Live theater has cautiously begun its return to Atlanta (with safety, sanitation, and distancing always in mind) to the delight of many long-deprived spectators. Of course, not all are ready to attend live performances, and the WABE team today offers several options for theater lovers wishing to experience the art from home. “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes was joined by contributing producer and resident theater enthusiast Shelley Kenneavy, who shared highlights from upcoming virtual productions from Atlanta’s drama community.
Virtual Live Theater for Everyone:
Hamilton, currently showing at the Fox Theater through September 26th, is also available on Disney+ for subscribers. The streaming musical is performed by its original Broadway cast and filmed at the Richard Rogers Theatre. This Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning hit musical tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, his contributions to our country and financial systems, and his relationships with Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and others. Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda spices up his historical hip-hop with adventurous modern music and dance.
Hamilton’s America (if you can’t get enough Hamilton) is a 2016 PBS documentary in the “Great Performances” series, following Lin-Manuel Miranda over three years as he wrote his phenomenally popular musical. Miranda visits historical sites including the Museum of American Finance and even performs at the White House. Hamilton’s America can be seen for free on YouTube.
Falsettos, a Tony Award-nominated musical shown in its 2016 revival. Daring and surprisingly hilarious, the entirely sung-through musical follows a modern middle-class family — a gay man, his son, his ex wife, their therapist, and the lesbians next door — as they navigate family dynamics and the AIDS crisis. The writer, William Finn, believed that provoking laughter is a greater challenge than garnering tears. Falsettos is available to stream on Amazon Prime or BroadwayHD.
Shrek: The Musical, now streaming on Netflix, makes musical theater out of a classic family fantasy animation. The Broadway live-action production premiered in 2008, and was filmed with performances by Broadway giants Sutton Foster, Brian d’Arcy James, and Chris Sieber. The six-foot-tall Seiber played diminutive Lord Farquaad; an ambitious role requiring him to drop to his knees for the entire show.
Into the Woods, the Stephen Sondheim masterpiece of fairy tale amalgamation, currently streams on YouTube, Google Play, Vudu and iTunes. The story comes from James Lapine’s book, written after he was inspired by an essay on how children process fairy tales: The Uses of Enchantment by Bruno Bettelheim. Into The Woods follows a baker and his wife who are cursed by a witch and sent on a wild quest, where they meet Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood and others — all on similar expeditions. The streaming film shows the original Broadway production starring Bernadette Peters and Joanna Gleason. Google Play also carries a Disney film version of Into the Woods from 2014, starring Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick and Johnny Depp.
Carousel, semi-staged and filmed at Lincoln Center in New York. It’s a Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, named Best Musical of the 20th Century by Time Magazine in 1999. Carousel spins the tale of a carnival barker whose dire circumstances caring for his girlfriend and unborn baby drive him to commit robbery. After a tragic mishandling and fallout, he gets a lucky second chance to set things right. The production stars Kelli O’Hara and opera virtuoso Nathan Gunn, with music by the New York Philharmonic. Streaming on Amazon Prime.
Local Theaters and Productions Online:
The Little Red Hen and the Grain of Wheat will come to life by the hands of Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts on September 18. The old children’s tale tells how a little hen stumbles upon a wheat grain, makes a plan to harvest, mill, mix and bake it, but can’t get any help from her barnyard neighbors. She does it all herself and reaps the rewards. Lessons of hard work, responsibility, sharing, and helping your neighbor ring true in this timeless tale. It’s 40 minutes long and presented through Zoom, plus a Q&A after the performance. $8 for non-members, $6 for members at The Center for Puppetry Arts website.
SheATL Festival shares its works by women and non-binary theater writers online, having shown in-person productions during this year’s August-September events.
–Four Wives and a Will, September 9
–And God Forbid it Should Be So, September 10
–To Free a Mockingbird, September 11
All digital performances can be accessed on YouTube after purchasing the digital ticket through SheATL’s website. with a minimum donation of $5.
Sounds of the West End is Alliance Theatre’s multimedia streaming experience celebrating Atlanta’s West End. An aural adventure immerses viewers in the sounds of the historic neighborhood, from talk on the sidewalks to the whoosh of MARTA trains, and a rhythmic and tasty trip through the epicenter of vegan cooking in Atlanta. The experience streams through the Alliance Theatre website for an entry fee of $5. The streaming experience includes:
– 4 Video Episodes
– 6 audio tracks
– Activity guide
– Google Earth experience
– Interactive web experience
Atlanta Opera is offering its entire archive of past performances for streaming at https://stream.atlantaopera.org. Subscription packages are available for $15/month, or viewers can purchase individual performances.