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9 Reasons for the Theatre Community to Be Thankful in 2020

Brian Stokes Mitchell, Patti LuPone, Rob McClure, and the rest of the Broadway community gave us all a little something to be thankful for in 2020.

When it comes to the events of 2020, this year has left the theatre community with very little to be thankful for. But thanks to the ingenuity, heart, and resourcefulness that mark the theatrical spirit, the Broadway community took 2020's relentless supply of lemons, and made them into viral lemonade, offering up a sweet supply of quarantine content to sustain and inspire us throughout the shutdown era.

With Thanksgiving upon us, let's take a quick look back on some of the highlights from lockdown and beyond that gave us all a little something to be thankful for when positivity was in short supply.

Hamilton on Disney+

Disney's filmed version of Hamilton wasn't scheduled to hit the big screen until October 2021. That all changed in May 2020 when the House of Mouse and the team behind the show offered locked down fans around the globe the opportunity to bring Ham home early on Disney+.

This gift from the theatre gods provided a much-needed respite from worry and a celebration of the magic of theatre, offering the world at large the comfort and catharsis only a great theatrical experience can provide.

Virtual Programming

Though many of these events were put in place to raise funds for arts professionals affected by the shutdown, they have also provided the community with necessary moments of connection and live performance so sorely lacking from our current reality.

Thanks to virtual benefit concerts and online programming like Stars in the House, Living Room Concerts, and more theatre fans and faves have managed to stay connected throughout the shutdown, building a framework of support for our community in the darkest of times while supporting the people that make theatre happen.

Patti LuPone's Basement Tours

As theatre fans and professionals alike settled into our lockdown reality, Patti LuPone generated the cultural reset no one saw coming. In a series of divinely manic viral videos, the star generously gave us all a closer look at her absolute wonderland of a basement replete with jukeboxes, Sunset Boulevard cosplay, miniature bongs, and a Tony-winner with energy to spare. For this we are eternally grateful.

Aaron Tveit singing 'Marry Me A Little' directly into a camera. Period.

He sang it for you and you alone. Not really, but didn't it feel that way? Our lone 2020 nominee for Best Leading Actor in a Musical infiltrated our homes and hearts with this exquisite and almost uncomfortably intimate performance of a Sondheim classic to celebrate the composer's 90th birthday. His talent, sincerity, and general handsomeness left us swooning over this Tony-worthy touchstone for lonely lockdown hearts everywhere.

Rob McClure's Conductor Cam

This bit of theatrical niche humor is unquestionably one of the best bits of quarantine content out there. McClure's adorably droll and hyper-realistic maestro alter ego brought laughter into our lives (and left us impressed with McClure's very real conducting skills) when we needed it most. Enjoy the full playlist here.

Virtual Broadway Reunions

Throughout quarantine, theatre fans were treated to a flood of virtual quarantine reunions to fill the Broadway-shaped holes in our hearts. From current Broadway hits like Hadestown, Jagged Little Pill, and Hamilton to old favorites like Beautiful, Legally Blonde, and School of Rock, these viral ensembles are proof positive that no matter the circumstances, when it comes to the Broadway community, you truly cannot stop the beat.

Brian Stokes Mitchell's Window of Wonder

It's high time that we all acknowledged that Brian Stokes Mitchell is Broadway's Obama. A good-natured leader with an iconic baritone and a gift for unifying the people, Stokes launched a lockdown ritual this summer and brought Broadway back to life without ever leaving his house. Each night at 7, Stokes took to his Open Window to belt out the Man of La Mancha anthem, "The Impossible Dream" to the luckiest neighbors in NYC. His performances became so popular, the city eventually had to discontinue them due to crowd control issues, but at our lowest, Stokes inspired the city to dream the impossible dream and reach the unreachable star. No matter how hopeless, no matter how far.

Ratatouille: The Musical!

When we talk about the 'Broadway community' some folks labor under the very false impression that that distinction stops at the footlights. However, thanks to social media the line between audience and artists has never been more transparent. This has never been more true than in the case of the TikTok sensation Ratatouille the Musical. Conceived by teenage fans on the social platform, the meme quickly picked up steam as Broadway professionals like composer Joe Iconis and Tony-nominee Kevin Chamberlain got in on the act. Thanks to some catchy tunes and camaraderie, TikTokkers have created a truly impressive virtual tuner, thus proving Anton Ego's thesis that "a great artist can come from anywhere."

Honorable Mention: The excavation of this Mandy Patinkin clip

Okay, so, this might not be one of the more widely known examples on this list, but I ran across it on Twitter during lockdown and it is JOY PERSONIFIED. We do not deserve Mandy Patinkin. You're welcome.

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From This Author Alexa Criscitiello