WARNING: This post may have been a bit disjointed, I am getting over a cold and am logged down from travel for weddings. There are lots of broadway references and personal tidbits.
I still remember the first time I saw a broadway show. It wasn’t on broadway, it was at the Majestic Theater in San Antonio. I was around 6, and had spent the better part of the previous year listening to Les Miserable (like every first grader/kindergarden I loved grand operatic tragedies of death and the French Revolution). My developing mind was blown. The music, the stage, the lights, the fact that I had imagined so much of the play totally wrong (again, I was still at the age where I got in trouble for leaving the picture book section in my library… but that is another story).
Where am I going with this?
Everyone should get to see a big broadway production. On broadway, off broadway, traveling troop etc. And I’m not saying there is anything wrong with your local theatre, high school or outdoor avant-garde production of Henry the V with a steampunk and alien twist. But there is something magical about seeing the ‘professionals’ on the great white way.
But not everyone can go to broadway. Not everyone can even see a professional traveling show. Maybe you are saving your pennies. Maybe your town is too small. Maybe you never realized how close a show was to you. Or maybe you are like me and were in the hospital with food poisoning the day you had tickets to Young Frankenstein. This is where the library can step in and give you a little taste of Broadway.
Today more and more productions are being filmed and put on DVD. I don’t just mean adaptations like the classic Sweet Charity or the upcoming version of The Last Five Years. I mean where they film the actual show on the actual stage, with the audience and all the power of a live stage adaption. MTV put Legally Blonde on the small screen, and I have to say I was grateful. I knew I had little chance of ever getting to broadway to see it. I found a DVD copy of Into the Woods with the original Bernadette Peters and cast. And since the revival had long since been over it was my only chance to see it in all it’s broadway glory. It’s this amazing chance to see shows that may never travel, or that came long before us.
Libraries are a place where you can discover new things, that doesn’t just mean books, but video and audio. There is no reason you can’t seek out and find new shows at your local library. If your library doesn’t have a collection of broadway show on DVD try their CD collections. Or ask them about getting DVDs from another branch, or add it to their suggestion list.
If you work at a library, remember to add great shows to your collection. You could even do a screening, or a display including DVDs, books, CDs, sheet music etc etc. Think of some of the adaptions on the stage now. Think about what you could do with Annie. They have the movie adaption, a version of the stage show, sound tracks, multiple made for DVD spin offs, and books. You could also add in books about the era it’s based on. Maybe have a theme night where kids show off their dog to be the best “Sandy” or see who is the best Annie.
If you are looking for a good list of broadway shows on DVD here are a few places
Playbill has a great selection of plays, musicals and operas. Some of them are adaptations and some are straight up shows. They recently released SHREK the musical on DVD. It’s super fun, and if you saw it on tour you should still check it out. There are different numbers in the tour and the broadway show.
A list from amazon.com. I know a lot of places order their stuff from there for their personal and professional collections. There is some overlap with the playbill selection. I highly suggest Into the Woods. See it before the new adaptation comes out. Meryl Streep is amazing but Bernadette Peters will always be my favorite witch.
Libraries are homes to knowledge. It is also a place where the arts can flourish. We may SHH you in the library, but check out out stuff I encourage you to sing out loud at home.