When you bring up live transmission or streaming of live theater, you get pretty passionate responses. Live means live! Too expensive! The unions won’t go for it! There’s no demand! It’ll kill my “real” audience. It’s a gimmick! But it’s already here and happening, so it deserves a closer look.
Quick story. My Dad loves opera. My Mom used to hate opera. Now my Mom loves opera. What happened? The Met Live in HD Series. My parents, and gobs and gobs of people worldwide now go regularly to local movie theaters and see stunning live simulcasts of extraordinary performances as they are performed live. So when I needed to come up with a thesis topic for my masters in Arts Administration, I started researching digital transmissions of live performing arts: specifically, New Media Digital Transmisson of Live Theater. Check out my TCG Conference 2.0 Project on the subject here, and then take this Survey on the subject to join the conversation.
My personal feeling is that eventually U.S. theaters, unions, writers and other stakeholders will sort out the relevant business and financial details, and that live transmissions across all media platforms will become a more regular part of live theater dissemination in the U.S. But I’m just one guy sitting in Chicago. We need data on where the U.S. theater field stands on NMDT of Live Theater. My hope is that this survey establishes a baseline regarding the opinions and perceptions of U.S. theaters regarding NMDT so that further discussions among stakeholders can be productive and move the ball down the field.
Eddie Sugarman is Managing Director of 16th Street Theater in Berwyn, IL. He has also worked in marketing at Chicago Shakespeare Theater and was Managing Director of the Jedlicka Performing Arts Center in Cicero, IL for three seasons.
With composer Andrew Gerle, Mr. Sugarman wrote the musical Meet John Doe, which enjoyed its world premiere at the Ford’s Theater in Washington D.C., won 2 Helen Hayes Awards and is licensed by the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization. Also, Eddie had the coolest job on Broadway when he was a stuntman in the original production of the musical Ragtime.
Eddie lives in Western Springs, Illinois with his amazing wife, Kara, and their very cool kids, Sam and Lucy.