From stage to screen, some of theater’s most iconic musicals will be streaming online for free.
In a short video announcement, musical theater legend Andrew Lloyd Webber revealed that he is partnering with Universal to make filmed versions of his productions available on the new YouTube channel “The Shows Must Go On.”
The series kicks off April 3 at 2 p.m. EDT with the West End adaptation of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” starring Donny Osmond, Maria Friedman, Richard Attenborough and Joan Collins. Next up is the 2012 taping of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” which is set to stream the following week on April 10.
As for what else to expect? Webber stated in his brief video: “Sometime buried in the schedule, later on, the most important one, my disaster musical ‘By Jeeves,’ and I’m very, very fond of it.”
More selections — in addition to select bonus material — will be announced as the series progresses. After each premiere, viewers will have a 48-hour time window to watch the weekly selection. There is no sign-up required to stream.
While in self-isolation, Webber has been particularly active on Twitter, where the theater maestro recently engaged in a musical duel with Lin-Manuel Miranda. In a tweet, Miranda praised the self-isolation concerts Webber has been sharing on his page, calling them “gifts.” The note drew the attention of the composer who responded by asking if the “Hamilton” creator might be interested in a piano playoff. Accepting the challenge, Miranda played a rendition of “Everything’s Alright” from “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
Here’s “Everything’s Alright” from Jesus Christ Superstar.
Your move, @OfficialALW,
aka A-L Dubs.
(And of course, imagine a red bucket on this piano labeled https://t.co/d5YxoarPgB) https://t.co/ijOty38ymF pic.twitter.com/MTyCPMvqI2
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) March 20, 2020
Since then, others have joined in on the fun. On Tuesday, London’s “Phantom of the Opera” orchestra responded to a video that showed Webber playing “All I Ask of You” with a tribute of their own. Using his video as a base, the musicians recorded their individual parts and combined the results to form an immersive experience from the safety of their homes.
Amid closures on Broadway and London’s West End earlier this month, Webber pushed back the open date of his new production “Cinderella,” citing “current global circumstances.” Originally slated for September, the West End musical — starring Carrie Hope Fletcher in the title role — will enter previews at London’s Gillian Lynne Theatre Oct. 9.