Very few entities have prevailed throughout the centuries, and theatre is one of them. Even in today’s world of Netflix and Youtube, people still buy tickets, dress up, and spend the night out at the theatre.
Nothing can match that anticipation of waiting for the house lights to darken and the stage lights to rise. A hush falls over the audience as the action commences. The viewers are just itching to know what lies ahead.
Out of all the art forms, theatre is the one I cherish the most. I have watched comedies, mysteries, and dramas produced in a broad range of settings from high schools all the way to Broadway venues. I’m immensely grateful to be allowed the pleasure of the genre.
There are several reasons why theatre has lasted this long and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Here’s just a few of them.
A feeling of belonging
For a few hours, you can sit in a room and forget your problems and worries as you are immersed into someone else’s story.
Sure, the same can be said about TV shows and movies. But with theatre, there is no screen dividing you and the action.
You are invited into the same private club as the actors, and, better still, you get to share this intimate experience with other people. People who are going through their own trials and triumphs, who have their own stories. People who remind you that you are never truly alone.
Portraying the breadth of the human condition
Plays wield the power to make you laugh, to grip your heart, to make you view the world in a different light.
You observe closely how others cope with heartbreak and loss, tackle obstacles, fall in love, and bask in happiness. You watch how easy it is for a human to be tempted by immorality, how easy it is to make a life-altering decision, how easy it is to hit bottom.
You witness suffering, pain, rapture, and success.
And it’s all bared right in front of you. No smoke and mirrors. No tricks. Just real people exposing real emotion.
Always staying relevant in pop culture
The exposure of movie and TV actors might outweigh those of Broadway actors, but that doesn’t make the stage performers any less popular.
Just like movie and TV actors, Broadway actors maintain the same, strong social media presences with thousands of followers and get booked for TV appearances and interviews.
Another way Broadway has merged with the times is through the creation of BroadwayCon. Think ComicCon but for Broadway stars and fans. At BroadwayCon, you can mingle with other fans, meet your favorite stars, and attend workshops.
Now with more accessibility, thanks to technology
While theater is a phenomenal experience that’s best seen live, it can sometimes be tricky to actually get to a performance. Maybe the nearest community theatre company is a town over, or the shows you are dying to attend are all the way up in the Broadway capital itself – New York City.
When in a pinch, it’s great to tap into your other options for that quick theatrical fix.
One reliable way is BroadwayHD. The service is comparable to Hulu and Netflix with a fairly low subscription rate ($8.99/month or $99.99/year). The website allows you to view which shows are available before signing up, and the selection hits several genres – from musicals and concerts to dramas and comedies. It even had a Foreign Theatre category.
One of my favorite methods is catching a movie theatre’s screening of a Broadway show. Playing the performance on a tremendous screen with surround sound is the best next thing to viewing it live. Throughout the year, Fathom Events produces special airings of a wide spread of shows. One of my personal, favorite times was seeing Disney’s “Newsies” earlier this year.
Then, of course, there is the live broadcast format. Over the last few years, several popular musicals have been produced to the masses through this format – with mixed reviews. The most recent attempt was Fox’s “A Christmas Story Live!,” which aired Sunday and, again, received mixed reviews.
While I’ve yet to find a show of this style that I thoroughly enjoy, I have to applaud TV studios for trying to expose more people to a medium they might not otherwise have access to or even thought to explore.
What’s your favorite play or musical? Do you have a memorable moment at the theatre? Share in the comments section below, or find me on social media.