I live in
a mid-sized conglomerate of cities with half a million people. Not nearly as quiet or uneventful as rural anywhere. But not nearly enough to sustain professional athletes, nation-leading chefs, or acclaimed performance artists either.
Coupled with my knack for outdoor adventure, it’s largely why I’ve never been to the theater. To be sure, I’ve seen dozens of worthwhile plays and musicals over the years—usually on TV or via traveling companies. But in the half dozen times I’ve traveled to New York, I’ve yet to visit Broadway.
That all changed last month after watching a live broadcast of Roundabout Theatre’s “She Loves Me” in high definition at my local cinema. No, the award-winning actors and singers didn’t go out of their way to treat my community to a special performance. Rather, their impressively staged, smile-inducing singing, and emotionally charged acting was streamed live on Broadway HD in partnership with Fathom Events. Both are part of a new push to make theater—and by extension performance art in general—more accessible to the masses, either at home or in nearby cinemas.
After experiencing my first performance, I’m happy to report they both deliver (depending on the production, of course). In this case, it was clear I was watching the best of the best in terms of musical theater. That goes for the impeccable set, orchestral flourishes, crowd interaction, dramatic and comedic acting, and ultimately causing me to feel a range of emotions that I’ve rarely felt from other performance art—recorded or otherwise.
As a bonus, tickets are just $10 to watch from home; around $15 at participating theaters. For the size, sound, and feeling of watching a show live with others, however, I highly recommend the latter when possible. Either way, the camera work, sound, and production value of Broadway HD is akin to the pros of watching your favorite sporting event on a big screen—it gets you closer to the action than live attendance ever could.
At the same time, watching my first live Broadway production made me want to take in an actual show on the famed Manhattan strip more than ever. In fact, I’d consider myself an enthusiastic Broadway fan now, even though I’ve never stepped foot in one of their theaters.
That said, you didn’t come here for an arts and entertainment column, astute reader. What does this personal revelation have to do with travel you might ask?
Technology is Creating Opportunities We’ve Never Had
In this case, you can experience some of humanity’s finest culture for only a few dollars and a willingness to skip Netflix for a few hours. That’s a good thing that might even inspire you to consume even more foreign culture, hopefully in person which can have an even greater impact on our psyche and appreciation of life.
Seeing Performances Without Leaving Your Town is Great Mind Travel
No, simulated experiences on the Internet or elsewhere can never replace the feeling of actually being somewhere new. But mind travel is a wonderful way to whet adventure appetites, inspire further investigation, and broaden our worldview.
For your sake, I hope you feel the same.
Off the Grid columnist Blake Snow writes epic stories for fancy publications and Fortune 500 companies. Follow him @blakesnow.