A Fad or The Future: BroadwayHD

Imagine arriving home from a grueling day’s work after fighting through an equally exhausting commute. Top it off with a cold, sopping drizzle falling precariously from the sky. The only energy you can muster is that to order dinner in and flop on the couch with a remote in hand, and nothing more.

If you had theatre tickets on a night like this, they might – okay, they’ll probably go to waste. No, this is definitely a Netflix binge-watching night, right?

Well, it no longer needs to be the case. You can still look forward to some high-quality theatrical entertainment, and right in the comfortable informality of your own home. And, no, there’s no need to invite any live performers to view you in your casual state.

With BroadwayHD, a pair of producers is hoping to cash in on the streaming trend by bringing shows from Broadway and various other high-quality outlets directly to you, the consumer. The service’s shows are currently relatively limited, but the potential for “big box office” is palpable.

But, it begs the question: Is this just another nail in the coffin of the traditional theatre-going experience? And does it dull the enjoyable  “spark” of actually seeing a performance, live and in-person (much like many shows-turned-films fall flat)?

Maybe. It’s the age old question: By attempting to reach a larger audience, are we watering-down the theatre-going experience? Is it a mere case of over-reach? Or is the passion towards new arts and experiences simply spreading in this new medium, causing home viewers to become true theatergoers?

Some naysayers poo-poo the new trend, arguing that the shows you’ll see on the list are sub-par and limited, and you won’t have access to the current hits (much as how Netflix Streaming first started). But, considering that this is a brand-new method of pushing access to shows out to the masses, many Broadway producers and teams simply haven’t had the discussion when creating their business and marketing plans to include the possible income generated by streaming the production.

Perhaps, if nothing else, it will begin the dialogue on the Great White Way of accessibility and its effect on the art.