The Show Must Go On

Alexa Ogilvie , Business Manager

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the arts community has been heavily hit — none more so than the Broadway community. To raise awareness and donations, a YouTube channel by the name of “The Shows Must Go On” began to bring theatre back to its fans and money back to the art. Universal Studios runs the channel in collaboration with Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber.
The idea came up as a way to not only let the fans of the theatre community have access to their favorite shows and actors, but also to raise money and awareness for the arts workers who were and are still suffering from the ongoing pandemic.
Starting March 17, the channel worked with Weber personally for six weeks, bringing six of his professionally-recorded musicals to people’s homes for 48 hours, starting on Fridays. His line up included “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Love Never Dies,” “Andrew Lloyd Weber Celebration at Royal Albert Hall, By Jeeves” and “Cats.”
One of the major standout performances and fan-favorite by viewers was “The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall.” The musical starred Ramin Karimloo in the title role, Sierra Boggess as Christine Daaé and Hadley Fraser as Raoul de Chagny.
Karimloo, returning to the musical after playing both lead male roles in the past and originating the role of the Phantom in the sequel, is a vocal powerhouse unlike any other. An Oliver and Tony award nominee, he is best known for his roles in Weber’s musical “Les Misérables” and “Anastasia.”
The most popular and requested song to be posted after the show had ended however, and my absolute favorite was Karimloo’s rendition of “The Music of the Night.” Karimloo’s raw and heart-warming voice fully encapsulates the song and makes it one of the most memorable moments in the entire show. Along with “The Music of the Night,” Karimloo’s duet with Boggess, “The Point of No Return” was also highly requested. The entire duet shows the amazing range of both stars, but the most climactic moment is when Karimloo transitions the song into a reprise of “All I Ask of You,” in a beautifully heart-wrenching way.
“The Phantom of the Opera” was my absolute favorite show that was broadcast, since none outshine Karimloo. His character had such gravity that made me so excited whenever he was on screen. His vocals were some of the best, if not the best, in the entire show and makes his performance even more stunning. He fully captures the looks and feeling of the Phantom, and he shows some of the most beautiful emotion even with half of his face covered. Seeing Karimloo as the Phantom in the musical or the sequel is a definite bucket list item for me.
After Weber’s musical collection ended, the channel began to broadcast the live musicals done by different studios, such as NBC. This lineup included “The Sound of Music Live,” “Peter Pan Live,” “Hairspray Live,” “The Wiz Live” and “Michael Flatley: Celtic Tiger.”
During the live shows, the culture of the nation began to change; as a result, the channel took one week off in solidarity with the protests, and when they returned, donations made through the channel would not only benefit actors and arts workers, but also charities and movements working for equality.
A live show that is not only a fan favorite, but was also used to help spread the idea of equality was “Hairspray Live.” The show, a classic for all ages, was perfectly timed to help promote the present causes. Another show that was shown during the crucial time was “The Wiz Live,” a musical retelling of “The Wizard of Oz,” with Amber Riley, Mary J Blige, Queen Latifa and Neyo as some of the amazing cast members.
After showing the live shows and the wonderful Weber clips, “The Shows Must Go On” announced they would be taking a break from airing shows and were to return this fall. To end the first season, they replayed the first show broadcast, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” starring Donny Osmond in the title role and Maria Friedman as the Narrator.
From March to May, “The Shows Must Go On” brought the joys of musical theater back to fans who were overjoyed to see it continue despite the pandemic. Overall, the channel is something that every fan of live theater must check out. The next season of shows starts Sept. 25. No matter what the next show is, I cannot wait to watch and enjoy the shows from home.

 

5/5 Stars- Alexa Ogilvie