Theatergoers and musical enthusiasts are feeling the blow after Broadway cancelled all upcoming shows through April 12 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Now, some are looking to still view shows online.
Last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo banned all gatherings of 500 people or more, causing Broadway to officially shut down. Following the announcement, #HamAtHome began trending on Twitter when the musical Hamilton began tweeting songs throughout the evening to engage with fans. Additionally, Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda released a brand new track “I Have This Friend,” noting that “Wish I could send you peace of mind via this app. Alas. But I can send you music no one’s heard.”
Tony Award-winning actress Laura Benanti also wanted to help keep the spirit of theater alive by asking high school students to share performances of their high school musicals that were cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. She said in a tweet that “my high school musical was a lifesaver.”
“So, if you would like to sing a song that you are not going to get to sing now and tag me, I want to see you. I want to hear it,” she said.
@LauraBenanti #SunshineSongs Sophia, 9 years old, singing When You Wish Upon A Star. She had hoped to compete in the musical theatre category of the Kiwanis Music festival in two weeks. ❤️@linmanuel001 pic.twitter.com/YxPwdxkY5k
— Victoria Kerr (@victoriarmt14) March 14, 2020
#SunshineSongs At SUNY Geneseo, we got to do Damn Yankees last night as our opening and closing performance. It was definitely a bittersweet moment, but doing Shoeless Joe as an encore was the sweetest moment of all @LauraBenanti pic.twitter.com/tsKFeNShAC
— Mick Elliott (@mickelliott16) March 14, 2020
This is my daughter singing a song from her canceled musical. She’d been working toward her senior year musical lead for six years 🙁
— Andrea Phillips (@andrhia) March 14, 2020
The theater news website BroadwayWorld also opted to create a space for theatergoers by launching “Living Room Concerts.” The videos allow people from across the world to watch Broadway performers sing while the shows are shut down. Living Room Concerts has featured Pretty Woman‘s Andy Karl and Orfeh, Dear Evan Hansen‘s Andrew Barth Feldman, and Jagged Little Pill‘s Kathryn Hallagher so far.
“You know, a lot of people buy tickets and buy flights six months to a year in advance,” BroadwayWorld’s digital managing editor Alan Henry told NBC News. “So it was really just, how do we bring a little bit of joy during this less than easy time for a lot of people?”
At this time, all shows are closed until April 12 and theatergoers can receive refunds to cancelled shows via point of purchase. Broadway isn’t alone; all concert tours were also cancelled throughout the rest of the month, major sporting events were called-off, and sports leagues paused or cancelled operations.