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BWW Blog: The Theatricality of Late Night TV

Is Jimmy Fallon the new Jeremy Jordan?

I miss theatre more than anything right now. Rehearsals, friends, the spontaneity and energy of live performance. I thought that nothing could replace it. Before the pandemic, most of my time was devoted to theatre. I spent my class time in theatre classes. My extracurriculars revolved around rehearsals. Even my leisure time consisted of jamming out to cast albums and attending performances. However, over the past nine months, all of that has changed. I find myself focusing more on my communications and public relations courses in my class time. My extracurriculars revolve around my sorority, applying to internships, and reading. As for leisure time, I find myself turning to another form of entertainment; late night tv talk shows.

Now, this isn't to say that I did not enjoy late-night television before the pandemic. If I found myself on a Youtube binge-watch, I often would end up watching segments from the previous night's episode of The Late Late Show with James Corden or Late Night with Seth Meyers. Today, I find watching the clips an almost daily occurrence, as I giggle through the monologues and eagerly await the interviews, comedy, and game segments. That's when it hit me; late-night television talk shows are the closest thing that we have right now to Musical Theatre.

Think about it; live performances, music, comedy, celebrities, and often wacky stunts are what fill up the time slot. The camaraderie between the host, guests, and the band almost feels vaudevillian as they crack jokes back and forth. Some hosts, like The Tonight Show's Jimmy Fallon, even dance and sing occasionally. While there may not be a full audience, the applause is real and live. There are actions and a reaction, real physical energy in that room. Groups of people are performing live, together and in person, something almost unheard of in the past few months. The innovation, passion, and determination can be almost be felt through the screen.

Late-night talk shows are absolutely a new favorite entertainment of mine that will last long past the pandemic. They certainly have not replaced theatre, but that's one of the great pieces about being a human being. We are multifaceted. You can like Musical Theatre and Talk shows. Showtunes and Hip Hop. Theatre tech and calculus. Nothing can or should be off the table.

So, if you find yourself mourning the temporary loss of sitting in the first row at the Nederlander or Schubert, maybe turn on your TV for a first-row seat at Studio 8-G.

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