In 2015, producers Bonnie Comley and Stewart F. Lane launched BroadwayHD on a mission to promote and preserve live theater and extend its reach to theater lovers around the world. With that goal in mind, they set a number of objectives. After attaining several, such as adding over 160 titles to BroadwayHD.com's on-demand library and live streaming Off-Broadway's "Buried Child" and "Old Hats," Bonnie and Stewart set out to realize their most ambitious yet – to produce the first-ever live stream of a Broadway show.
To make their dream a reality, BroadwayHD partnered with Roundabout Theatre Company and WNET New York, the local PBS affiliate, to capture and live stream Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of "She Loves Me" at Studio 54. BroadwayHD then went on to reach agreements with the show's authors, the cast, and nine different performing arts unions. Once these relationships were established, BroadwayHD was ready to let the world know that the first-ever Broadway live stream was coming.
The announcement went live on June 15, 2016, and the news spread quickly. By June 30th, the news of the first-ever Broadway live stream was trending across the country. To generate even more excitement, BroadwayHD announced the opening number of "She Loves Me" would stream through Facebook Live on June 30th, allowing audiences to get a taste for the production before committing to a ticket. The live stream also included pre-recorded content before the show and during intermission. This content featured "She Loves Me" cast members and other Broadway stars discussing the implications of the first Broadway live stream, and the many benefits of making Broadway accessible to people all over the world.
On June 30, 2016, BroadwayHD effectively transported the magic of Broadway from Studio 54 to audiences in over 60 countries around the world, and made history with the first-ever live stream of a Broadway show (winning a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records!). Bonnie and Stewart successfully extended the reach of theater, and promoted and preserved a stunning production.
The Facebook live video successfully allowed audiences to get a taste for the production before committing to a ticket. The video garnered 307,000 views and 1,712 shares alone, resulting in an uptick in website traffic once the Facebook Live video ended.
"She Loves Me" was trending on both Facebook and Twitter on June 30th, and media and customer testimonials lauded the production. Following the success of the "She Loves Me" live stream, BroadwayHD partnered with Fathom Events to bring "She Loves Me" to movie theaters across the United States on December 1, 2016, once again extending the reach of this production. The title now lives in BroadwayHD.com's on-demand library, joining over 160 theater productions available to stream anytime, anywhere.
Next, BroadwayHD will live stream Roundabout Theatre's "Holiday Inn, The Irving Berlin Musical" on January 14th, 2017.