Teen Transmitters Takeover!
For six weeks, What We’re Watching is being taken over by the Paley Center’s teen internship cohort! Each week a different pair will bring you their thoughts on the 2020 media landscape along with personalized recommendations. We hope you enjoy this unique opportunity to hear directly from young voices about the impact this year has had. This week we hear from Markice Grant,
Rising Junior, H.E.R.O High School, and Samantha Rodriguez, Rising Senior, All City Leadership Secondary School.
Come one, come all! The show must go on, and we’re bringing it home to you! With the shutdown of the theater district people have lost the ability to see our beloved live shows, but the magic of performance can still enter our homes and warm our hearts. We’ve assembled a Wicked good set of recommendations for your browsing pleasure. But first, here is an update on our dearest, Broadway...
Taking Its Toll
As we all know by now, Coronavirus has taken a huge toll on everyone's personal and work life, putting whatever major plans people had in motion to a dead halt. Today we want to show you how Broadway has been moving forward in regards to the production of plays and the profits of existing plays. In reality they just aren't doing much. On March 16, 2020, the New York Times published an article predicting one of the biggest falls in our economy to date due to Covid-19. In the article they listed showbiz, Broadway productions to be specific, as one of the things most likely to take a really hard economic hit, and it seems they were right. You see Broadway is a magical thing, and generally its revenue allows it to stay afloat in the digital age, but it only makes money when people go to the show and buy tickets. Without shows to go to, Broadway can’t make a profit. Unfortunately, streams don’t make a lot of money and there aren't even a lot of Broadway shows available to stream anyway. We know this seems like a really negative sentiment but let's all send a little prayer to the Broadway industry and hope they come back better than ever.
This Week's Recommendation for Younger Viewers
Because of Coronavirus, families have been forced together for months on end with nothing but each other to keep them company. We know that being stuck with people you love for months can definitely cause some tension, and one way to break that is bonding! We have to assume that if you’ve read this far you have some kind of interest in Broadway shows. With that being said, we’re almost positive that many young kids aren’t interested in theater. But we have a solution... Broadway-inspired kids movies! Here's a short list of Broadway adaptations from movies that the kids at home might like and that you can appreciate nonetheless:

Hairspray (Available on HBO Max)
Mary Poppins Returns (Available on Netflix)
Newsies (Available on Disney+)
Shrek the Musical (Available on Netflix)
Extension Activities
This section is for those of you with a creative touch, and have kids interested in the Broadway shows listed in the section above. PLAYBILLS! Get some crayons, grab those markers, and don’t forget your construction paper and safety scissors. Let’s make some Playbills! This will be a fun project you and your kids can do together while also covering all the important themes prevalent in whichever musical you choose to draw. Now get to work!!!

If you're still reading this you must really like Broadway productions. Well good! We have an idea for you and your family, let's put on a play. Wait, wait, that seems a little extra challenging—let's RECITE a play! It'll be fun and you can record the whole thing and show all of the other family members who are probably doing nothing but sitting at home binging some boring ole TV show. So what do you say. Are you in the mood to be the next Broadway star? Please feel free to utilize this grand idea and take this opportunity to dress up as your favorite Broadway character. You're welcome!

Comforts of Home
Theater snacks just got a whole lot less expensive! No more lines, just pop into the kitchen for something to munch on after we finish Mary Poppins’ popped corn! Below are some recipes to get you started:

Speaking of Broadway at home, there is a subscription streaming service that offers hundreds of productions, ad-free, viewable on any device. It's called BroadwayHD and it has professional recordings of many must-see shows like Kinky Boots, Falsettos, Cats, and even classic older productions. If you don't have this service have no fear! There are plenty of productions offered on various platforms from Netflix to Amazon Prime. PBS is also airing Broadway content every Friday this summer!
This Week's Recommendation for Older Viewers
After the little kids are asleep, it’s time to bust out some real gems! Whether it's to wind down or accompany your dinner, these recommendations are memorably impactful.

Starting our list we have American Son, a Netflix original film adaptation that takes the viewer into a police precinct's backroom, where we find a distraught mother waiting for news about whether or not her son is okay. (Available on Netflix)

Bathtubs over Broadway: This exciting documentary takes the viewer on a journey following comedy writer David Letterman as he indulges in his obsession with bizarre musicals. His finding unearths a hilarious collection of items thought to be lost to time. (Available on Netflix)

Burlesque: After leaving Iowa with stars in her eyes, Ali arrives at a Los Angeles burlesque lounge with dreams of taking the stage with her soaring voice. (Available on Netflix)

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is the last but certainly not the least of this set of recommendations. In this adaptation, we follow the tale behind the butchering barbershop on Fleet Street, which is tucked away above the best meat pie shop in London. Coincidence? I think not. (Available on Tubi TV)

Oldies but Goodies
One more list before you go, and we hope you enjoyed what we had to share so far! There's no doubt a Broadway newsletter would be incomplete without the mention of our tried and true favorites. Without further ado, behold!

Les Miserables: In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after breaking parole, agrees to care for a factory worker's daughter. The decision changes their lives forever. (Original Cast Recording Available on Spotify and YouTube)

Phantom of the Opera: A beautiful performance portraying an underrated singer and her interactions with the famous phantom. (Original Cast Recording Available on Spotify and YouTube)

Fiddler on the Roof: This classic show details life among the Jewish community of a pre-revolutionary Russian village. A poor milkman, determined to find good husbands for his five daughters, consults the traditional matchmaker, and also has a word with God. (Available on Netflix)

Mamma Mia: A soon-to-be-bride invites three men from her mother's past in hopes that one may be her father, and walks her down the aisle. Her mother, a hotelier busy with planning the whole event, knows nothing of her daughter's plan. (Available on Hulu, Starz, Cinemax, and Sling TV)
Anticipated Releases
In January 2020, an article was published about the fifteen most anticipated shows of the year (15 Most Anticipated Broadway Shows). Since then every single one of these shows has been canceled. Four months later another article was published listing ten "you don't wanna miss this" upcoming Broadway show for the remainder of 2020 seemingly with hope for the future (Upcoming Broadway Shows). However, since the release of both of these articles, there has been no talk or speculation about when or if any of these shows will be making a return to the stage anytime soon. For the sake of it, here are (in our opinion) five shows that would've been the biggest hits.

I: based on the real-life legacy of Princess Diana.
Mrs. Doubtfire: based on a feature film starring the late Robin Williams.
Company: returned for its fiftieth anniversary with a brand-new spin.
Girl from North Country: a play set a century ago detailing a boarding house.
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: a play about a failed marriage falling apart before the eyes of impressionable youngsters.

Saying Goodbye
The curtains have closed one last time for several shows, as many are forced to exit stage left with dashed hopes and good intentions. We’re afraid we’ve seen the last of BeetleJuice, no matter how many times we say the name. It seems Frozen has also received the cold shoulder, though its days of wonder and magic will never be forgotten. Have the spotlights on Hangmen and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? dimmed for the last time? It’s with a heavy heart the streets of Broadway let them go.

Ok folks, you've made it this far... we hope you enjoyed our geek out over everything BROADWAY! Our lovely edition has come to an end. This is our first time writing and publishing something together so if this article brings anyone laughter or joy, a moment that'll make you think or put a smile on your face, even if all it did was give you a new idea, we'd be happy. There are so many great Broadway productions that have yet to be seen by us, and we hope to have the opportunity one day to tell you all about our love of Broadway when we become veteran fans. We also hope that reading this will inspire you to tune in to a couple productions. Who knows, you might find the perfectly hidden gem. Don't forget to make those playbills. We would love to see them! Without any further ado we say goodbye, until next time, a goodnight to all and to all a goodnight, so long. Please be safe. The Coronavirus is very real, there are so many things you could do inside the safety of your home such as make your own Broadway production. But if you must go outside, social distance (six-feet apart at ALL times), wear a mask, carry lots and lots of hand sanitizer, and when you can, please wash your hands!
As always, if you have any questions, thoughts, or ideas, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at eduny@paleycenter.org!

Happy viewing,

Markice Grant
Rising Junior, H.E.R.O High School

Samantha Rodriguez
Rising Senior, All City Leadership Secondary School
Photos—Hairspray: NBC; Fiddler on the Roof: Public Domain; American Son: Netflix
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