Broadway Hot Damn!

I am in love with the BroadwayHD channel on Amazon Prime Video. I'm convinced that HD stands for Hot Damn!

When we were working on Yeast Nation, last summer, Greg Kotis told me that he and Mark Hollmann had based their story loosely on both Macbeth and Antigone. So I watched both plays on video, and it helped me a lot with Yeast Nation.

And then I wanted to see the rest of the Oedipus trilogy, which includes Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone. One way to see them was to subscribe to the BroadwayHD channel. So I did, and I felt like Dorothy walking out of her sepia-toned house into the Technicolor of Oz. Suddenly, I had tons of theatre available to me, from the earliest plays that exist, up to the latest Broadway offerings.

If you've never seen it, I can't recommend these three plays enough. I set out to watch them more out of historical curiosity, but I fell in love with all three plays. Anybody who loves great theatre should watch all three, but make sure it's the 1986 BBC versions, translated and directed by Don Taylor, starring Michael Pennington as Oedipus, Claire Bloom as Jocasta, John Gielgud as Tiresias, and Juliet Stevenson as Antigone. Talk about powerful, compelling theatre!

Then, after watching the trilogy, watch The Gospel at Colonus, which is also on BroadwayHD, with Morgan Freeman. The Gospel at Colonus takes the story of Oedipus at Colonus and tells it in the form of a Baptist church service. It's brilliant.

I planned to subscribe only temporarily, but I'm hooked. I've already watched a bunch of my bucket list plays, like Hedda Gabler, A Doll's House, School for Scandal, "Tis Pity She's a Whore, Buried Child, Present Laughter, and others. And I have dozens still to go. There's a ton of Shakespeare (I can finally see King John!), but there's also so much more... Here's just a partial list...

Paula Vogel's Indecent
Noel Coward's Present Laughter
Rhinoceros (with Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel!)
Ah, Wilderness!
Long Day's Journey into Night
Man Who Came to Dinner
Buried Child
A Touch of the Poet
Three Sisters
Hedda Gabler
"Tis Pity She's a Whore
School for Scandal
The Misanthrope
The Iceman Cometh
The Norman Conquests

And there are a lot of musicals, as well...

American in Paris
Holiday Inn
Billy Eilliot
She Loves Me
From Here to Eternity
Sweeney Todd
Gypsy (Bette Midler AND Imelda Staunton)
Toxic Avenger
Jerry Springer the Opera
Kiss Me, Kate
JC Superstar
Jekyll & Hyde
Wind in the Willows
Sophisticated Ladies

I used to laugh at myself, because I have Charter on Demand, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and a huge DVD collection, and yet sometimes I just cannot find something I want to watch.  But that never happens anymore because now there are always a few dozen plays and musicals waiting for me...

And really, what could be better than that?

Long Live the Musical!


Unknown | December 21, 2020 at 9:59 AM

I found this blog while I was googling for some old BroadwayHD shows. I started watching the site with the Imelda Staunton Gypsy. Like you, I'm trying to see as many of their older shows as possible. Although they've removed a lot of them, some are available on DVD, VHS, youtube and other streaming sites. Thanks for your partial list. I didn't know about Barnum which is on youtube. I'm guessing that it's the 1986 show with Michael Crawford at the Victoria Palace. Please let me know if I'm right.

If possible, I'd like to see your full list. I'd be happy to share mine with you.

Please reply to Thank you.

Ron Fradkin