As you may recall, back in April I went to see the musical She Loves Me on Broadway. Last night it became the first Broadway show to be live streamed online. Even though I had already seen it in person, I wanted to watch it. First off I really enjoyed the show and was interested in watching it again even if it was only through a screen. Second I really wanted to support this happening so that they do it again in the future, so I happily ponied up my $9.99 to BroadwayHD for it.
The show was of course still delightful. Since I’ve already written about that I won’t go into the specifics of the show again. I’m just going to concentrate on the broadcast itself. It got off to a rocky start. It seems they didn’t have enough bandwidth at the start as leading into the show I kept getting kicked out and seeing a screen that said Invalid Content Segment. I was worried that was going to keep happening through the whole show and it would be unwatchable. Thankfully they seemed to get it together for the most part just after the curtain went up, and aside from a quick little blip or two my viewing experience was pretty good after that. I know that didn’t hold true for everyone. One of my friends watching said it paused on her several times for significant periods of time and she didn’t actually get to see the end because it paused and never played again with about 5 minutes left. Hopefully they can learn from this experience and work out the kinks for the stream better if they do it again. Other than the streaming issue though I think they did a good job with the broadcast. I thought the filming was good and gave you a good perspective of the stage while not just being a static camera staring at the stage.
I’m lucky that I have the money and ability to make it to New York several times a year to see Broadway shows, but there are many people for whom that is never going to be possible. I appreciate things like this that provide access to live theatre to the masses. Watching it through a screen is never going to be like being in the room, but for people whose only access to live theatre may be high school productions if even that this is a great opportunity to see Broadway shows. I hope this is not the last one they do. I imagine anything they do is going to be along the lines of She Loves Me, which was a limited run production that was nearing the end of its run when it was filmed. I get that the money people are worried about cannibalizing audiences by streaming their shows, but realistically I bet it wouldn’t matter that much. It’s not the same thing as actually seeing a show live, and I bet most of the people watching wouldn’t ever have the chance to see the shows on Broadway anyway or who are like me have already seen it and are watching again. I look forward to whatever they do next in case.