April 2, 2023


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Meet Broadway’s Most In-Demand Livestream Director – Variety

2 min read

A note to creators looking to make theater during the coronavirus lockdown: “Zoom is not the answer to everything.”

Listen to this week’s “Stagecraft” podcast below:

That’s advice from Paul Wontorek, the Broadway.com editor in chief who has, in recent weeks, become Broadway’s go-to livestream director for the theater world’s highest-profile isolation offerings, from the Rosie O’Donnell special to “Buyer & Cellar” to Stephen Sondheim’s 90th birthday celebration. On the new episode of “Stagecraft,” Variety‘s theater podcast, Wontorek shared some of the hard-won wisdom he’s gained as creators and producers figure out how to put on a show in the age of social distancing.

“Audio for me is very important,” he said. “I also think it’s important for the actors to really engage with the camera. … If you have an actor on the left and an actor on the right, it’s important that eyelines meet. It’s weird; you can actually pull off intimacy if you do it right, and if the actors are committed to it and go that extra level. Where the script is on their computers in front of them is really important, [too].”

He added, “You can make the experience as good as possible for the audience if you really think about how they will connect with the actors and the story.”

Also on the new episode of “Stagecraft,” Wontorek talked through the difficulties of comedy and live music in streaming shows, and revealed that he’s still having nightmares about the stress of producing livestreams. He also predicted that theater fans will be seeing more and more livestreams as the shutdown continues.

“It’s cheap,” he said. “There are a lot of really cheap options, and that’s why it’s not really about the money. We’ve produced a lot of these things with very little. It’s more about creativity. It’s more about how you push the platforms. We’re still learning, and we’re going to see a lot more of these happening over the summer.”

New episodes of “Stagecraft” are available every Tuesday. Download and subscribe to “Stagecraft” on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and anywhere finer podcasts are dispensed. Find past episodes here and on Apple Podcasts.

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