Broadway HD, a new subscription and on-demand service, was launched to bring Broadway to the Internet streaming world on Tuesday, Oct. 26.
The service was created in a collaboration from producers and spouses, Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley. Lane, a six-time Tony Award winner, has produced many successful works such as “War Horse” and “Romeo and Juliet.” Comley, a three-time Tony Award winner, has producing credits on over 20 Broadway productions.
The couple has been working together for four years to make Broadway HD possible and now the service is up and running with the rights to stream over 100 productions. The productions are drawn from multiple sources, including Broadway Worldwide’s Direct From Broadway catalog, WNET/New York and BBC Worldwide North America, among others. The duo plans to update the productions often as to keep new titles available for viewers.
Broadway HD boasts a variety of genres, ranging from comedies and dramas to even an entire collection focused on Shakespeare. Featured videos include “Jekyll & Hyde” starring David Hasselhoff, “Putting It Together” featuring Carol Burnett, the Tony award winning “Memphis,” and “Romeo and Juliet” starring Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad.
One downfall of Broadway HD is that it does not contain many modern productions. Lane and Comley did this to avoid drawing audiences away from attending any currently running Broadway shows.
Lane and Comley do not want to prevent their consumers from attending live performances, but have hopes that Broadway HD will allow those who may not otherwise get to see such performances a chance to, as well as to provide an outlet for classics to be revived. The streaming service gives consumers the opportunity to watch Broadway productions at a low cost and in the comfort of their own home or even on the go.
Broadway HD can be viewed on any device that has access to internet streaming content, such as a computer, mobile device, tablet or TV.
There are multiple ways to purchase content on Broadway HD, including a one-year subscription for around $170, a monthly subscription for $15 or by renting a single production at a time, which is typically a two-day rental for about $8. There is also an ample amount of free content. However, this content is mostly behind the scenes cast interviews, not productions.
There remains skepticism for many Broadway stage producers who are unsure if this move to the digital streaming world is a good idea. However, Lane and Comley are convinced that eventually producers will see the importance of this and Broadway HD will become a natural part of the industry.
Editor’s Note: Information from Broadwayworld.com, Chicago Triibune, Playbill.com and Variety was used in this report.