A new YouTube Channel, The Shows Must Go On, was launched earlier this month by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment to provide “theater lovers with a West End and Broadway experience in their own homes, online for free.”
While there are plans to regularly upload clips of famous performances and behind-the-scenes footage, the current focus is on Andrew Lloyd Webber. The channel is offering several of his full-length shows, celebrating, as Webber himself puts it, “musicals going from stage to screen.”
A new production is available to stream every weekend at 2 p.m. ET on Friday and staying active for 48 hours, through Sunday, after which point they’re removed. In its first two weeks, the series offered Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Jesus Christ Superstar.
Next up is the big one: The Phantom of the Opera. The longest-running show in Broadway history, Webber’s musical adaptation of the century-old French novel by Gaston Leroux was captured on film in 2011 during a special three-night run at London’s Royal Albert Hall, where producer Cameron Mackintosh oversaw a lavish, fully staged production to mark the show’s 25th anniversary.
Ramin Karimloo takes on the title character, a mysterious, disfigured musical genius who lives beneath the Paris Opera house and is obsessed with the company’s rising soprano ingenue Christine Daaé, portrayed here by Sierra Boggess.
The filmed footage includes “very special guest appearances” by those in attendance, including Sir Andrew himself.
Upcoming shows in the series have not been officially announced, with Phantom only just revealed.
In the official announcement posted to the channel, Webber does tease that “buried in the schedule [is] the most important one, my disaster musical By Jeeves. I’m very, very fond of it.” If we were to hazard a guess, other titles likely to get air time include Love Never Dies, Cats, and Evita.
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Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @ruleonwriting.
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