19 May 20200 Comments
Wondering when you’ll be able to take in a Broadway show again? Theater? How about now?! It’s at your fingertips. Promise.
Below are some sites I’ve been taking advantage of over the past few months. They offer full-length everything. Much of this list is free streaming so consider making donations to the groups if you’re able. And if you have some tech skills and the equipment, add a couple of real speakers to enrich your viewing and listening experiences.
To make sure you’re actually tuned in properly to one of the below performances, check out the duration of the show at the bottom of the YouTube screen. Full length events will show hours:minutes:seconds. Trailers, excerpts and explanatory discussions are usually just minutes:seconds.
For many of the YouTube shows, you can “subscribe” and/or “set a reminder” in YouTube, and you’ll get an email to remind you they’re coming up. You don’t have to watch them at that time, but keep in mind that some are available for only a week from that date.
To start, check out the free streaming Shakespeare’s Globe. They’ll be running six productions, each production available for two weeks from the time of release. If you can catch Two Noble Kinsman, it’s thrillingly different.
National Theatre at Home in London is hosting free full-length plays every Thursday, available for one week. Street Car Named Desire from the Young Vic is coming up on May 21. Go to the site to view and also see what’s coming up next.
Take in the Royal Court Theatre’s Cyprus Avenue by David Ireland.
Full Length Stage Plays is a mixed bag of shows and films of shows including RENT, HAIRSPRAY, Les Miserables, and Into the Woods, among others.
With BroadwayHD, you can sign up for a free one-week trial and get a monthly subscription or a yearly one following that one-week. Knowing COVID would inhibit us for a while, I bought the annual plan and it’s amazing. I’ve watched about 10 plays already and cannot help but marvel at that $99 yearly fee, compared to a single theater ticket sitting in the first couple of rows. It’s simply an amazing value for money. My recent favorite is Jason Alexander in The Portuguese Kid – hysterical, and Ann (about Ann Richards, Texas governor with a sharp tongue and wit). A wide range of Broadway and Off-Broadway shows are on the roster in addition to old TV full-length plays (e.g., A Moon for the Misbegotten).
Try looking for various famous plays, just by searching the name of the play. I found early Dustin Hoffmann doing Death of a Salesman.
Retold Shakespeare: I picked up this DVD from the library a couple of years ago and went wild over it. BBC commissioned modern playwrights to take a Shakespeare play and retell the story in their own way. I see that you can stream two of them: Macbeth (he’s now the head chef of a gourmet restaurant) is incredibly innovative. There’s also a version of Much Ado About Nothing and an Othello.
The one I keep trying to find in YouTube is Taming of the Shrew (where Kate is a horrifically thorny corporate manager who really gets her comeuppance by the Petruchio equivalent). Watch clips of it to get the flavor, but you still have to get the whole thing in the library on that DVD.
Tempest, with Helen Mirren as Prospero (!) and Russell Brand as Trinculo, Alan Cumming, Tom Conti — another amazing production.
If you’ve found other gems, please share them in the comments below. In the meantime, partake in as many of these wonderful performances as you can!