A couple of my friends and I went to see the off-Broadway Harry Potter/Hufflepuffs tribute, Puffs, a couple of years ago and it is hilarious. I mentioned it the other day, saying we should really try to see it again, only to be told that the show has closed in NYC. ARGH.
That said, I just found out that there’s a Broadway show subscription service: BroadwayHD is a thing! BroadwayHD is a for-pay streaming service for live theatre, and from what I’ve seen so far, there are some really great shows on here. Including Puffs, The Sound of Music, The Wind in the Willows, and Peter Pan. In fact, there’s a back-to-school, family-friendly playlist available. Here’s a rundown of some of the performances.
- Wind in the Willows – Join Ratty, Badger, Mole and the impulsive Toad as they embark on a series of riotous adventures spiraling from Toad’s insatiable need for speed! Featuring eye-poppingly beautiful design, exuberant choreography and a gloriously British score, The Wind in the Willows recently brought comedy, heart and thrills to the world-famous London Palladium for a strictly limited summer season.
- The Sound of Music – In this exciting production of the universally beloved musical which made its broadcast debut in the UK on ITV, the enchanting Kara Tointon (Mr Selfridge, EastEnders) delivers a “mesmerizing performance and incredible vocal talents” (Daily Mail) as Maria, an apprentice nun who is tasked with caring for the children of a retired naval officer (Julian Ovenden, Downton Abbey). With Maria’s love for music and unwavering confidence, she brings a new zest for life back into the household. The performance is supported by Katherine Kelly (Mr Selfridge, Coronation Street) as Baroness Elsa Schraeder and Alexander Armstrong (The Armstrong and Miller Show, Danger Mouse) as Max Detweiler, and also features two songs not in the original movie but part of the stage show since 1959, “How Can Love Survive,” and “No Way to Stop It.” THE SOUND OF MUSIC LIVE also features showtune favorites like “The Sound of Music,” “Edelweiss,” “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” “My Favorite Things” and many others.
- The Woodsman – Based on the beloved writings of L. Frank Baum, The Woodsman, an imaginative retelling of the origins of Oz’s Tin Woodsman, is the story of the Tin Man, the woman he loved, and the witch that would stop at nothing to keep them apart. Through spectacular life-size puppetry and original music, the ensemble of Strangemen & Co. presents an inventive take on one of America’s original fairy tales.
- Railway Children – The Railway Children tells the story of Bobbie, Peter and Phyllis, three children whose lives change dramatically when their father is mysteriously taken away. They move from London to a cottage in rural Yorkshire with their mother, where they befriend the local railway porter, Perks, and embark on a magical journey of discovery, friendship and adventure. But the mystery remains – where is Father, and is he ever coming back?
- Puffs – For seven years a certain boy wizard went to a certain Wizard School and conquered evil. This, however, is not his story. This is the story of the Puffs… who just happened to be there too. A tale for anyone who has never been destined to save the world. The New York Times proclaims PUFFS, “A FAST-PACED ROMP through the ‘Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic.’
- Prince and the Pauper – From BBC and based on the Mark Twain classic, Prince and the Pauper is a classic trope. The show captures a classic trope of two individuals switching places. You’ll feel the chill in the castle air and smell the foetid London streets in this richly atmospheric tale of Tudor England. Mark Twain’s story of mistaken identities stars Keith Michell, who re-creates the role that made him famous (King Henry in the classic BBC series The Six Wives of Henry VIII). Street urchin Tom Canty could be Prince Edward’s identical twin brother. When they get mixed up, no-one will believe their stories.
- Peter Pan – A smash hit when it debuted in 1991, this production of Peter Pan starring Cathy Rigby toured the globe and continues to be beloved by theater goers. The show was filmed in 2000 and features spectacular flying sequences as well as the tunes that everyone loves such as “I’m Flying” and “I Won’t Grow Up.”
- Hetty Feather – A BroadwayHD original production debuting for the first time exclusively on BroadwayHD. From the best-selling author Jacqueline Wilson, the tale of plucky Hetty Feather is brought thrillingly to life on stage by award-winning scriptwriter Emma Reeves (CBBC’s The Story of Tracy Beaker) and by Olivier Award-nominated director Sally Cookson, whose many five star productions include Peter Pan, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, and Stick Man. With an original musical score by Benji Bower, circus skills and a huge heart, Hetty Feather is a terrific adventure story! Starring BAFTA-nominated actress Phoebe Thomas in the title role, this production of Hetty Feather was filmed from the 2015 Olivier nominated production on the West End in London.
- Cirque du Soleil: Toruk – The First Flight – Toruk – The First Flight is a live immersive multimedia spectacle that brings to the stage the breathtaking world of James Cameron’s Avatar like you have never seen it before. Through a riveting fusion of cutting edge visuals, puppetry and stagecraft buoyed by a soaring cinematic score, Cirque du Soleil applies its unique signature style to James Cameron’s imaginary world and “makes the bond” between two kindred artistic visions that capture the imagination. It is a living ode to the Na’vi’s symbiotic coexistence with nature and their belief in the basic interconnectedness of all living things. Narrated by a “Na’vi Storyteller” and populated by unforgettable characters, Toruk – The First Flight is a mythical tale set thousands of years before the events depicted in the film Avatar, and before any humans ever set foot on Pandora.
BroadwayHD introduces award-winning theater from all across the globe with both classic and modern productions. It’s a great way to introduce your family to live theater. In addition to the shows highlighted above, fans can expect to see the full works of Shakespeare, awe-inspiring performances from Cirque du Soleil and a selection of the world’s greatest musical including Kinky Boots, 42nd Street, The King and I, Sound of Music, An American in Paris, and Peter Pan. All performances are adapted specifically for streaming audiences to maximize the entertainment experience. To learn more, visit www.broadwayhd.com. There’s a 7-day free trial available; afterwards, it’s $8.99 a month, or $99.99 a year.