BWW Blog: The Benefits of Streaming - Frosty's World #6

Here are some virtual events I've been enjoying these past few weeks!

By: Dec. 21, 2020
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BWW Blog: The Benefits of Streaming - Frosty's World #6

The theaters are dark. The actors and staff have been sent home -- out of work. The public is afraid to leave their houses. The year is 1603. If William Shakespeare became a time traveler in the year 2020 he would be amazed by electricity, airplanes, supermarkets -- but he would be 100 percent familiar with pandemics. During his lifetime, The Globe theater closed three times due to the Black Plague. Shakespeare probably watched two of his siblings die of this disease. Discovering this dreadful history is also a way to find hope -- specifically through Baldwin Wallace University Theatre History 288. History teaches us that, while homebound because of the pandemic, Shakespeare wrote his most important plays and sparked a Renaissance in Western theater that has stretched over 400 years.

For Shakespeare, COVID 19 would be "same old same old." Paraphrasing the Ecclesiastes verse from the Bible, "...there is no new thing under the sun" Shakespeare wrote in Sonnet 59:

If there be nothing new, but that which is
Hath been before, how are our brains beguil'd...
Even of five hundred courses of the sun

I doubt that The Bard would have anticipated internet streaming, but fellow Baldwin Wallace student Joshua Kass Amsterdam has put together an independent Zoom performance of The Merchant of Venice: December 23rd, 25th, 26th and 27th. The free link is here. Multiple students are participating, giving their all over the winter break. It is sure to be a good show.

BWW Blog: The Benefits of Streaming - Frosty's World #6

Theater History was my favorite class this past semester, despite a 14 page final exam with 10 essay questions. It was fun to learn about Greek, Roman, Medieval and Renaissance theaters, reading plays for background study. I never get much out of reading a play for the first time - I've been lucky to study Medea and Tartuffe multiple times. Euripides and Moliere have a lot to say about modern social issues (e.g. feminism, leadership, integrity). Placing the play productions in the context of the era when they were written sparked my imagination. Thanks to legendary Baldwin Wallace University Theatre Director and Professor Martin Friedman -- he is a very kind, knowledgeable and enthusiastic teacher!

Students with an Arts Management major at Baldwin Wallace learn about... arts... and... management. My music class, "The Art of Listening to Music" was harder than it "sounds," focusing on classical music. It is now impossible to get Liszt's La Campanella out of my head. Math, accounting and economics are not exactly my strong suit, but I've made it through and understand how important funding and fiscal responsibility is to arts organizations. My Financial Management professor this past semester, Sean Murphy, made it very clear that there is no mission if there is no money. The effect of the pandemic on theater was a recurring theme in my classes. Theater professionals are hurting financially right now, but that doesn't stop them from using their platform to help others. A good example is Broadway for Racial Justice. I was privileged to be connected with Rob McClure in their most recent fundraiser on Instagram.

BWW Blog: The Benefits of Streaming - Frosty's World #6 In my Fundraising class, I completed a mock fundraising development plan for my favorite local non-profit, Cleveland's Refresh Collective. This grassroots community organization engages at risk inner city youth by teaching the art of hip hop music. I am proud to be participating as an actual fundraiser for their campaign, and in their phonathons. Please don't hang up on me when I call. All over the country, funding for arts education has been slashed as public schools are mandated to focus on teaching their students to perform well on standardized achievement tests. Organizations like Refresh Collective try to fill in the gap with classroom, after school and summer camp programs that let students find their voice through music. Now in its tenth year, they have used Hip-hop to help more than 6000 disadvantaged young people learn about poetry, composition, performance and music production. Look out Lin Manuel Miranda - Cleveland is coming for you! Cleveland's Playhouse Square is also getting in the hip hop act, streaming Jennifer Weber's The Hip Hop Nutcracker, recorded live at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. I'm sure that the O.G. Tchaikovsky would approve!

Between hand washing and COVID protocol checks, streaming still gives an easy window into both national and on-campus theatre events. Tina Fey did a great job of hosting One Night Only: The Best of Broadway. I was able to get up to speed with a few Broadway shows that were less familiar to me. It was great to see BW Alumni Colton Ryan, from Conor McPherson's Girl from the North Country, appear on December 15th in a streaming video pre-show discussion, Road to the North Country: Interpreting Dylan. Closer to home, Baldwin Wallace's remarkable virtual performance of Steven Sater's Spring Awakening is back for an encore performance presentation December 17th to December 20th. I am very sad to see some of my classmates in their last performance before graduation, but the show is absolutely wonderful. Tickets are still available, but going fast!

I've mentioned before that RDU On Stage collaborates with Coloring Broadway to host online art sessions and theater chats for adults. Participants color their Broadway-themed templates while listening to a vibrant discussion about theater. Broadway veteran and Raleigh, North Carolina stage icon David Henderson appeared last week, discussing the challenges of playing Jacob Marley in A Christmas Carol every holiday season for the past 25 years! The Ira David Wood musical comedy adaptation of Charles Dickens' book is produced by Raleigh's Theatre in the Park. With this year going the way it is, the 2020 Ghost of Christmas Present is going to be particularly scary! I'll close with the help of a lot of multicolored Sharpies, a Coloring Broadway template, and a Broadway holiday phrase of hope for all of you. Happy Holidays!

BWW Blog: The Benefits of Streaming - Frosty's World #6


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