Wednesday, January 8, 2014

SO I DISCOVERED THAT 'SHREK THE MUSICAL' IS NOW STREAMING ON NETFLIX:  And, again, I want to know why every Broadway production isn't at some point filmed with its original cast for subsequent streaming/VOD/DVD release, at a later point when self-cannibalization of potential Broadway (and touring) revenue isn't an issue.  Yes, you may have to forfeit some box office for the filming, and there are contractual issues to work out in terms of royalties sharing, but there's such a market for being able to see Patti LuPone's Gypsy, the Hugh Jackman Oklahoma (which is available on DVD and occasional PBS) and The Boy from Oz (which isn't), the original Wicked  production (after the film adaptation, of course), etc., that they ought to find a way to work this out.


  1. Eric J.12:10 PM

    For that matter, every show these days should, during rehearsals, spend a day in a studio recording 2-3 songs that can be played on Sirius-XM's On Broadway station, and put up on YouTube.

  2. Mel Umbarger12:26 PM

    The videos are available for older shows, but you can't remove them from the NY Public Library, and you have to make an appointment to view them. (Not even Deniro could check them out.

    I would love for them to work out a deal to stream/put in movie theaters some of those old recordings!

  3. A big part of the problem is that to do pro grade video recordings, you either have to cancel a performance and do one to an empty house or give up some pretty premium grade seats for the appropriate equipment to be there (and maybe even both). You also have issues with that SAG/AFTRA (who would govern a video recorded performance) and Actor's Equity are separate contracts and you'd have to govern separately (and direction/writing contracts are separate balls of wax as well). There's money to be made, but it's unclear (a) how it would be divided up and (b) whether the money would ultimately cover the costs to be recovered. There's also audience rights issues--does everyone who enters need to sign a waiver?

    That said, you can make it work--for instance, the Billy Crystal one man show extended to an extra weekend a few weeks ago with limited seating so that it could be taped for HBO. That's a fairly easy one because most of the rights and issues vested with Crystal.

  4. At my Off-Broadway theater, anytime we produce a new musical, we try to (almost immediately, if possible) produce a CD soundtrack recording. It encourages future productions by allowing other theaters to hear a professional recording rather than just a few demo tracks. But video is much more expensive to get right - a cheap recording makes even an excellent theater production look awful - so along with the Equity issues, it's not really an option. However, all of our shows are filmed for the Lincoln Center Performing Arts Library, it's just that, as Mel said, those recordings are not readily available to the public.

  5. The original production of Spider Man: Turn Off The Dark would be something I'd Netflix. I mean, before they fixed it.

  6. Saray2:09 PM

    I've done it. You have to have a "legitimate research purpose." I can't tell you how many "law review articles" I've been writing about the copyrightability of stage directions...

  7. Chrissy11:34 PM

    They have the right idea in London - you can make an appointment to watch (on your own screen whilst wearing headsets) every show the National Theatre has done since 1995 or so (although until 2005 they just set up a video camera in the back so the picture looked like something your dad might have captured of you in a school play).
    Also, the Victoria & Albert archives (which is a short distance from the V&A museum itself) has a very big selection of recordings of past West End Shows going back about 20 years that you can view by appointment. Here's that list of available titles - they are usually recorded using three cameras...not quite to broadcast standard but great for those of us who regret missing the original production.