery Service (apparently inspired by this (http://www.dreamdeliveryservice.com/site-main.html) eponymous -- and, like MC, unsummarizable in a single word or phrase -- poetry-on-demand thingamajig).  Created especially for this live-streamed event and performed in real time by MC's founding artists, carefully socially-distanced from one another in their Chicago studio, DDS (https://youtu.be/ezbShJNvuN4?t=2510) is cotton candy for the quarantine-pinched soul.

It's also a trial run for MC's next full-length project: A Christmas Carol, which will run from December 3-20, likewise designed to be performed within appropriate safety guidelines.  (It's a bit of an adjustment from their traditional performance style, which has generally involved a welter of performers crammed onto a very full stage: huddled tightly around projectors and musical instruments, hopping among power cords, equipment, and each other in an elaborate choreography whose fine-motor sensitivity and pinpoint timing very much rely on that closeness and eye contact).  A Christmas Carol will be live-streamed from their studio each night of the run, for online viewing only; I'll post a link here when tickets go on sale this fall.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: DiveMilw on Sep 14, 2020, 06:50 am
THE THIRD ANNUAL PLAYWRIGHTS LAB (VIRTUAL EDITION) (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/3rd-annual-playwrights-lab-virtual-edition-tickets-117400932349)

The MTA Playwrights Lab is a collaboration between MIT students and professional theatre artists. The Lab is a festival of staged readings featuring the work of the writers in the Playwrights Lab workshop (21M.785) taught by Senior Lecturer Ken Urban.

Attendees must secure a space for each evening's reading by RSVPing individually to the specific reading that you wish to attend. Please note: A donation of $5 is encouraged for all attendees. Your financial support will go directly to future MTA Playwrights Labs and other dramatic writing initiatives that bring students and industry professionals together.
All readings at 8pm

SEPTEMBER 18/19

F 9/18

In Absentia by Anisha Agarwal | Directed by Ashley Tata

Sa 9/19

A Foregone Conclusion by Margaret Kosten | Directed by Steve Cosson

SEPTEMBER 24 - 26

Th 9/24

A Futile System by Jake Kinney | Directed by Jaclyn Biskup

F 9/25

Crimson by Jackie Montante | Directed by Kareem Fahmy

Sa 9/26

Mortality Rate: Recalculating by Anupama Phatak | Directed by Shira Milikowsky

OCTOBER 1-3

Th 10/1

Meltdown by Mary Dahl | Directed by Vanessa Stalling

F 10/2

G@M3R GRIL by Jordan Tappa | Directed by Jose Zayas

Sa 10/3
Reset by Elijah Miller | Directed by Kate Bergstrom
Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: KathyB on Sep 30, 2020, 03:54 pm
Curious Theatre is presenting Hillary and Clinton by Lucas Hnath, streaming from October 3 through 24. It costs $20.
https://www.curioustheatre.org/event/hillary-and-clinton/

Has anybody seen this play? I'm familiar with the playwright, and am wondering if this is a good way to spend $20.
Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Sep 30, 2020, 07:41 pm
I have not seen it, though I've wanted to.  I've only seen two of Hnath's plays, and various friends of mine have expressed wildly varying opinions of his work overall.  The reviews of the B'way production (of H&C) that I read were likewise mixed, but it nevertheless sounded very interesting.

And of course, here, there were Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow, directed by Joe Mantello -- all very strong factors indeed in my wanting to see that production.  Are you familiar with this company, the cast and/or director?  I might spring for a $20 ticket myself.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: KathyB on Oct 01, 2020, 08:01 am
Curious Theatre is one of Denver's most respected companies. They have a reputation for doing the "edgier" material. I saw a production there last year that was very good, but that I had a hard time understanding (Building the Wall by Robert Schenkkan). That production was directed by Chip Walton, who also directs Hillary and Clinton--he's one of the top directors in Denver theatre. The cast includes some well-known regional actors. The cast and director may not be the equivalent of Metcalf, Lithgow and Mantello (a tall order to fill), but they make me want to see it.

I saw A Doll's House Part Two last year also (although it seems like ages ago, it was only last September!).

I think I just talked myself into seeing this production. I am thinking about how much I really miss theatre.
Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Oct 01, 2020, 08:17 am
Thanks for the info, Kathy.  I'm sold!

Quote from: KathyB on Oct 01, 2020, 08:01 am
I think I just talked myself into seeing this production.
And me, too!

Quote from: KathyB on Oct 01, 2020, 08:01 am
I am thinking about how much I really miss theatre.

ME, TOO.
Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Oct 02, 2020, 07:07 pm
Len Cariou recently turned 81, and while these might already have been posted on Facebook, I'll link them here too.

"Stars in the House" hosted Cariou and fellow original Sweeney cast members Victor Garber, Sarah Rice and Ken Jennings for a reunion the other day, capped by Cariou's beautiful rendition of "Send in the Clowns":




And his Broadway and The Bard is streaming this weekend only:


(Speaking of missing live theatre,) I managed to catch this on Theatre Row in 2016 (https://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/06/theater/review-broadway-the-bard-serves-delicious-combos.html), and recall it as an altogether delightful afternoon.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Oct 08, 2020, 06:23 pm
Watch this.  It's making my eyes water uncontrollably:


NYT feature on its making:
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/25/theater/glenn-close-angels-in-america.html

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Oct 10, 2020, 01:51 pm
Jesse Green's review of "The Great Work Begins: Scenes from Angels In America":

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/09/theater/scenes-from-angels-in-america.html

As he mentions, and as someone posted on the YouTube comments (citing AmfAR, though I can't find any more-official confirmation of this, on their site or elsewhere), the show is supposedly scheduled to remain viewable online only until this Monday Oct. 12 -- so if you haven't already, clear 50 minutes of your weekend and watch this thing.

It's one of those rare events that left me with no desire whatsoever to analyze or nitpick, though both are certainly possible.  If you want a review, Green's is right on-the-money (though, just to nitpick him, I'd question his need to keep reminding us that a handful of excerpts can't capture the scope and complexity of the entire seven-hour work, as though this plainly-obvious caveat really bore stating, much less repeating).

But for now I'm happy to just re-watch the piece a few more times while it remains available.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Oct 16, 2020, 07:30 pm
After adding two additional performances this weekend, Jack Was Kind (https://www.afo.nyc/jack-was-kind) now has only one remaining -- but I finally had a chance to watch it tonight and am regretting not having done so, and then sung its praises, much sooner.  If you've got ten bucks and 90 minutes to spare tomorrow evening (starting 8pm EST, performed live via Zoom), I highly recommend:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/jack-was-kind-by-tracy-thorne-tickets-117018927763

The NYT's lukewarm review (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/27/theater/Karen-I-Said-jack-was-kind.html) had me nervous, but -- as with the last AFO show I saw (https://sondheimforum.com/index.php?topic=1061.msg5120#msg5120) -- I happily found the experience itself far, far better than advertised, the writing and performance (both by Tracy Thorne, new to me but well worth keeping an eye on) and direction (by my rogerandtom colleague Nick Cotz) all top-notch.

I've got several other plays I need to catch online this weekend before they, too, "close" (though at least two of those are streaming on-demand, which helps).  But this one grabbed me strongly enough that I might just make time to go back and watch it again tomorrow night.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Oct 22, 2020, 07:40 am
I've been watching more of the Spotlight On Plays (https://www.broadwaysbestshows.com/) series, and have recently enjoyed Gore Vidal's The Best Man and Kenneth Lonergan's This Is Our Youth.  I've marked the series's remaining shows for the year on my calendar and am looking forward to them.

I also caught the Curious Theatre's Hillary and Clinton last weekend, so I've been watching a lot more of these online readings lately after tapering off in recent weeks.

And finally, there's another chance to see my friend Kareem's new play A Distinct Society in a reading produced by Chicago's International Voices Project in association with the Canadian Consulate, Silk Road Rising and Citadel Theatre. 


They're keeping this online through this Saturday, and there's a separate talkback that was also recorded after last night's premiere.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: DiveMilw on Oct 22, 2020, 10:58 pm
This (Friday) evening I am going to try to watch "Russian Troll Farm: A Workplace Comedy (https://twhartford.org/events/russian-troll-farm/)" by Theaterworks Hartford.  I'd like to see the live stream if I can.  I recommend clicking the link just to see the poster art!  

Live Streaming October 20th - 24th
Recorded Streaming October 25th - November 2nd

ZOOM into the office of a Russian troll farm bent on impacting the 2016 U.S. election. If the provocative play proves too appalling, the absurd laughs will keep you glued to your screen.

approx. run time: 2 hours and 15 mins.

This play was created for streaming.

TheaterWorks Hartford & TheatreSquared
In association with The Civilians
Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Oct 24, 2020, 10:40 am
Thanks for this, Tom!  I love The Civilians, so this is going on my weekend watchlist (probably tonight)!

Speaking of companies I love, Manual Cinema has a new short piece up on YouTube, just in time for Halloween:


(It's charming and spooky, brief but bittersweet -- hits the spot).

They'll also be streaming Ada/Ava for free again next weekend (https://manualcinema.com/halloween), so if you still haven't seen this melancholy, Gothic-tinged, thoroughly bewitching early work of theirs (or want to check it out again), now's your chance.

And finally, tickets are on sale for MC's new Christmas Carol (http://www.manualcinema.com/christmascarol), streaming live from December 3-20.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Oct 24, 2020, 01:14 pm
After missing it both Off- (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/01/theater/what-the-constitution-means-to-me-review.html) and on Broadway (http://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/31/theater/what-the-constitution-means-to-me-review.html), I finally got to see What The Constitution Means To Me on Amazon Prime (// https://www.amazon.com/What-Constitution-Means-Me/dp/B08KRB3FQ4/) last night.

And at some point soon I'll be watching David Byrne's American Utopia (// https://variety.com/2020/film/reviews/american-utopia-review-david-byrne-spike-lee-1234763202/) on HBO Max (// https://www.hbo.com/specials/american-utopia).

Neither of these shows precisely fits the standard definitions of, respectively, "play" or "musical" -- both veering towards the vaguer genre of "performance piece" (and, in Byrne's case, "rock concert").  But amid all the Zoom theatre that's happening these days -- much of it very good indeed, for what it is -- the occasional chance to glimpse Broadway's very-recent past, in highly-polished recordings of the live-in-person original stage productions (perhaps most notably Hamilton a few months ago) carries an outsized charge.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Oct 25, 2020, 01:35 pm
From the folks who brought you Raúl Esparza and Samira Wiley in Tartuffe -- namely, Molière in the Park and the French Institute/Alliance Française -- comes Tonya Pinkins in The School For Wives (https://www.moliereinthepark.org/school-for-wives-online), with even more Zoom-tastic (if still slightly janky, in terms of timing and sound-sync) videography!

Streaming on demand until 2pm this coming Wednesday 10/28.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Nov 04, 2020, 03:00 pm
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/04/movies/broadway-movie-adaptations-prom.html
Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Nov 07, 2020, 10:16 pm
At noon today (EST) I watched Sarah Kane's Crave (https://royalcourttheatre.com/whats-on/crave-livestream/) streamed live, sans audience, from Chichester.

The good news of Biden's win was still piping-hot off the press -- after about ten minutes of hearing celebratory noise from the street and wondering what was up, I had finally put two and two together and refreshed my NYT homepage for confirmation.  So it became an oddly incongruous experience, watching the very private agony of Kane's characters on my laptop screen while hearing the very public jubilation continue -- all afternoon, as it turned out -- just outside my window.

But on its own terms, I admired Crave: ingeniously and elegantly staged, and beautifully performed.  Kane's script intrigued me, and if I can find the copy of her complete plays that's floating around somewhere in this apartment (purchased a year ago but thus far unread), I want to revisit it while this production is still fresh in my mind.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: Leighton on Nov 08, 2020, 01:05 pm
I've just purchased tickets for Emilia to watch this week!
Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Nov 10, 2020, 06:09 pm
Thanks for posting, @Leighton -- I hadn't heard about this before, but have now purchased a ticket to watch Emilia as well!

The (TV) show I'm now working on is being produced under a contract which happens to give all employees Veterans Day off; it's one of those holidays that varies among different production contracts, though my hunch is that those that do observe it are rarer than those that don't -- perhaps partly because it's celebrated on a fixed date, November 11.  This year, that means we get a Wednesday off, breaking this week into two bite-sized chunks (which I actually almost prefer over the more common "three-day weekend" occasioned by other holidays that are made to fall, or at least to be observed, on a Monday -- or, more rarely, Friday -- every year).

All of which is to say that I have tomorrow off from work and will likely watch Emilia then.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: Leighton on Nov 11, 2020, 11:10 am
I have also purchased a ticket for The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk!
Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Nov 11, 2020, 01:44 pm
Quote from: Leighton on Nov 11, 2020, 11:10 amI have also purchased a ticket for The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk!
OOOH!  Booking now, hadn't heard about this one either -- thanks again, Leighton!

After a lazy morning (I slept in until noon) and an afternoon spent attending, by phone, to my mom's computer-related issues (marginally less tedious than it sounds, the upshot being that her spiffy new laptop is on its way and I'll be setting it up personally this time to make it, hopefully, more secure and user-friendly for her than the old one was),
...I'm now settling in to order Grubhub and enjoy Emilia!  ;D

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: DiveMilw on Nov 12, 2020, 03:55 pm
Boston Marriage (https://www.todaytix.com/x/nyc/shows/22426-Boston-Marriage) is streaming through 8PM EST, Nov 16th.  It's pay-what-you-can starting at $5.00.  
Staring Patti LuPone and Rebecca Pidgeon, with Sophia Macy.  Directed by David Mamet.
Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Nov 12, 2020, 05:05 pm
I'm planning to watch Boston Marriage on Saturday; I'd really like to watch it tonight, but I'm super tired and need to crash early for work tomorrow.

Tomorrow evening I'll be watching a livestream of The Last Five Years from ACT of Connecticut (https://www.actofct.org/the-last-five-years).  They claim to be the first company to have gotten AEA approval for full runs of live-in-person theatre on the strength of their meticulously-wrought safety plan (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHlegGIsLnc) for cast and audiences.  They've also secured approval to livestream these performances, thereby hopefully making up in streaming sales what they're losing at the box office by selling only 50 of their 180 seats to real live theatergoers.  It's an interesting solution from a young company (TL5Y marks the beginning of their third season) of whom I hadn't been aware until now, so I'm excited to watch tomorrow -- and hoping they're as good at making theatre as they are at creative problem-solving.  (There is, after all, a good deal of overlap between the two skill-sets).

Full-price streaming tickets for TL5Y go for $72 (!), but they're available for just $11 on TDF if you're a member.  I haven't checked out the live-in-person ticketing situation yet, but if this production excites me online I might even possibly consider visiting them in CT sometime later in the season.

I did watch Emilia (https://www.emilialive.com) last night, and my feelings about it are strongly mixed, but I'm quite glad I saw it (and might even watch again, since it's streaming through Dec. 2).  In the meantime, I might try and get my initial thoughts about it down this weekend.

Ticket purchased for The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk (https://www.kneehigh.co.uk/shows/the-flying-lovers-of-vitebsk/), Saturday night (or 2pm EST) Dec. 5.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: DiveMilw on Nov 12, 2020, 09:21 pm
Kenneth Branagh to Chat Online With Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi, Ian McKellen, Maggie Smith

Sir Kenneth Branagh will host a conversation with British acting legends Dame Judi Dench, Sir Derek Jacobi, Sir Ian McKellen, and Dame Maggie Smith on Sunday, November 29, at 7pm GMT.

This illustrious quintet will discuss their lives and stage and screen work in an event presented on Zoom. Audience members will be able to contribute questions throughout the evening.

For One Knight Only is presented by Lockdown Theatre and Acting for Others. All proceeds will be donated to Acting for Others, which provides emotional and financial support to theater workers in times of need through its 14 member charities.


Click here for tickets. (http://www.rtflockdown.com/)
Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: DiveMilw on Nov 14, 2020, 09:06 am
Quote from: scenicdesign71 on Nov 12, 2020, 05:05 pmTomorrow evening I'll be watching a livestream of The Last Five Years from ACT of Connecticut (https://www.actofct.org/the-last-five-years).  
Thank you for the reminder about this show and the discount offered through TKTS.  I can't afford the $72.  It would be OK if I had a lot of people to watch with me but that is not the case.  

I watched last night.  Aside from a few buffering issues (mostly during The Next Ten Minutes, my favorite song in the show :( ) I thought the experience was great.
Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Nov 20, 2020, 06:24 pm
I saw Bill Irwin's award-winning On Beckett at Irish Rep in 2018 (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/03/theater/review-bill-irwin-on-beckett.html), and they've just recently filmed it for streaming -- this weekend only!
I highly recommend giving it a look, and better still, tickets are free (though a donation, if you can, is as always encouraged):

https://www.theatermania.com/shows/new-york-city-theater/on-beckett-in-screen_334424

Though apparently prerecorded, they do seem to be live-streaming it, in the sense of appointment-watching as opposed to viewing-on-demand.  The remaining showtimes are Saturday at 3pm and 8pm, and Sunday at 3pm.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Nov 29, 2020, 03:05 pm
2020 pandemic Christmas Carol roundup in the NYT (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/29/theater/christmas-carol-dickens-pandemic.html).  Including, among many others:

Jefferson Mays's one-man version (https://www.achristmascarollive.com), filmed a couple of blocks from me in the Heights.

The Old Vic's recent adaptation (https://www.oldvictheatre.com/whats-on/2020/old-vic-in-camera/a-christmas-carol-5).

And my personal MVP this year (about whom you're probably sick of hearing), Manual Cinema's brand-new puppet Carol (https://www.mixily.com/run/4667430828119875605).

Happy holidays, all!

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Dec 01, 2020, 04:32 pm
Oh, and one more, announced today:

https://www.59e59.org/shows/show-detail/virtual-reading-a-christmas-carol/

...featuring Raúl Esparza giving the Old Vic's Andrew Lincoln a run for his money in 2020's Hot Scrooge-Off.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: DiveMilw on Dec 02, 2020, 08:00 am
Hartford Stage (https://www.hartfordstage.org/community-carol/) is doing a version of their Christmas Carol this year.  It's free to stream. 

A COMMUNITY CAROL
OPENING NIGHT
DECEMBER 17, 2020 | 7:30 PM

A recorded version will be available through Monday, December 21 at 7:30 pm.
Inspired by Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol
Collectively Created in Community

On a quiet winter's night, the cast of Hartford Stage's annual A Christmas Carol has Zoomed together to read the famous story in honor of what would have been the 23rd season. But, as the spine of the book cracks open, the cold wind sweeps in, the lights flicker, the Wi-Fi is unstable and the spirits that haunt its pages guide us on a journey through a story we thought we knew so well.
Hartford Stage presents A Community Carol, a virtual storytelling experience adapted and directed by Rachel Alderman and created in partnership with our beloved returning Christmas Carol cast members, local artists, Hartford neighbors and area theater students.
Community Candle Lighting
Join us before the show at 7 pm for a community candle lighting ceremony! Patrons who make a donation of $25 (https://ticketing.hartfordstage.org/donate/contribute2) or more will receive a special "Community Carol" candle that can be used during the ceremony!
IMPORTANT INFO
Approximate Running Time
70 minutes

Recommended Age
Recommended for the entire family!
Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Dec 07, 2020, 02:20 am
Having been fascinated, if occasionally confounded, by Will Arbery's Heroes of the Fourth Turning when I caught it (https://sondheimforum.com/index.php?topic=1022.msg5032#msg5032) at Playwrights Horizons a little over a year ago, I'm curious to see the Wilma Theater's new virtual production (https://wilmatheater.org/event/heroes-of-the-fourth-turning/).  I've been thinking of checking it out ever since hearing about it a few weeks ago, but even more so after reading Jesse Green's thumbnail comparison of the two stagings (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/06/theater/wolves-and-heroes-virtual-theater.html) (he loved both) in yesterday's NYT.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Dec 07, 2020, 02:44 am
Saturday's final livestreamed performance of The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk was thoroughly enjoyable - sweet, sad, romantic, lovely to look at.  It reminded me a bit of Paula Vogel's Indecent, which I loved.  Both historical dramas about eastern-European Jewish artists trying to survive the first half of the 20th century.  Similar story-theatre staging (well, broadly speaking; similar-ish? kinda Indecent crossed with The Fantasticks??), with dollops of existing period music.  Both framed by narrator/participants telling the story in haunted retrospect.  Flying Lovers, smaller and more sentimental than Indecent, maintains a tight focus on its central couple, with a tiny company of just two actor/singer/dancers accompanied by two musicians.  (Indecent has a larger cast, but its ensemble likewise doubles up on roles and even musical instruments).  The cast was splendid, and Emma Rice's distinctive visual and theatrical sensibility was in fine form.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: Leighton on Dec 07, 2020, 01:40 pm
I enjoyed it very much! Audrey Brisson was in my year at drama school and was just as magical then (she also played Amelie in the West End production)
Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Dec 07, 2020, 02:45 pm
She was remarkable!  And I actually wondered, as I was watching, whether she might have been the West End Amelie!  On the basis of her work in Flying Lovers, she would seem ideal for that role.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Dec 13, 2020, 11:13 am
The Wilma Theater's Heroes of the Fourth Turning (https://wilmatheater.org/event/heroes-of-the-fourth-turning/) has been extended for an extra week, and will now remain available to stream through December 20.  Though hardly light holiday viewing, I highly recommend it.

But don't say I didn't warn you -- it's really not light holiday viewing.  (Maybe a respite from light holiday viewing, which I found salutary after watching Dolly Parton's Christmas on the Square and Ryan Murphy's movie version of The Prom on successive weekends).  There's a lot of politico-religious exegesis and argument, an equal amount of drunken soul-searching, and a careful smattering of mysterious, highly dramatic moments whose precise meanings remain tantalizingly opaque to me.

Indeed, the entire worldview (Christian conservatism) more-or-less shared by all five of playwright Will Arbery's characters in Heroes often feels so disorientingly foreign that I have to take his socio-/ideological accuracy on pure faith.  But it certainly feels sharply observed, and the characters seem sensitively rendered, in part because the dark-night-of-the-soul he's contrived reveals their human vulnerability (actions sometimes belie beliefs, arguments hang unresolved, certitudes give way to doubts) without prescribing any easy solutions, nor glibly equating their personal foibles with their religious or political views.  Among other achievements, Arbery has created -- within a milieu that I'm guessing most of his audiences will find as exotic as I do, and with little quarter given for easy analogy to any more familiar cultural mainstream -- five vividly distinct and specific characters whose deeply-held convictions both link and sometimes divide them.  If these characters fall into discernible "types," with shifting and sometimes uncertain allegiances among them, they nevertheless feel fleshed-out and alive and surprising, even when they're yakking on about the arcane subtleties of Catholic doctrine.  (Getting me to understand, even fleetingly and somewhat notionally, these peoples' passion for such matters is an achievement in itself).

I can't offhand think of a recent (or even not-so-recent) play that has given such open and sustained voice to conservative perspectives without a trace of condescension or knee-jerk condemnation.  It's a spooky watch at times, but a fascinating and sometimes thrilling one.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Dec 23, 2020, 07:58 am
I got up at 8 this morning to watch my third (and favorite) Christmas Carol so far this season, that of the Old Vic, a matinée live-streamed at 1pm GMT but early morning here.  (The other remaining performances were sold out by the time I finally got around to buying a ticket yesterday).  I'm very glad I did, and now wish I'd seen the production when it came to Broadway a couple of winters ago.  In addition to delightful staging, gorgeously-performed arrangements of traditional carols, and a winning Scrooge in Andrew Scott (heading a very fine cast indeed), Jack Thorne's adaptation wreaks a number of gentle but shrewd and intriguing variations on the story as we know it; I may need to buy a copy of his script (https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Carol-Jack-Thorne/dp/1848427190) for further perusal.

On Monday, after somehow missing the entire nearly-three-week livestream run of Manual Cinema's Christmas Carol, I finally managed to watch the recording which can be viewed on Marquee TV (https://www.marquee.tv/videos/manualcinema-christmascarol) on-demand until January 3.  Like Thorne, MC has done some rejiggering of the story -- mostly, in this case, by framing Dickens's tale in the context of one family's 21st-century holiday tradition: an annual homemade puppet-show Xmas Carol, disrupted this year by the Covid-19 pandemic.  This framing story, reasserting itself periodically throughout, takes a while to gel; and in the end I was reminded that the strength of this talented troupe lies in their brilliance as visual storytellers, not so much as wordsmiths (most of their work over the past decade has been wordless).  But oh, what visual storytelling: it finds its groove around the time the Spirits start arriving, and just takes off from there.  While the bi-level narrative structure (shakily anchored by a Scrooge-figure, the modern-day "Aunt Trudy," whose Scrooge-iness feels oddly tentative and apologetic) never entirely lives up to the visual ingenuity that's been lavished upon it, the overall result manages to be both moving and timely, serving up such a feast of beautiful and inventive design that I can't complain.  I'll be watching it again, probably more than once.

Over the weekend I watched Primary Stages' Zoom reading of A Christmas Carol: briskly efficient, more dutifully faithful than the other two (adaptor/director Theresa Rebeck seems to have restricted herself to editing Dickens for length and occasionally simplifying some of his language), and on both counts less memorable -- though the performances were great fun, most of all Raúl's Ebenezer.  I'd love to see him take on the role in Thorne's version whenever Broadway finally comes back.

Sadly, I managed to miss the Hartford Stage Christmas Carol; if anyone here saw it, please do give us a report.

Finally, I will be watching the Jefferson Mays version (https://www.achristmascarollive.com) at some point, but that streams until January 3 as well, so there's time.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Dec 28, 2020, 06:27 pm
From now through Wednesday (Dec. 30), the aforementioned Jefferson Mays Christmas Carol (https://www.onthestage.com/show/a-christmas-carol3/a-christmas-carol-29316/tickets/) has a discount code, MARLEY30, good for 40% off -- bringing the price down from $50 to $30.  After they send you the link, you can start streaming the show anytime through Jan. 3; but once you begin the stream, it'll only remain viewable for 24 hours (during which you can watch as many times as you like).
Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: DiveMilw on Jan 01, 2021, 06:26 pm
It's available for the next 72 hours.  Make a donation as low as $5.00 for access.  It's just delightful.  (And I totally saw Donna in one of the roles should it ever play live.)
Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Jan 02, 2021, 02:15 am
Glad to hear you enjoyed Ratatouille, Tom!  I got a ticket shortly before seeing your post last night, though I still haven't watched it myself.  But with your recommendation, I'll try to watch in a less grumpily dutiful frame of mind.  (As much as I did like the movie, I can't find any part of the phrase "crowd-sourced TikTok musical based on Disney" that doesn't fill me with wincing apprehension... but I will get over myself and give it a look at some point today).

And speaking of my inner Scrooge, I finally watched the J. Mays Christmas Carol and enjoyed it enormously.  I still think the Old Vic's might win by a hair if I were ranking the four Carols I've seen this year, but this version sits more-than-comfortably among the bunch: it's as faithful to Dickens as Rebeck's Primary Stages adaptation, and as visually inventive as Manual Cinema's version.  (It's also the spookiest of the four).  Mays himself is a wonderful Scrooge -- I should say he's a wonderful everyone: the final credit-crawl amusingly lists the entire cast of characters, dozens of roles, with Mays's name repeated over and over.

And there's a whole lot to admire about the smart (in both senses, intelligent and stylish) design and cinematography on display here, especially in this spectacle-challenged year of Zoom theatre.  Once or twice I actually found myself questioning whether this virtuosic solo performance needed quite so much visual embellishment.  While the appropriately sepulchral lighting shrewdly declines to flaunt this fact, it does soon become apparent that Mays is in fact sharing the initially rather bare-looking stage with quite a substantial and intricately-crafted machinery of props, automated scenery and projections -- including, among many other goodies, a "doughnut" revolve bearing a small army of furniture through the evening, and a flying rig to swoop Mays off his feet and into Christmas Past.  He's far too good a performer to ever actually be upstaged by all this wizardry, but there were times when I could've settled for less of an eyeful.

(Or perhaps, though I cringe to admit it, I'm just jealous never to have had the ingenuity -- nor, it must be said, the budget -- to have wrought such tidy miracles in any of my own Christmas Carols in years gone by.  My inner Anton Ego, maybe?).

The Sufjan Stevens score also distracted me more than once.  But that's neither Scrooge nor Ego, particularly; that's just me, a mere four years Stevens's senior, becoming an old fart more generally.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Jan 02, 2021, 08:41 am
Okay, I just watched the TikTok Ratatouille and have to admit it was fun.  A hot mess, but a charming one: if anything, I have even less desire to see the justly-beloved Disney/Pixar film brought to the real-live post-Covid Broadway stage after watching this than I had before, but that's not to deny that this virtual smorgasbord provided more than a few moments of genuine delight.  And while, to my mind, the legitimacy of mass crowdsourcing as a viable method of creating musicals now stands exactly where it might have, say, a year ago -- nothing-much to be said in favor of it, almost-literally everything to be said against -- for the current moment, what they've achieved is impressive, even moving, as a kind of group art therapy on a huge scale.  Pre-Covid, that might have seemed the backhanded-est of praise, but under these extraordinary circumstances it's meant with sincere admiration.

My favorite thing about it, oddly enough, was the music -- the orchestra, that is: watching the instrumentalists in various Zoom (or, I guess, TikTok?) panels making it, while hearing the results in the finished sound mix: a kind of concentrated syrup of Disney-Broadway stylings at their most mercilessly irresistible (the arrangements here are eerily attuned to the genre, scrambling any plausible distinction between parody (https://www.tiktok.com/@danieljmertzlufft/video/6885475193410620678) and homage (https://www.tiktok.com/@danieljmertzlufft/video/6912153798458789125)).  Come to think of it, seeing the orchestra -- as one almost never does on B'way -- in studios or studio apartments, wearing street clothes or WFH sweats, has been for me one of the most moving parts of a lot of these virtual events over the past nine months, starting with the Merrily overture that kicked off "Take Me To The World" back in April.

Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Jan 03, 2021, 03:24 pm
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/03/theater/ratatouille-tiktok-musical-review.html
Title: Re: Streaming Theatre
Post by: scenicdesign71 on Jan 13, 2021, 06:56 pm
Irish Rep is bringing back all of their streaming productions from last year!  Donations encouraged but not required (though even the suggested $100 for the whole festival actually breaks down to just 11 bucks per show, if you watch all nine of them).  With or without a donation, reservations are required; and this is appointment viewing, not streaming-on-demand -- but the shows all run in virtual rep for almost a month, January 26 - February 21, so there are lots of showtimes to choose from.

https://irishrep.org/show/irish-rep-online/theatre-home-winter-festival/

Apparently I'm not the only one who was intrigued, from fairly early on, by the Rep's evident commitment to adapting these performances for this strange new medium: whether green-screened or performed in an empty theatre, the few I saw last year were technically polished and visually astute, a league above your average Zoom reading.  Judging by the pull-quotes on the festival splash page linked above, it seems Theatermania and the Wall Street Journal thought so, too.