COVID-19 has basically guaranteed that a lot of us won’t be leaving our homes anytime soon. Many of us are scrambling to figure out how to occupy our days while we keep ourselves healthy and happy. Binge-watching some of our favorite “streamable” shows is a given, but what if you had the ability to travel to your favorite museums, operas, or Broadway shows, all without leaving your couch. Thanks to certain online servers, art and culture lovers everywhere can now make their way to their favorite Broadway plays and operas that are now closed off to the public.
BroadwayHD is a streaming service that was launched back in 2015. The service does exactly what you’d expect and brings actual recordings of live Broadway performances into your home. The company statement exclaims that “BroadwayHD was created with the goal of making high-quality theater accessible to everyone globally.”
The platform itself offers users a seven-day free trial, after that users will have to pay $9 a month to keep the service, fairly typical for any streaming service. Subscribers will have access to shows that are no longer on Broadway such as Cats, The King and I, and The Sound of Music. Many of the recordings were also made exclusively for the platform, such as original performances of Kinky Boots.
BroadwayHD is also known for its “playlists” of plays, most recently they made one to honor Women’s History Month which included plays exclusively made by female theater-makers and playwrights, as well as feminist performances, including all female renditions of popular Shakespeare plays, A Night with Janis Joplin, and Driving Ms. Daisy.
In addition, “BroadwayHD is celebrating theater legend Stephen Sondheim for his 90th birthday and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 72nd with a special tribute playlist including some of their most beloved productions. The playlist includes Gypsy, Putting It Together, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Cats, Phantom Of The Opera, Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, and more.”
Besides streaming services for Broadway plays and virtual tour services for the world’s most popular museums, the Metropolitan Opera decided to join in on offering digital cultural entertainment to the public during this time of isolation. This past week, the Metropolitan Opera announced that it would be streaming performances of some of its most famous shows to the public starting this week. The best part? They’re offering it for free.
“The Metropolitan Opera announced that it would stream encore presentations from the award-winning Live in HD series of cinema transmissions on the company website for the duration of the closure. We’d like to provide some grand opera solace to opera lovers in these extraordinarily difficult times. Every night, we’ll be offering a different complete operatic gem from our collection of HD presentations from the past 14 years,” Met General Manager Peter Gelb shared in a statement.
Instead of presenting each opera as an option to watch at any time like a regular streaming service, the Met will be instead hosting “Nightly Met Opera Streams” in which each performance is scheduled at the same time every night. Beginning on Monday March 16th, the Met posts a different opera performance to its homepage at 7:30 p.m. where it will remain available until the next day when the next performance is uploaded. For a full list of performances, simply go to the Met Opera’s homepage. So while you may not be able to go out and tour the MoMA, go see Wicked, or relive the magic of Carmen, the digital world has made it possible to still maintain some cultural habits in times of quarantine.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.