After more than 100 years as a living force in the community, Pasadena Playhouse came face to face this year with its deadliest enemy, COVID-19. “We got hit hard, including having to furlough about 50% of our staff,” says Danny Feldman, producing artistic director.
When it became obvious the pandemic was going to have a long run, Feldman and the Playhouse staff began to explore options within the digital realm. “The question became, how do we go from here to there with this kind of business that relies on a live audience?” says Feldman. “We already had been looking into having a digital home as an extension of our live shows, and to allow people from Pasadena and outside of the city to connect with us.”
PlayhouseLive is the first-of-its-kind, nonprofit streaming platform to showcase theatrical productions to a national and international audience. “One of our core benefits of PlayhouseLive is that it’s a great way to keep us alive and in transition during the pandemic,” says Feldman. “It continues our mission to enrich our community.”
Distribution channels include a stand-alone website, iPhone and Android apps, Apple TV, Amazon’s Fire TV, Roku, Chromecast, and AirPlay, among others. The digital library offers members a variety of streaming choices from theatrical productions and new programming to educational classes and historical footage not seen in decades.
Pay-per-view theatrical streaming events include “Javon Johnson: Still.,” a timely one-man performance about the complexities of the Black experience; “Jerry Herman: You I Like,” a new musical revue dedicated to the works of the legendary Broadway composer and lyricist; new works from the Ojai Playwrights Conference; and family entertainment from Bob Baker Marionette Theater.
New series debuting on the Playhouse’s digital platform include:
“In Development,” an insider’s look at unproduced theatrical works with the first episode featuring Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman performing excerpts from “Iceboy!,” a new musical by Mark Gollman, Jay Reiss, and Erin Quinn Purcell.
“Intermission with Hashtag Booked” is hosted by comedic duo LaNisa Frederick and Danielle Pinnock who interview celebrities. Their first guest is acclaimed actor Alfred Molina.
Free to the public, “Page to Stage” offers a peek behind the curtain of a theatrical journey from conception to opening night, including the revival of last year’s “Little Shop of Horrors” featuring interviews with George Salazar, Mj Rodriguez, and Amber Riley.
Membership for PlayhouseLive is free through December 2020 with pay-per-view theatrical streaming events starting at $14.99. Pasadena Playhouse members receive full access to the content on PlayhouseLive throughout the 2020/21 season.
For more information, visit playhouselive.org.