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BWW Blog: A Virtual Hug from Broadway

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When you cannot hop on the next train to Broadway, the virtual theater community is the best alternate destination. Though my experiences with theater can no longer be as reliable and consistent as a pre-purchased show ticket (at will of NJ Transit), I am making the most of the spontaneous and delightful events that Broadway stars are sharing with the world online.

My plans for the summer are changing. Opportunities that I secured up to a year ago are now slipping away. As a rising college senior, I fear for the remainder of my time as a student. Sure, I took a moment to grieve the experiences I was looking forward to, but there is no use in worrying about what my upcoming semester will look like. Now, instead of letting these changes slow me down, I am finding new paths and new ways to fill my time. Specifically, I am lucky to have found comfort and positivity in the online theater community.

One of my favorite memories of the past couple of months feels like a total dream. I somehow had the opportunity to be on a Zoom call with the one and only Ben Platt. At around 2:15pm EST on May 9th, Ben tweeted about a Zoom call he was going to have with fans at 3:00pm EST. He since deleted the tweet, but it explained that he would share the link five minutes before the start time. You know I immediately turned on his post notifications and waited not-so-patiently for the remainder of the time. I informed my friend network of Ben Platt enthusiasts about the historic event that would be taking place. Meanwhile, I no longer could focus on studying for the final exam that I had the coming Monday. But I mean, come on, priorities.

BWW Blog: A Virtual Hug from Broadway

As the start time was approaching, I refreshed his page over and over again. It was simply the hottest ticket on the internet, and I had to sneak my way in. Finally, the link appeared that directed me to "Ben Platt's Zoom Hangout" (how elite of me). I was unsure as to whether I made the cut or not, but it seemed my friends were also in the waiting room where I was. Soon enough, I was admitted into the Zoom call with nearly 1,000 of my closest friends. The next 45 minutes were a delightful escape from the insanity of our reality. Ben sat peacefully in a scenic outdoor setting and eloquently answered questions from fans coming from all around the world. It was an odd but extremely special experience that I am so thankful to have been a part of.

BWW Blog: A Virtual Hug from Broadway

While that video call might be the best thing to happen to me during this quarantine, I have also found joy and laughter in so many more theater related experiences. Whether it is Andrew Barth Feldman's Broadway Jackbox live streams or George Salazar's "Sundays on the Couch with George" talk show, these wonderful Broadway people are bringing smiles to my face and taking me away from reality. Although I would rather be smiling from a seat in a theater, this is the next best thing, and I am so grateful for their generosity.

There is community in every pixel of our virtual interactions. There is community in the 54 Below YouTube livestream comments among the performers, producers, and fans. There is community in the retweets of Rob McClure's #ConductorCam series. There is community in the Tik Tok musical duets. Although it might not be as visible as a standing ovation or a crowd of fans at the stage door dressed as their favorite characters, this sense of belonging is still just as strong of a force.

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From This Author Student Blogger: Brooke Treiman