Standing alone on the stage of the historic Pasadena Playhouse Wednesday, Producing Artistic Director Danny Feldman, with help from Playhouse staff members, introduced new programming for PlayhouseLive, a first-of-its-kind, nonprofit streaming platform which the theatre will launch September 30.
“To say these are challenging times is an understatement,” said Feldman. “A pandemic, along with a long-overdue racial reckoning resulting in civil unrest, and our state currently being ravaged by the worst fires on record. There is also one of the most divisive elections we’ve ever experienced, in less than 60 days.
“This feels like the exact moment our cultural institutions were designed for,” he continued. “To bring strangers together in a darkened room, to have a collective and shared experience, and finding meaning together in this mess, but sitting in a room together is simply not safe.”
Thus the new online programming, which the Playhouse developed over the now six-month-long pandemic and isolation.
As Feldman noted, the wide range of programming includes a host of original creations designed and developed exclusively for the Playhouse.
“PlayhouseLive is a new way for audiences and artists to connect during this pause of in-person programming. While PlayhouseLive is not a replacement of live theater, it is a high-quality alternative that harnesses the power of theater in an all-new way.”
The Pay-per-view theatrical streaming events will include poet/performance artist and professor Javon Johnson’s Still., a one-man performance about the complexities of the Black experience, commissioned by Pasadena Playhouse.
PlayhouseLive Programming will also feature the premiere of Jerry Herman: You I Like, a new musical revue dedicated to the works of legendary Broadway composer/lyricist Jerry Herman; new works from Ojai Playwrights Conference; and family entertainment from LA’s beloved Bob Baker Marionette Theater.
The debut programming will also feature the pilot episodes of four new original series.
In Development gives an insiders’ look at unproduced theatrical works as they are introduced to the world for the first time. The first episode will feature Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman performing excerpts from Iceboy!, a new musical by Mark Hollman, Jay Reiss and Erin Quinn Purcell.
Intermission with Hashtag Booked features celebrity interviews hosted by LaNisa Frederick and Danielle Pinnock, the comedic duo from the web series Hashtag Booked. Actor Alfred Molina will be the first interview guest.
Page to Stage explores the theatrical journey of productions from conception to opening night. In the first episode, Page to Stage: Little Shop of Horrors, the Pasadena Playhouse team takes viewers from rehearsal to opening night of their 2019 revival;
The Page to Stage program is free and features interviews with George Salazar, Mj Rodriguez and Amber Riley.
As Feldman noted, the Playhouse features one of the largest archive collections of any theatre in America, and the series, From the Archives will explore the impact regional theater has had across generations in shaping American culture. Initial episodes include a silent film featuring rare vintage footage of the Playhouse from the 1930s; a documentary short chronicling the years the Playhouse went dark (1968 through 1984), and a look at the historic 1928 production of Eugene O’Neill’s Lazarus Laughed which brought 151 actors together to perform 420 roles in a four-act play.
PlayhouseLive will also feature a number of classes, including The Everyday Avant Garde in Black Theatre Making, led by award winning writer, composer, and performer Eisa Davis.
Shakespeare Masterclass, an in depth look at the Bard’s work, will be led by internationally-recognized director and actor Rob Clare, while Basics of Stage Management, will be taught by Broadway stage managers Kathleen Purvis and Andrew Neal.
Adam Epstein will return to the Playhouse with The Contemporary Broadway Musical and as will Janet Fontaine, with Playtime with Miss Janet.
PlayhouseLive will be available as a standalone website, as well as on iPhone and Android apps, AppleTV, Amazon FireTV, Roku, Chromecast, and AirPlay, among others. More information about PlayhouseLive programming, including new announcements and pricing specials is available at www.playhouselive.org.