Neil Patrick Harris performing with the cast of ‘Book of Mormon’ at the 66th annual Tony Awards at … [+] The Beacon Theatre on June 10, 2012 (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
There is no limit to what can be ordered online.
As London’s West End theaters remain shut and individuals grow tired of watching livestreamed shows during the COVID-19 pandemic, Olivier Award-winning actress Maria Friedman and actor Adrian Der Gregorian have launched a new program to let people safely watch theatre in person. Named “Doorstep Productions,” the service sends costumed actors and actresses to perform memorable moments from award-winning musicals on customer’s front lawns, like a package delivered from Amazon.
“We can bring the best bits to you, and you don’t even have to face the tubes and crowds,” stated Friedman. “Everything seems to be ‘deliverable’ these days, so why not the West End?” she asked.
The service, which costs £250 (about $335) for a pair of performers, “can make such a difference to the isolated, the lonely, the grandmother separated from her daughter and grandchildren,” Friedman commented. In a time when many loved ones are living apart, she said that it can help “bring people closer together.”
With support from several leading theatre executives, including Cameron Mackintosh, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Nica Burns, and her sister, Sonia Friedman, Doorstep Productions also provides a source of income for struggling West End performers.
As a result of the panemic, “all the shows are shut, all my friends are unemployed, and some of them have lost their homes,” Friedman stated. “I felt as though it was so important to get members of my profession up, out, and doing what they do best: touching people’s hearts, singing at the top of their voices, dancing, entertaining and making people feel loved and alive, reminding them that they are worthwhile, and along the way help them pay a few bills,” she explained.
While Friedman declined to discuss whether or not she will bring Doorstep Productions across the pond, there are a few companies that provide similar programs in the United States.
Broadway Plus, which offers private theatre experiences, recently sent two cast members from Hamilton to perform a concert at customer’s home on Long Island. “Everyone in attendance was administered a rapid test at the door,” confirmed its founder, Nathaniel Hill.
After the firm broke sales records offering virtual experiences in November and December, “we have reached a point where, if a client wants to coordinate a safe in-person experience and we are able to match them with talent who are comfortable with the same safety protocols, then we would love to make it happen,” explained Hill.
Broadway Roulette, which pivoted during the pandemic from selling random Broadway tickets to organizing virtual events with random Broadway performers, is also now exploring socially-distant, in person mixers. “[T]he part of mixers people respond to the most is the surprise of not knowing which Broadway artists are going to show up,” and “I think it’s pretty clear that the surprise of who’s showing up is even better if they walk into the room,” commented its chief executive officer, Elizabeth Durand Streisand.
While people can watch Hamilton anytime on Disney+, nothing beats being in the room where it happens.
“There is no doubt that, after nine long months of shuttered theaters, Broadway fans crave interaction with the art form like never before,” observed Hill.
“People are anxious for live entertainment,” echoed Spencer Howard of BroadwayBooker, which allows users to hire Broadway talent for private events. “We have actually been receiving more and more requests for in person bookings,” he said.
Source by www.forbes.com