Broadway play “Clyde’s” to air live
For Broadway shows, there have been some limited pandemic experiences with performances filmed, but no live broadcast. A “Hamilton” movie, using footage shot and edited in 2016, was shown during the pandemic on a streaming platform, as was a filmed version of “American Utopia” by David Byrne; the musicals “Come From Away” and “Diana” filmed invite-only passages during the pandemic, and these filmed performances were also shown on streaming platforms.
Now, as theaters reopen, some are discussing the pros and cons, as well as the feasibility, of a so-called hybrid model, in which live performances can be seen in person or at home. Second Stage, in collaboration with Assemble Stream, earlier this fall offered its subscribers the opportunity to broadcast live a few performances of an Off Broadway epistolary play, “Letters of Suresh”; Encouraged by this experience, the association decided to try the hybrid approach for “Clyde’s,” which is his first Broadway show after closing.
“The in-person activity is our priority, but we have learned a lot from the pandemic, in terms of finding other ways to engage with the public,” said Khady Kamara, Executive Director of Second Stage. There are a number of potential audiences – those who are still wary of public gatherings, those who live outside of the New York City area, those with various accessibility issues – and Nottage said she also hopes for a given that the play could be broadcast in prisons.
Kamara said the theater will broadcast live “Clyde’s,” which stars Uzo Aduba and Ron Cephas Jones, in real time during performances January 4-16 – it cannot be watched on demand.
Is there a risk that the project will dissuade people from coming to see the show at the theater? “I really believe that the magic of being inside the theater and being so close to the stage is not something that goes away,” Kamara said. “I think most people will still want to experience it in person.”
The performances will be captured by five to seven cameras mounted by Assemble Stream inside the Helen Hayes Theater; the footage will be edited remotely, in real time, as with a live television broadcast, according to Katie McKenna, the company’s vice president of marketing and business development.
Kamara and McKenna said the theater would not need to remove any seats to accommodate the cameras and the cameras would not obstruct the lines of sight of patrons; the cameras will be controlled remotely. “Our goal is to be as less disruptive as possible,” McKenna said.