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- BroadwayHD lets you stream classic Broadway entertainment from the comfort of your home.
- The service includes filmed stage productions of older musicals and plays.
- BroadwayHD costs $ 12 / month on its own, but Amazon Prime members can sign up for $ 9 / month.
Seeing a musical or play in person is an incredible experience, but not everyone is able to attend live theater regularly. High ticket prices and travel costs can be barriers for many who hope to see big-budget shows on Broadway, and local theater options can be limited depending on where you live.
As a big fan of Broadway, I searched for a way to enjoy musical theater without having to attend shows every week. I ultimately found a fantastic solution with BroadwayHD, a
service that offers a selection of filmed staged productions that you can watch from the comfort of your couch.
The service launched in the fall of 2015 with 100 titles and has been steadily building a content library full of shows. A subscription costs $ 12 a month or $ 130 a year after a week-long free trial. Though the service does not include shows that are currently running on Broadway, the catalog of classic and popular productions still offers a ton of value for fans of theater.
BroadwayHD was founded with the intention of democratizing Broadway.
The founders of BroadwayHD are Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley; both are Tony Award-winning producers. The streaming service is aimed at bringing Broadway entertainment to a wider audience, including viewers who would not normally be able to see an in-person production.
Broadway has always been a niche market, only accessible to a certain demographic in a specific geographic area. Even if you live in an area that frequently gets Broadway national tours, it’s easy to be priced out of events like these. With BroadwayHD, subscribers can watch filmed stage productions from the comfort of their living room for an affordable monthly fee.
Before launching the service, the founders made agreements with all 17 of the unions and guilds that represent workers on and off-stage to ensure that every member gets compensated for their work when a show is filmed for the service.
BroadwayHD also has partnerships with some of the leading Broadway and off-Broadway non-profit theater companies, including the Public Theater, Roundabout Theater Company, and Lincoln Center Theater. This has led to a few key collaborations, including the 2016 production of “She Loves Me,” which was streamed live on BroadwayHD directly from Studio 54.
BroadwayHD offers an accessible way to experience a Broadway production at home for a monthly fee.
Since 2015, BroadwayHD has been steadily growing its content library. It includes older musicals and plays filmed live on stage on Broadway, plus a large catalog of Shakespeare from both the BBC and Royal Shakespeare Company.
BroadwayHD also features big-screen adaptations of musicals, including “Hello Again” and “Yentl,” and plays adapted for the screen, including Oscar Wilde’s “Salomé” starring Al Pacino and Jessica Chastain. The service has a lineup of theater documentaries as well. “Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles” is a great one that charts the creation and lasting impact of “Fiddler on the Roof.”
BroadwayHD is currently available to watch on iOS and Android devices, as well as Roku, Apple TV, and Fire TV products. The service costs $ 12 a month on its own and new members can get a one-week free trial.
Amazon Prime members can also sign up for BroadwayHD as a Prime Video channel add-on for just $ 9 a month. With the add-on, Prime members can use the Prime Video app to watch BroadwayHD’s content.
It’s important to note that you will not find any shows that are currently running on Broadway or London’s West End.
All filmed productions on BroadwayHD are only added to the service once a show has closed, which means that popular musicals like “Wicked” and “The Book of Mormon” remain unavailable to stream.
A notable exception to this, however, is the 25th anniversary production of “Phantom of the Opera,” which was filmed live in London. “Phantom of the Opera” is still running on Broadway and the West End for the foreseeable future, but this dazzling and large-scale spectacular can be enjoyed at home through BroadwayHD.
Another classic that you can watch on BroadwayHD even though new productions pop up worldwide all the time is “Les Miserables.” Like “Phantom,” this production was filmed live in London in honor of the show’s 25th anniversary. It’s of equal scale to the anniversary performance of “Phantom,” featuring the best of the best.
“Ann,” which stars Holland Taylor as Ann Richards, the former governor of Texas, is also on BroadwayHD despite the fact that it continues to be performed by Taylor to this day.
As a former theater student and Broadway lover, I get a lot of use out of BroadwayHD – here are some of my favorite productions you can watch right now:
“Falsettos” was filmed live from the stage of Broadway’s Walter Kerr Theater in early 2017. The musical by Bill Finn and James Lapine tells the story of a family with unconventional dynamics at the dawn of the AIDS crisis. This production was nominated for five Tony awards, four of which recognized the show’s incredible acting.
“Indecent” by Paula Vogel is one of my favorite genres of theater: a play about a play. The show, which was filmed live on Broadway in 2017, is about the true story of “God of Vengeance,” a production by Sholem Asch that premiered on Broadway in 1923.
‘Into the Woods’
Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s classic twist on Brothers Grimm fairy tales was filmed live in London at an outdoor theater. It won an Olivier award for Best Musical Revival and stars Hannah Waddingham (“Ted Lasso”) as the witch.
Another Sondheim classic, this version of “Sweeney Todd” was filmed in 1980 during the musical’s first national tour. It stars original cast member Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Lovett and George Hearn as the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
BroadwayHD has four productions of “Macbeth” available, but I recommend the filmed version of the 2008 Broadway revival starring Patrick Stewart. The concept takes the play out of its Scottish setting and places it into a nondescript netherworld.
“Kinky Boots,” by Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper, was filmed live on London’s West End and released in 2019. The musical follows an unlikely partnership between a factory owner and a drag queen as they try to save the factory from financial trouble. The original Broadway production and this London production are both award-winning.
The bottom line
BroadwayHD is a really comprehensive streaming service for fans of theater. It’s perfect for people who are unable to see shows in person, or anyone who is looking to discover something new.
I initially signed up for the service during the Broadway shutdown when I was missing live theater. But even now that Broadway is back open, I still find myself watching BroadwayHD regularly to revisit old favorites and check out productions I’ve never seen.
That said, if you’re mostly interested in shows that are currently playing on Broadway, BroadwayHD may not be a great fit because those productions are notably absent.
Still, for $ 12 / month, the service has a great balance of older classics, including Shakespeare, and contemporary musicals like “BKLYN” AND “First Date.” Even if you’re lucky enough to attend theater regularly, BroadwayHD is a great way to stream your favorites and enjoy Broadway entertainment from your living room.