In today’s Wall Street Journal I chronicle the best theater of 2020—all of it in the form of streaming webcasts. Here’s an excerpt.
* * *
The last time I went to a theater was in early March, when I reviewed the off-Broadway premiere of Katori Hall’s “The Hot Wing King.” Like everybody else in the civilized world, I was well aware of the Covid-19 pandemic, but it had never occurred to me that a week later all the theaters in New York would be locked up tight and I would be confined to my Manhattan apartment until further notice. No sooner was the lockdown order issued, though, than I realized that I’d need either to discontinue my weekly drama column or approach it in a radically different way.
Within a week, the solution had become clear to me. San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater and Syracuse Stage, located in upstate New York, announced that they would be streaming broadcast-quality videos of stage productions that were already in previews at the time of the lockdown. Several other regional theater companies followed suit, and I thought—perhaps I should say hoped—that more such webcasts would soon fill the electronic pipeline. Sure enough, regional companies of all kinds started putting their shows online….
I believe that webcasting is destined to become a permanent part of the ecology of regional theater. Why? Because it will be a long time before playgoers, especially older ones, feel safe going to the theater again. If that’s right, then it’s nothing short of irresponsible for regional theaters of all sizes not to put their work on the web….
* * *Read the whole thing here.