Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Click Here to Visit the College Center

BWW Blog: Film Everything!

Proshots can be a very accessible alternative to live theatre. I share some of my thoughts here.

Hey BroadwayWorld!

Recently, I've been missing live theatre more than usual, so I turned to the next best thing: a professionally filmed live stage production, or a proshot. BroadwayWorld recently published a great article about proshots and film adaptations which you can read here. For the sake of this blog, I'd like to focus mainly on proshots.

Proshots are a marvelous thing. At the risk of generalization, I simply don't believe there are any cons. Many proshots begin their lives with theatrical releases in movie theaters across the country. Most of them also see release on streaming platforms, notably BroadwayHD, which is slowly gaining a beefier library. All of this is, of course, an opportunity for more profit, which should do something to win over the suits. More importantly however, this makes theatre more accessible to anyone and everyone. That's the aspect I want to focus on here. Accessible.

People cite Hamilton as the reason for absurdly inflated ticket prices, but theatre has been a costly art form for decades. Professional theatre is simply not affordable for a great many people, myself included. It might even be attributed to the closing of many shows. For example, look at Be More Chill or The Lightning Thief. These were shows written for young adults, but by and large, those young people couldn't afford ticket prices. Imagine how impactful it could be for a high school student, in the middle of the country, with no access to live theatre, to be able to see a filmed version of Be More Chill.

Growing up, I was lucky to see one Broadway show per year. But now that I'm a college student, it simply doesn't happen. Frankly this is shameful since I'm studying theatre, and I'd like to have the opportunity to keep up with the art form to which I'm dedicating my life. However, I'm fortunate enough to go to school in New York, so I'm able to take advantage of things like student rush tickets. But with more popular shows, there's simply not enough supply to meet the demand. And what if it's not feasible for you to get into the city before the box office opens? You're out of luck. What if you're not able to wait in line for hours for Shakespeare in the park? You're out of luck. What if your area doesn't have a local theatre scene? You're out of luck. Even if it does, ticket prices can still be too high, especially in the wake of COVID-19, where there's been little support for local independent theatre. All of this goes to show that theatre can be quite difficult to access for the average person. But if we can professionally film as many productions as possible, then more people will be able to experience live theatre. It should not be an alternative to increasing the accessibility of live theatre, but it could be an incredible start.

Most shows don't release proshots until after they close and cease touring. A common worry may be that if proshots are widely available, ticket sales would go down. That is simply not true. Personally, I grew up devouring the 1991 proshot of the original Broadway cast of Into The Woods. I've memorized every lyric, every line of dialogue, every piece of blocking, and every line intonation of every performer. But if I had a time machine? The original Broadway cast of Into The Woods is the FIRST THING I would go see.

With the announcement of proshots of Come From Away and Diana, and the release of Hamilton, I only imagine that their ticket sales will spike once live theatre returns. If you have the means, why wouldn't you buy a ticket? It's like seeing your favorite band live.

This makes me optimistic! Within the past ten years, proshots have become more and more commonplace. Shrek the Musical, Falsettos, Passing Strange, the recent She Loves Me revival...I could go on! And with COVID-19 throwing a wrench into things, proshots are proving to be an accessible and effective alternative to live theatre. I'm hopeful that as the theatre industry moves forward, proshots, and the accessibility they promote, will become more common.



Check out more Student Blogs here! And don't miss a single blog by following our Instagram and liking our Facebook page!

Featured at the Theatre Shop

T-Shirts, Mugs, Phone Cases & More

Related Articles

From This Author Student Blogger: Michael Scuotto