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With Live Performances At Theaters Dark Due To Pandemic Restrictions, More Are Headed Online

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Since COVID shut down shows and large gatherings, everything from Broadway to regional theaters and even school plays have been impacted.

Since shows can't be in person, many are now bringing their performances online.

As CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis reports, it's been nearly a year since the curtain dropped on stages citywide from Broadway and beyond, thanks to the coronavirus.

"Obviously if you're a live theater company and theaters are forced to shut down, you're gonna suffer," said Alyssa Van Gorder, the managing director of Queens-based Titan Theatre Company.

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Titan Theatre Company held fast to the slogan "the show must go on." Maybe not in their usual settings, but somewhere pandemic-safe: The digital space.

"We now have an audience that has become nationwide. We have people emailing us saying, 'When you open, let us know, because when we can come back to New York to see shows, we want to see your shows," said Lenny Banovez, Titan Theatre Company's artistic director.

Banovez credits "Broadway On Demand" for that reach. It's a streaming platform dedicated to theater with programming from Broadway shows to regional performances, and even school plays.

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"We can watch football, we can watch baseball and you don't have to be there. Why can't you watch theater and not be there, right?" said Broadway On Demand CEO Sean Cercone.

Cercone says some content on the platform is free. Some comes with a cost - just like seeing a show.

"Whether you buy a ticket in person or you buy a ticket on the platform, there's revenue that's directly supporting all the artists that are involved," Cercone said.

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It also has educational content, which Trevor Day School Performing Arts Chair Janie Slavens says helps students stuck in hybrid learning.

"We're able to watch things on Broadway Access Classroom, like a conversation with a Broadway lighting designer to show us what it looks like," Slavens said.

Broadway On Demand explores the world beyond the stag with "master classes," learning from the pros like Broadway actor and choreographer Jon Rua, known widely for performing in Hamilton, sometimes in the starring role.

"I'm doing it in hopes that it becomes an outlet and a platform for Broadway artists to do the plethora of work they do, not just the live theater shows," Rua said.

All those DeAngelis spoke to say while there's nothing quite like an in-person performance, even after the long-awaited return to the stage here, they'll stay in the digital space, too, to continue reaching that larger audience.

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