Musical comedies have been around since the late-19th century to lift our spirits and take our cares away. True to form, many Broadway performers have taken to Instagram and YouTube to make the most of COVID-19 self-isolation in the best way they know how: putting on a show!
Quick disclaimer: the author of this post (me) holds a BFA in musical theatre from the University of Michigan and performed in musicals from the ages of 14 to 23(ish). Therefore, some personal anecdotes may be included below, because … we’re in self-isolation, and the rules have changed.
Todd Buonopane’s “Bathtub Theatre”
What’s better than a Broadway actor — who also happens to be my college roommate — in a “SHIPOOPI!” t-shirt singing “Annie” from a bathtub? If you don’t know Todd Buonopane (that means “good bread” in Italian, as he’ll happily tell you) from the Broadway productions of “Chicago,” “Cinderella,” “Grease” and “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” you may recognize him from one of his TV roles, including his recurring spot as Jeffrey Wienerslav on “30 Rock.”
So far, Todd has performed cleaned-up — and even sanitized — versions of scenes from “Gypsy,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” “Chicago” and “Annie.” If you listen closely to “Bathtub Theatre,” you might recognize Jennifer Cody calling in to play Todd’s scene partner!
Kirsten Wyatt’s “Musicals from Home” and “Broadway Nosh”
I first met Kirsten when she was a student at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, a (shall we say) rival musical theatre training program to Michigan’s program. I was immediately charmed by her talents and sparkling personality, and have loved watching her go on to take the Broadway stage in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” “Urinetown,” “High Fidelity” and many other hit shows.
A post on Kirsten’s Instagram account begins: “Let’s put on a show! From our living rooms! With the rights! Get ready for SHERLOCK HOLMES & THE WEST END HORROR! Duh duh duuuuuhhhhh!” Writing partners Marcia Milgrom Dodge and Tony Dodge have granted Kirsten permission to stage their play. “It’s full of comedy, camp, murder, intrigue and G&S music,” Kirsten continues.
Fans are asked to pick a character from the play and submit a video of the performance. Kirsten and Ben Liebert will then edit the submissions into a full performance of the show. The project is aptly named “Musicals from Home,” and you can learn more about it here.
But there’s even more from Kirsten Wyatt. Between Broadway shows — and even during them — the prolific performer hosts an online cooking show called “Broadway Nosh.” For this special time, it’s “Broadway Nosh: Socially Distant.” The adorable theme song alone is worth the visit to Instagram.
Seth Rudetsky’s “Stars in the House”
In an effort to raise money for the Actors Fund, SiriusXM Broadway host Seth Rudetsky and producer James Wesley have mounted a daily show, “Stars in the House.” It really is a star-filled series, with Judy Kuhn, Kelli O’Hara, Lindsay Mendez, Jessie Mueller and many others. And the stars are actually in their house! Check it out.
Alyah Chanelle Scott singing Des’ree’s “You Gotta Be”
While she has yet to appear on Broadway, Alyah Chanelle Scott is self-isolating on a break from the Broadway tour of “Book of Mormon.” Her cover of the Des’ree’s classic “You Gotta Be” will lighten up your Instagram feed.
Jim Hogan, Liam Fennecken and Brendan Jacob Smith singing the Beach Boy’s “Our Prayer”
With his quintessential soaring Broadway tenor voice, Jim Hogan has filled up my feed with performances of songs I always wished I had the range to sing. In a recent post, Hogan, Liam Fennecken and Brendan Jacob Smith ”put this Beach Boys classic together from the comfort of” their homes. While you’re there, check out the trio’s renditions of “Go the Distance” from Disney’s “Hercules” and “Words Fail” from “Dear Evan Hansen.”
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@liamfennecken @brendanjacobsmith @brianwilsonlive We’re trying a new approach this week! In light of Social Distancing, we put this #BeachBoys classic together from the comfort of our own homes. We can’t wait to get back to the stairwell, but we know we need to stay safe and smart during this time! We hope you enjoy our new method! #tiktoktenors #thebeachboys #ourprayer #singing #cover #trio #acapella #brianwilson #music
David Garry’s “Corona Lockdown 2020”: Presentation of selections from “Les Misérables” for brass quintet
David Garry — who, years ago, borrowed my accordion file of sheet music for one of his first Broadway auditions — is a singer, actor and player of numerous instruments who’s appeared on Broadway in “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Carousel,” “The Last Ship,” “Company” and “A Bronx Tale the Musical.” If you’re a lover of musical theater, it’s easy to get lost in Dave’s Instagram feed. If you’re also a fan of hearing multiple brass instruments played by a single person, then today’s your lucky day!