Staying at home isn’t fun but it’s an important step we can all take to help. Since we are unable to share live theatre with you at the moment we have started this collection of interesting readings, filmed stage productions, online resources and more to help keep you entertained and engaged during this time.
Love's Labour's Lost
Starting today, May 28, at 7:00pm Stratford Festival is going to be presenting “Love’s Labour’s Lost” for free on youtube. Theatre Aquarius fans will probobly recognize Mike Shara in the role of ‘Berowne’ (and in the thumbnail) from past productions including Agatha Christie’s “Spider’s Web”, “A Few Good Men”, “Boeing, Boeing” and many more!
You can tune in at 6:30pm for a live pre-show followed by the production begining at 7pm. The show will be available until June 18.
Singing for the Rafters
Are you feeling those mid-week blues? How about some of the best of Broadway to snap you out of it. We’ve got a couple of awesome playlists featuring the very best Broadway songs to give your day a little dramatic flair. Check out the links below for “Broadway Essentials” on Apple Music and “Best of Broadway” on Spotify. Happy Listening!
The Sound of Music
The Shows Must Go On! has been bringing us classic Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals for weeks now and I guess it was time to switch things up a little bit. Tomorrow, Friday May 22, get ready to enjoy the beloved Rodgers & Hammerstein classic “The Sound of Music”. This show will be available starting at 2pm Eastern and will be streamed for free on youtube for 48hrs.
Grammy Award-winning music superstar Carrie Underwood stars in “The Sound of Music Live!” The three-hour telecast of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical classic also features TV and stage star Stephen Moyer as well as Tony Award winners Audra McDonald, Christian Borle and Laura Benanti.
Broadway's Best Shows
This is a great new website dedicated to all things Broadway. Since the Covid-19 shutdown this website has begun collecting outstanding interviews, long form journalism, and artistic performances straight from Broadway.
In addition to the articles and interviews every Thursday at 8pm eastern they offer a one-night-only livestream of a play reading featuring some of Broadway’s best talent. This week, May 21st, they are featuring:
by A. R. Gurney
Starring: Bryan Cranston and Sally Field
Directed by Jerry Zaks.
For more details and to check out the livestream visit the link below.
Macbeth - Stratford Festival on Film
There’s only a few days remaining to watch Stratfrod’s festival outstanding production of Macbeth.
This chilling production of Macbeth takes you back to the stark reality of the 11th century, when the murderous king clawed his way to power. It’s a love story soaked in blood – one in which a couple destroy themselves, each for the sake of the other. Leaving people “gasping in the dark,” this “brilliant, terrifying show” will leave you tingling.
Watch for free on YouTube until May 28.
CATS The Musical
You’re invited to the Jellicle Ball today, May 15 at 2pm.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s CATS, the most famous musical of all time, first exploded onto the West End stage in 1981. ‘Memory’, one of its many classic songs, became an instant worldwide hit. Since then CATS has smashed records and conquered the world. Using the latest technology, all the excitement, thrill, romance and intimacy of this theatrical legend has been captured on screen. Breathtaking visuals and full digital sound (that has been completely re-recorded with a seventy piece orchestra) will leave you deep into the mysterious world of CATS as you’ve never seen it before — more intoxicating and magical than you could possibly imagine. With a star cast including Elaine Paige and Sir John Mills.
This show will be available to stream on Youtube for 48hrs. this weekend. Enjoy!
Shakespeare's The Tempest
Stratford Festival continues to offer a great selection of streaming content. Beginning today, May 14 at 7pm eastern, “The Tempest” will be streamed for free on YouTube!
In Shakespeare’s great drama of loss and reconciliation, a long-deposed ruler uses magical arts to bring within her power the enemies who robbed her of her throne and marooned her on a remote island. But what revenge does she mean to take?
Tune in live at 6:30pm for an exclusive preshow, followed by the full performance at 7pm. This play will be available on YouTube until June 4, 2020
The Shows Must Go On!
Another Friday is here which means it’s time to venture into the Andrew Lloyd Webber catalogue for another instalment of the Shows Must Go On series. This week we are treated to Alan Ayckbourn and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical comedy extravaganza, By Jeeves! Inspired by the works of P. G. Wodehouse.
This video will be available for free to stream on YouTube starting today, May 8 at 2pm eastern, for 48 hrs. Check it out at the link below.
For those who might not know, Factory theatre is a fiercely Canadian theatre company in Toronto. Factory’s mission is to enthral audiences with the imagination of Canadian playwrights and develop the next generation of intercultural theatre artists. Since its founding in 1970, Factory has committed to exclusively produce Canadian plays.
Tune in tomorrow, May 7 at 7pm eastern, for a special “virtual opening night” of Daniel MacIvor’s HOUSE. Slated to be the final show of Factory’s 50th Anniversary Season, directed by Nina Lee Aquino and starring Kevin Hanchard in the role of Victor.
This presentation will be held over Zoom and is free to anyone registered to attend! Approx. running time is 1hr, 5mins followed by a 15min Q&A. For more details and to register for this show head over to their Facebook page at the link below.
Hamilton Artists Relief Fund
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hamilton Arts Council (HAC) presents the Hamilton Artist Relief Fund and Online Performance Series.
The Hamilton Artist Relief Fund is focused on raising and distributing emergency relief funds for artists struggling during this difficult time and providing a curated online platform for local artists to present and perform to a virtual audience. 100% of the donations collected for the Relief Fund will be distributed directly to artists in need.
Video performances will air most days Tuesday-Friday in the afternoon through Facebook Live. Visit the website for updates on scheduling and how you can participate!
May The Verse Be With You!
May the 4th be with you! Happy Star Wars day to all! Have you read Ian Doescher’s Shakespearian re-imagining of Star Wars?
Return once more to a galaxy far, far away with this sublime retelling of George Lucas’s epic Star Wars in the style of the immortal Bard of Avon. The saga of a wise (Jedi) knight and an evil (Sith) lord, of a beautiful princess held captive and a young hero coming of age, Star Wars abounds with all the valor and villainy of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. ‘Tis a tale told by fretful Droids, full of faithful Wookiees and fearsome Stormtroopers, signifying… pretty much everything.
Reimagined in glorious iambic pentameter, William Shakespeare’s Star Wars will astound and edify Rebels and Imperials alike. Zounds! This is the book you’re looking for.
You can find these books and e-book/audiobooks wherever you like to buy books from but if you head over to the Hamilton Public Library website you can find these titles available to borrow.
A Musical Tribute to Andrew Lloyd Webber
The Shows Must Go On continues to celebrate the work of Andrew Lloyd Webber. This week, instead of a regular musical we have a musical tribute to Webber! Filmed at the Royal Albert Hall in London England, this tribute show features hits from some of his most renowned productions, such as Starlight Express, Evita, Cats, Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, and more.
This show premiers on YouTube today, May 1 at 2pm eastern. It will be available to stream for free for 48hrs.
National Theatre at Home: Frankenstein
Filmed live in 2011 from the stage of the National Theatre in London, this thrilling, sold-out production became an international sensation, experienced by more than 800,000 people in cinemas around the world.
Directed by Danny Boyle, this production of Frankenstein sees Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller alternating between the roles of Victor Frankenstein and his creation.
Childlike in his innocence but grotesque in form, Frankenstein’s bewildered creature is cast out into a hostile universe by his horror-struck maker. Meeting with cruelty wherever he goes, the increasingly desperate and vengeful Creature determines to track down his creator and strike a terrifying deal.
Today, April 30, starting at 2pm Eastern you can watch the play with Benedict Cumberbatch in the role of the creation and Jonny Lee Miller as Victor Frankenstein. Then beginning tomorrow, May 1, at 2pm Eastern you can watch the same production with the roles reversed. This is a fascinating and unique presentation of the dynamic between the actors and the roles and well worth a repeat viewing.
Learn more about the dual casting of this show on the National Theatre Website
This filmed performance is recommended for ages 12 and up.
We know it’s not Sunday today but this series just started and we wanted to highlight some more local theatre happenings.
Rook’s theatre was founded in Hamilton in 2017 with a focus on developing the professional independent theatre movement in Hamilton. They engage with the community by bringing work to non-traditional theatre spaces, creating an accessible theatre experience for a modern Hamilton audience.
Sunday Sit-Down, hosted on Facebook, is an ongoing series where we catch up with a local theatre artist as they quarantine at home. The first episode aired this past Sunday with Rick Roberts—check it out below.
Stratford Festival @ Home
The Stratford Festival have collected a selection of their favourite Shakespeare films and are making them available for free to watch at home. The first offering is “King Lear” staring Colm Feore in the title role.
An aging monarch resolves to divide his kingdom among his three daughters, with consequences he little expects. His reason shattered in the storm of violent emotion that ensues, with his very life hanging in the balance, Lear loses everything that has defined him as a king – and thereby discovers the essence of his own humanity.
Love Never Dies
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sequel to ‘The Phantom of the Opera’. Set 10 years later, the Phantom has escaped from Paris to New York where he lives amongst the joy rides and freak shows of Coney Island. He has finally found a place for his music to soar, all that is missing is his love Christine Daaé. In a bid to win back her love, the Phantom lures Christine, her husband Raoul, and their young son Gustave from Manhattan, to the glittering and glorious world of Coney Island… they have no idea what lies in store for them… You truly haven’t experienced Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies until you see this spectacular new Australian production, filmed at Melbourne’s iconic Regent Theatre.
This show premieres Friday April 24 at 2pm Eastern and will only be available for 48 hrs.
TRADITION! The Highly Improbable, Ultimately Triumphant Broadway-to-Hollywood Story of Fiddler on the Roof, the World's Most Beloved Musical
Since it first opened on Broadway in September, 1964, Fiddler on the Roof has constantly been onstage somewhere, including four Broadway revivals, four productions on London’s West End and thousands of schools, army bases and countries from Argentina to Japan. Barbara Isenberg interviewed the men and women behind the original production, the film and significant revivals. Published in celebration of Fiddler’s 50th anniversary, Tradition! by Barbara Isenberg, is the book for everyone who loves Fiddler and can sing along with the original cast album.
The Season: A Candid Look at Broadway
The Season: A Candid Look at Broadway is an account of the 1967–68 season on and off Broadway by American novelist and screenwriter William Goldman. It was originally published in 1969 and is considered one of the best books ever written on American theater. In The New York Times, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt called the book “Very nearly perfect. … It is a loose-limbed, gossipy, insider, savvy, nuts-and-bolts report on the annual search for the winning numbers that is now big-time American commercial theatre.”
The Secret Life of the American Musical
In The Secret Life of the American Musical, Jack Viertel takes them apart, puts them back together, sings their praises, marvels at their unflagging inventiveness, and occasionally despairs over their more embarrassing shortcomings. In the process, he invites us to fall in love all over again by showing us how musicals happen, what makes them work, how they captivate audiences, and how one landmark show leads to the next—by design or by accident, by emulation or by rebellion—from Oklahoma! to Hamilton and onward.
Moss Hart’s Act One is one of the great American memoirs, a glorious memorial to a bygone age filled with all the wonder, drama, and heartbreak that surrounded Broadway in the early twentieth century. Hart’s story inspired a generation of theatergoers, dramatists, and readers everywhere as he eloquently chronicled his impoverished childhood and his long, determined struggle to reach the opening night of his first Broadway hit.
You can find this book on Amazon, Indigo, or anywhere else you shop for books but we recomend that you check out Hamilton Public Library where you can download the E-book version for free with a library card.
The Phantom of The Opera
From Phantom of The Opera at the Royal Albert Hall (2011): In celebration of the 25th Anniversary of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, Cameron Mackintosh produced a unique, spectacular staging of the musical on a scale which had never been seen before. Inspired by the original staging by Hal Prince and Gillian Lynne, this lavish, fully-staged production set in the sumptuous Victorian splendour of London’s legendary Royal Albert Hall features a cast and orchestra of over 200, plus some very special guest appearances.
This show premieres Friday April 17 at 2pm Eastern and will only be available for 48 hrs.
If you’ve ever wondered how a show goes “from the page to the stage” than this is the podcast for you! Broadway Backstory is a documentary style podcast from TodayTix and Theater People that explores the stories behind our favorite shows and how they develop from an idea to a full Broadway production. We get the behind the scenes story directly from the people who lived it – the conceivers, actors, directors, and producers.
The newest season features episodes about hit shows like “Kinky Boots”, “Come From Away”, “Hamilton” and so much more.
Find it everywhere you look for Podcasts or visit the link below.
36 Questions Podcast
Next up for our Podcast recomendations we have 36 Questions.
In a last-ditch attempt to salvage their crumbling marriage, a couple uses the 36 questions—an experiment known for making strangers fall in love—to save their own relationship. Starring Tony-nominated actor Jonathan Groff and Jessie Shelton, “36 Questions” is the world’s first podcast musical—made for your ears only.
“THE FUTURE OF MUSICALS? IT’S A PODCAST CALLED ‘36 QUESTIONS.’” – New York Times
“MOVE OVER HAMILTON — IT’S TIME FOR 36 QUESTIONS, THE FIRST EVER MUSICAL PODCAST.” – The Guardian
“MEET YOUR NEW PODCAST OBSESSION: A BROADWAY MUSICAL MADE JUST FOR YOUR EARBUDS” – Marie Claire
Find it everywhere you look for Podcasts or visit the link below.
Play Me Podcast
We’ve been sharing a lot of videos lately so it felt like time for a little change. Today’s Stay-At-Home share is a brilliant podcast from the CBC. PlayME from CBC Podcasts celebrates the best of Canadian Theatre on a national and international scale. The project helps raise the profile of Canadian playwrights by highlighting Canada’s best, award-winning theatre shows through a series of podcasts, making it accessible to audiences worldwide. PlayME from CBC Podcasts is transforming the way we experience Canadian theatre, by taking a bold and innovative approach to disseminating plays. The podcast features distinguished actors, and focuses on current and relevant scripts geared to the growing “on-demand” audience.
Each play will be recorded in three episodes, followed by another episode that features an interview with the respective playwright. All four episodes for each work will be released at once. Find it everywhere you look for Podcasts or visit the link below.
Newsies two ways!
Disney+ has lots of great streaming options for the whole family but we wanted to highlight NEWSIES. You can watch the movie version from 1992 starring a young Christian Bale or a filmed performance of the Broadway Musical captured at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood from 2017. Whether you choose movie or broadway version, you’re in for a good time. The broadway adapatation was nominated for eight Tony Awards, winning two including Best Original Score. So let us seize the day and enjoy this cult favourite.
Jesus Christ Superstar
Andrew Lloyd Webber is back with the next installment of “The Shows Must Go On”. Every Friday at 2pm eastern a new musical from Webber is coming to YouTube to stream for free for 48hrs. This week we get to enjoy Jesus Christ Superstar.
Director Laurence Connor presents this contemporary re-imagining of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s legendary rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar. The world renowned phenomenon portrays the story of the last seven days of Christ leading up to his crucifixion as seen through the eyes of Judas Iscariot. Filmed as an arena rock opera, the performance features a star-studded line-up which includes award-winning musical comedian, Tim Minchin as the role of Judas Iscariot; pop icon and former Spice Girl Melanie C as Mary Magdalene; radio DJ Chris Moyles in his stage debut as King Herod; and Ben Forster, to take on the title role of Jesus. This award-winning creative team is sure to captivate audiences and transform the hugely popular stage production into a unique, modern, state-of-the-art spectacular.
Watch the beautiful and dynamic theatre production of Jane Eyre, a collaboration with Bristol Old Vic, filmed by National Theatre Live at London’s National Theatre. The classic story of the trailblazing Jane is as inspiring as ever. It uncovers one woman’s fight for freedom and fulfilment on her own terms. Our spirited heroine faces life’s obstacles head-on, surviving poverty, injustice and the discovery of bitter betrayal before taking the ultimate decision to follow her heart. A National Theatre co-production with Bristol Old Vic, based on the classic novel by Charlotte Brontë, directed by Sally Cookson and devised by the original company.
This show begins streaming today, April 9, at 2pm Eastern and will be available until April 16. There is some strong language and the play is recomended for ages 12 and up.
Springsteen on Broadway
This intimate show became an instant sensation when it premiered in 2017 at the Walter Kerr Theatre in New York City. A combination of storytelling and songs, the show is just Springsteen alone on the stage with an acoustic guitar and a piano. The New York Times said “as portraits of artists go, there may never have been anything as real – and beautiful – on Broadway”. Springsteen received a special Tony Award for this show.
Musical Fun For The Whole Family!
Today’s Netflix pick is perfect for the whole family. This 1982 film adaptation of the Broadway Musical Annie stars Albert Finney and Carol Burnett and is full of familiar songs and wholesome fun. The stage version has been produced countless times and has received Tony awards for Best Musical, Best Book, and Best Original Score.
We could all use a little bit of laughter these days and Oh, Hello on Broadway is up for the task. Partially scripted, partially spontaneous comedy this unique Broadway production was captured in 2017 and is now available for you to enjoy on Netflix. The show follows Nick Kroll and John Mulaney’s popular alter egos Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland as they recount their strange lives and their “memoir of the stage”.
Andrew Lloyd Webber comes to YouTube
Andrew Lloyd Webber will be streaming his musicals for free online! A new YouTube Channel called “The Shows Must Go On” has been launched and will be presenting the best musicals from Andrew Lloyd Webber. A new show will be released once a week on Fridays and is available for free to stream on YouTube for 48hrs.
The series begins today, April 3, 2020, at 2pm eastern with the 2000 adaptation of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat starring Donny Osmond, Maria Friedman, Richard Attenborough and Joan Collins.
One Man, Two Guvnors
The National Theatre in London is presenting One Man, Two Guvnors for free on YouTube. The show begins today, April 2, 2020 at 2pm Eastern but will be available online for 7 days. This is an awesome opportunity to see some fantastic live theatre.
Fired from his skiffle band, Francis Henshall (James Corden) becomes minder to Roscoe Crabbe, a small time East End hood, now in Brighton to collect £6,000 from his fiancée’s dad. But Roscoe is really his sister Rachel posing as her own dead brother, who’s been killed by her boyfriend Stanley Stubbers.
This play contains some strong language and is recomended for viewers ages 12+
A Sonnet A Day
The one and only, Sir Patrick Stewart, has taken to Twitter to share his love of the Bard. Head over to his twitter account or follow the hashtag #SonnetADay to be treated to a daily reading of one of Shakespeare’s sonnets.
Broadway Theatre (paid)
Broadway HD is a streaming service offering a wide variety of plays and musicals from around the world. While the service costs $8.99 (USD) a month, you are able to sign up for a free week long trial. We’ve made a few selections to get you started but the Broadway HD catalogue is quite extensive.
She Loves Me
An intimate and touching show, featuring music by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof) and book by Joe Masteroff (Cabaret). Considered by many to be the most charming musical ever written, She Loves Me is a warm romantic comedy with an endearing innocence and a touch of old world elegance.
Roundabout’s luscious 2016 broadway revival of this romantic comedy is not to be missed. Starring Zachary Levi, Laura Benanti, Jane Krakowski and Gavin Creel, this production will leave you laughing and smiling.
The hottest ticket at Stratford in 2016 was Antoni Cimolino’s haunting production of MacBeth. Featuring a cast of faces familiar to Aquarius audiences this production is great way to see top Canadian talent from the comfort of your own home.
Featuring Theatre Aquarius alumni: Ian Lake, Michael Blake, EB Smith, Trish Lindstrom
For seven years a certain boy wizard went to a certain Wizard School and conquered evil. This, however, is not his story. This is the story of the Puffs… who just happened to be there too. A tale for anyone who has never been destined to save the world.
Harry Potter fans are in luck. Normally parody productions are cheaply done, both financially and artistically, but this production is more homage than parody. Please note, if you’re not familiar with Harry Potter, you might wish to skip this one.
Set in the fictional Land of Oz, notably Baum’s 1918 book The Tin Woodman from Oz. The production employs live performers, puppets, music, and very few spoken words.
Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter described the “charming and disturbing”, minimalist production as the antithesis of Wicked, the massively successful big-budget Oz-based musical.
Watch Live Theatre
Nothing scratches the itch to enjoy live theatre quite like enjoying live theatre. We may not be able to share our own productions at the moment but thanks to the internet there is lots to enjoy. Filmedonstage.com is collecting a running list of full length productions that are available online for free.
Keep Calm and Carry On
You’ve probobly seen a lot of messages lately along the lines of “Keep Calm and Carry On” but did you know this phrase dates back to Britain during WWII? This short video tells the fascinating story of this wartime propaganda poster and how this phrase, along with the original posters were almost lost.
University Theatre Archive
A classic of “old-time radio”, NBC University Theatre offers full-cast audio adaptations of great works of drama and other literary classics. More than 100 hour-long episodes streaming for free from Internet Archive
As per Ontario provincial government order, Theatre Aquarius, including our box office, will be closed for the immediate future. We look forward to happier days ahead, when we can once again come together in celebration and share in the magic that only live theatre can offer.
In the meantime be safe and be well.
Program, Artists, Dates and Prices Subject to Change. All Sales Final. No Refunds.
Theatre Aquarius is a not-for-profit registered charity dedicated to creating outstanding, accessible, live theatre that entertains, challenges, & educates. Charitable Registration Number 11921 3957 RR0001