Someone posted on Facebook that we don’t need actors or reality stars to survive this pandemic. While “Un-Block The Music” strongly thanks, prays for and commends every single essential worker every single day, the arts have played a part in our mental health survival in the last two months. In the past, I have written about StreamingMusicals.com ( https://www.streamingmusicals.com/#!/home ), but it’s time to write about them again since they have been on the cutting edge of streaming live theater. Not only have they already had success this month with the live premiere of one title, they are almost ready to release another title.
Paul Gordon’s musical adaptation of Pride & Prejudice premiered on April 10. StreamingMusicals.com hosted a virtual opening night with Beth Leavel (The Prom), Laura Osnes (Cinderella) and SiriusXM’s Julie James. The show was produced for Streaming Musicals by Tom Polum (Cyrano – The Musical) and Stacia Fernandez (Mamma Mia!). “Un-Block The Music” spoke to company CEO Tom Polum and writer Paul Gordon who, by the way, was a Tony nominee for his original score of Jane Eyre !
I’ll start with Tom who told “Un-Block The Music” that on premiere night, there were 160,00 views of Pride & Prejudice from 14 different countries. “Theater is about communicating and telling stories, and because of the technology, we are able to do just that even through a pandemic. Theater unions are realizing that there is a whole digital arm extension of live theater.” Next up from StreamingMusicals.com will be Marry Harry. The musical premiered Off-Broadway at York Theatre Company and was filmed in a sound studio. It was written by Jennifer R. Manocherian (The Great Society) with music from Dan Martin and lyrics by Michael Biello.
Recorded last November, Marry Harry is expected to premiere on StreamingMusicals.com around mid-May. The reason the premiere date is not solid has to do, once again, with quarantine! “We were supposed to go into a studio to record the music with live musicians, but then the shutdown happened,” Tom explains. “Instead, we are actually recording each of the musicians individually in their own home with their own recording equipment. Then the music will be mixed together virtually and we will have a completed product without ever actually getting in the same room!”
With Marry Harry’s premiere, there will also be a talk back and a virtual opening night party. All the cast will be there. Anybody in the world can join in via Zoom. “Going to say the opening night is formal from the waist up,” Tom jokes.
“Historically, there has been such a push back in recording theatrical events because there was always a sense that if fans have seen it online that they won’t want to see it in the theater. That has been proven wrong many times. For example, Legally Blonde was filmed on Broadway for MTV and then it went to London. It was a gigantic success there partly because everybody had seen it on TV and they wanted to go out to see it and have a great time,” Tom says. “It is very similar to the story of cast albums. When the cast album first came out in the 1920s, producers were asking, ‘why would we want to record a cast album? No one will ever come see the show if they have already heard the music.’ Today, of course, the cast album is an absolute must. Now that the floodgates of live streaming have been opened, I don’t expect they will be turned off, but rather will be an adjunct to New York theater.”
Paul Gordon’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma as well as his mystery musical No One Called Ahead are also available on StreamingMusicals.com. “Un-Block The Music’s” interview with Paul will post later this week.
Here is a story I wrote a while back when Emma premiered on StreamingMusicals.com.
Also, a side note: Tom produced the Off-Broadway production of Toxic Avenger starring Nick Cordero who has put a face on Coronavirus for the Theater Community. As of this weekend, Nick remains in a coma in a Los Angeles hospital after surgeons amputated his right leg because of complications from the virus.
Broadway.com posted this quote from Nick’s wife, actress Amanda Kloots, Nick is “recovering well and doing really well with the pacemaker. His heart rate has been under control. If everything goes well this weekend… they will take the ventilator out on Monday replacing it with a tracheostomy tube. That will make him more comfortable, and then on Tuesday, they’ll put in a feeding tube as well for more nutrition.” Prayers to Nick and his family.