Andrew Lloyd Webber’s biggest musicals are streaming free on YouTube for a limited time

As lockdowns and social isolation continue to keep theaters dark on Broadway and beyond, arts institutions like the National Theatre and the Metropolitan Opera have helped keep the ghost light burning by providing filmed versions of stage shows to audiences at home. Now composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, a veritable institution unto himself, is pitching in as well.

Starting on Friday April 3, the composer’s Really Useful Group, in partnership with Universal, will offer free broadcasts of the greatest Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals, including such megahits as ‘Cats’ and ‘The Phantom of the Opera’.

A different Lloyd Webber musical will stream each week on The Shows Must Go On!, a new YouTube channel devoted to this project. Each show will go live on the channel on Fridays.

London’s National Theatre to Stream a Free New Play Every Week in April

With the Coronavirus continuing to wreak havoc on the world’s populace and shelter-in-place orders being extended through the end of April (and possibly longer), it doesn’t look like our nation’s theaters are going to be opening back up anytime soon. Thankfully, the National Theatre in London is stepping up to help us get our theatre fix from the comfort and safety of our own homes.

Every Thursday night during the month of April, the National Theatre will stream a new play on its YouTube channel free of charge. Each play will become available to stream at 7pm GMT/1pm CST and will be available to watch anytime during the next seven days. Here is the lineup for the month of April:

April 2: “One Man, Two Guvnors” by Richard Bean, starring James Corden.

April 9: “Jane Eyre”, adapted by Sally Cookson.

April 16: “Treasure Island”, adapted by Bryony Lavery.

April 23: “Twelfth Night” by William Shakespeare, starring Tamsin Greig.

For more information, visit the National Theatre at home webpage.

Broadway is Closed – Write Poems Instead.

The theatre community is reeling from the shutdown of Broadway theatre through April 12th, a public health measure to protect audiences from possible coronavirus transmission. During the 1590’s plague, when the theatre were shut as well, William Shakespeare apparently chose to write poems instead. From his “Venus and Adonis”, penned while playhouses were closed and writers were essentially quarantined, came this somewhat strange compliment: “The plague is banished by thy breath.” Should we theater people — writers, players and audiences alike — be staying home now and writing and reading poetry as a curative for the next month? Books, unlike group events, carry no germs.

Thanks to Craig Henry for this article. Read the entire story at this link –

Friends of Strauss Updates

We’re asking all Friends of Strauss to send us an update on what you’re doing during the COVID-19 shutdown. Here are a few updates.

I am using this time to express the introvert side of my personality which is squashed so much from being social. – Freeman Stamper

I’ve been crocheting Christmas snowflake ornaments! – Janet Knott

I have nothing creative to add…you know this…lol…but surely are getting some things done needing to be done.  The best and worst truth is that I have no excuse not to get them done.
  I am betting that a lot of us will need some diversion when this scare comes to a close. Thank you for everyone who has obeyed the rules and tried to keep everyone as safe as possible including themselves. May God bless all of the cautions and good things that have happened. We’ll be back and in need of entertainment! – Kathy Chandler

Send us YOUR update to and share your story with all your friends at Strauss Theatre.

Volunteer Update – Peyton Ballew

Hey Everyone, I’m Peyton Ballew and I’m a native of West Monroe and my last show at Strauss was Mamma Mia!

Before the COVD-19 Pandemic happened, I was active in the Monroe/West Monroe area a lot by going to Art Crawls, Biedenharn and attending plays here locally. Now that everything is shut down, I now spend time binge watching my favorite TV shows and movies like Duck Dynasty and Bewitched. I am also working on paintings and drawings.

I call Strauss my second home because I enjoy my time at the theatre. It is a place where I can truly be myself and I’m surrounded by a loving family who I can rely and trust on.

Broadway Dancers Are Teaching Personal At-Home Workouts Inspired by Their Shows

Broadway’s talented dancers aren’t letting the COVID-19 pandemic stop them from keeping active and sharing their skills. Tony-winning producer Jenna Segal has announced a series of at-home exercise classes titled Get in Shape Grrrl—Broadway COVID Series taught by main-stem movers. Ashley Fitzgerald Kelly, a standout dancer of The Cher Show, jump-started the series this week with a tribute to that glittering musical.

Covid-19 Tips from Matt Wilkins

Hello Patrons of the Strauss! My name’s Matt Wilkins and I play Finch in the upcoming (yet delayed) show “How to Succeed”  I thought since we’re all hunkered down due to COVID-19, I’d share a few tips with you I learned from my book! 

Tip #1 
Be kind. Just because we have to practice social distancing doesn’t mean we can’t give a smile and say “hello”. Let’s keep the South’s well known hospitality alive during this time and treat everyone with respect and kindness.  

Tip #2 
Don’t fret. We’re Louisiana, home of the floods, hurricanes and Saints football. Which means, we’ve suffered much worse in the past than this virus. We’ll get through this and laugh about it over a basket of crawfish afterwards.  

Tip #3 
Share. Ever wanted to be center stage in the spotlight at Strauss? You can! Donate to the Food Bank. They need anything you can spare. I promise afterwards you’ll know what it feels like to be star.  

Tip #4 
Pray. For the sick, for the stressed and for peace of mind. It important not to forget we’re not the only ones going through this. Outside our state and outside our country, millions are dealing with the same issues as us. Pray for them all.  And finally… 

Tip #5 
Tell everyone to come see “How to Succeed” once life gets back to normal. I’ll be there to greet you at the door afterwards for a elbow tag, fist bump, handshake or a hug. Your choice.  See you by the red curtain soon! 

Stream Broadway

Guess what? You’re probably going to be stuck at home for a while. And that’s OK because it is the right thing to do for your health and the health of your neighbors.

And let’s not forget: There are plenty of things to entertain you while inside your house, like virtual museum visits, operas, and, now, streams of all your favorite Broadway shows.

BroadwayHD, a streaming service for theater fans started in 2015, has long been bringing Broadway performances to people’s living rooms.

On the platform, subscribers will find a combination of acquired performances including performances of “Cats,” “The King and I,” and “The Sound of Music,” along with originals the platform filmed including performances of “Kinky Boots” and “42nd Street,” from Broadway, The West End, and other elite venues around the world.

The company announced this month that in addition to its preexisting library of nearly 300 productions, BroadwayHD would be curating two new playlists for anyone hoping to binge-watch some seriously stellar performances.

To honor Women’s History Month, BroadwayHD curated a playlist featuring the works of female theater-makers and show-stopping performances including an all-female Shakespeare Trilogy, along with “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill,” “A Night with Janis Joplin,” “Ann,” “Driving Ms. Daisy,” and more.

Additionally, BroadwayHD is celebrating the theater legend Stephen Sondheim for his 90th birthday and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 72nd with a special tribute playlist including some of their most beloved productions.

The playlist contains “Gypsy,” “Putting It Together,” “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” “Cats,” “Phantom Of The Opera,” “Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat,” and more.

The platform is offering a free seven-day trial, along with an $8.99 monthly plan.

Broadway Stars Celebrate Stephen Sondheim on His 90th Birthday

Sunday, March 22 marked Stephen Sondheim’s 90th birthday. It’s impossible to state the great contribution and influences this titan of the stage has made to musical theater (though his nine Tony Awards and Presidential Medal of Freedom speak for themselves). We reached out to a number of people who have appeared in Sondheim shows to tell us what they love most about the legend. Read on for their answers and read their longer tributes here

Wash Your Lyrics

As the coronavirus continues its spread around the globe, one thing public health experts seem to agree on is this: Frequently washing your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds helps fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus

Now, a creative teen in England has come up with a website that will turn your favorite song into a custom hand-washing infographic –  Wash Your Lyrics. Simply enter the title of a favorite song and artist (say, “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen) and the site automatically generates a poster that pairs the lyrics to a 13-step hand washing routine.

Keep Washing those hands and singing the music of “How to Succeed Without Really Trying” coming soon to Strauss.