Broadway Sensation ‘Hamilton’ Will be Released July 3 on Disney Plus to Combat Our Shelter-in-Place Blues

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s critically acclaimed Broadway musical will be making its screen debut much earlier than originally announced with the help of Disney+, The Walt Disney Company’s streaming service. The film, directed by Thomas Kail, will give audiences at home “the best seat in the house” according to Miranda.

The original Broadway production of Hamilton astounded audiences and critics alike when it premiered in 2015. The musical tells the story of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, with some modern twists. The show’s music is heavily influenced by hip hop, R&B, pop and soul, as well as more traditional show tune styles. The casting is consciously diverse, with people of color playing Founding Fathers and other historical figures.

This modernized take on American history won 11 Tony Awards, a Grammy Award, and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, among many other accolades for the original staging and subsequent productions.  

With all the hype comes a difficulty in obtaining tickets. After continually selling out on Broadway, Hamilton went on the road with a North American tour in 2017. Tickets were notoriously difficult to get and many that weren’t able to attend have been waiting for the second round of touring, which will hit the West Coast next year—in time for COVID-19 closures to hopefully be at an end.

Perhaps in response to the public’s inability to access live theatre in recent months, The Walt Disney Company, along with show producers Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeffrey Seller and Thomas Kail, decided to fast track the release of the film. Originally planned to be released on October 15, 2021, it will now be available to all Disney+ subscribers on July 3—just in time for Independence Day celebrations.

“I’m so grateful to Disney and Disney+ for reimagining and moving up our release to July 4th weekend of this year, in light of the world turning upside down,” Miranda stated. “I’m so grateful to all the fans who asked for this, and I’m so glad that we’re able to make it happen. I’m so proud of this show. I can’t wait for you to see it.”

The version to be released was filmed at The Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway in 2016. The cast includes Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton; Daveed Diggs as Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson; Renée Elise Goldsberry as Angelica Schuyler; Leslie Odom, Jr. as Aaron Burr; Tony Award nominees Christopher Jackson as George Washington; Jonathan Groff as King George; Phillipa Soo as Eliza Hamilton; and Jasmine Cephas Jones as Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds; Okieriete Onaodowan as Hercules Mulligan/James Madison; and Anthony Ramos as John Laurens/Philip Hamilton.

Can’t wait to see the show from home? Check out our special edition Encore arts program that was published for the Broadway touring production that came to The Paramount Theatre in Seattle in 2018.   

Broadway at the Paramount - Hamilton

GiveBIG 2020 Raises Over $18 Million for Local Nonprofits

The two-day fundraising event raised $18.4 million for 1,630 nonprofit organizations in Washington. There were over 88,300 individual donations that were made on May 5 and 6.

This year’s donations have far surpassed those of 2019, suggesting that increasing the event from a single day to two days was a smart move. In addition to extending the event, GiveBIG collaborated with GivingTuesday, a global generosity movement that culminates in a day of global giving (May 5). GiveBIG recognized the increased need from nonprofits due to COVID-19 and stepped up with increased social action and partnerships to respond effectively.

In 2018, GiveBIG was in danger of disappearing after the Seattle Foundation, who had managed and promoted the event since 2011, announced they wouldn’t continue the following year. However, 501 Commons stepped in and worked closely with the Seattle Foundation to become GiveBIG’s new home in 2019.

Understandably, the change in command caused some growing pains that affected the total donation amount. Last year—the first with 501 Commons managing the event—raised $11.4 million. No pocket change, but also not as impressive as the numbers before the organizational changes.

But this year, with their legs under them, new partnerships, and an extended deadline, GiveBIG 2020 has surpassed their goal and raised the most in donations since 2016. Considering we are currently in a time of a global pandemic, with many people out of work and certainly everyone trying to save money, it is astounding—and inspiring—that this year’s GiveBIG was such a success. You only need to look at the numbers to see that in times of crisis we will still come together to invest in the organizations that ensure our community thrives.

You can check out GiveBIG’s leaderboard to see how much each nonprofit raised this year.

Seattle Shakespeare Cancels Their Outdoor Summer Program, Wooden O

Seattle Shakespeare Company’s Wooden O was scheduled to run July 9–August 9, and present The Comedy of Errors and Othello.

A day after Washington Governor Inslee announced the extension of the stay-at-home order and the multi-staged plan for the summer months, Seattle Shakespeare has announced that their free Shakespeare in the park program, Wooden O, is canceled. Although expected, it is just one more disappointment of our current reality.

Seattle Shakespeare Artistic Director George Mount sited the health and wellbeing of patrons, artists and staff to be paramount, even if it means canceling their entire summer of performances.

However, Mount hinted that audiences should still expect some form of entertainment from Seattle Shakespeare, stating, “We do hold out hope that some make-shift, impromptu, pop-up events or online surprises could happen, if safe conditions and guidelines allow. Stay tuned for any and everything. As we’ve all experienced in the last several weeks, things change rapidly and often unexpectedly.”

Twenty-six years ago, Wooden O had its inaugural season with three performances of Much Ado About Nothing at Luther Burbank Park on Mercer Island. Since then it has grown, now touring 14 different parks around the region from Everett to Tacoma. Last summer, Wooden O performed to more than 12,000 patrons over two months—all free of charge.

As daunting as current circumstances may be, for audiences and the theatre, Seattle Shakespeare is looking forward to the summer of 2021, when they will perform the plays they planned for this year, The Comedy of Errors and Othello. So let’s look forward with them, to a time when we can pack a picnic basket, spread out a blanket, and enjoy a performance of Shakespeare in our beautiful parks.

During this difficult time, theatres are being hit especially hard. Seattle Shakespeare Company is currently throwing their annual fundraiser, Bill’s Bash. Now through May 4, you can make a donation, host a mini-bash with your friends, and register for the silent auction. The live auction and celebration will take place on May 3 at 5:30 p.m.   

Pacific Northwest Ballet Will Stream Three Ballets for Free to the Public

Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) has announced that they will be releasing video recordings of three ballets from their repertoire for free: One Thousand Pieces (2020), Swan Lake (2018), and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2019). The entire run of One Thousand Pieces was unfortunately canceled earlier this season due to COVID-19, so this recorded performance is entirely new to the public.

In addition to the three ballets that will be released for anyone to view for free, PNB will be releasing two more ballets—Giselle (2014) and Waiting at the Station (2013)—to donors, subscribers, and ticket purchasers of the respective ballets. The videos will be released over the next two months, beginning this evening, May 1 with One Thousand Pieces. The videos will be available on PNB’s Facebook page and their YouTube channel.

Over the past month we have seen numerous organizations move from the stage to the screen, doing everything they can to stay connected to their audiences during these tumultuous times. PNB Artistic Director Peter Boal spoke to our new reality, saying, “It’s hard to imagine a ballet company that doesn’t offer live performances, but in this new world we live in, we adapt as best we can. At PNB, we keep dancing, making music, creating choreography and lifting spirits. We see ballet as an essential art form and we know our audiences do too. How proud we are to share these inspired rehearsals and performances with you.”

Pacific Northwest Ballet earns over 75% of its funding through ticket sales and the PNB School tuition, much of which has been lost. So as you tune in, consider donating to the wonderful dancers, musicians, administrative and artistic staff that are bringing the ballet to your home. Donate to Pacific Northwest Ballet.  

One Thousand Pieces

May 1–6, 2020 (available to the public)

This ballet by Seattle-favorite Alejandro Cerrudo (Little mortal jump, Silent Ghost), was to be a Pacific Northwest Ballet premiere. The large-scale ensemble work is inspired by artist Marc Chagall and features the music of Philip Glass. This video was recorded at the final dress rehearsal on March 12, 2020.


May 8–13, 2020 (available to donors, subscribers and Giselle ticket holders)

Giselle, the story of a young woman who dies of a broken heart, is famous for the Wilis—a sisterhood of ghostly maidens who call Giselle’s spirit from the grave to take revenge on the nobleman who betrayed her. This production uses the choreography of Jean Coralli, Jules Perrot, Marius Petipa, and Peter Boal, with music by Adolphe Adam. This is an archival video from opening night on May 30, 2014, featuring Kaori Nakamura and Jerome Tisserand.

Company dancers in Kent Stowell's Swan Lake
Swan Lake

May 22–27, 2020 (available to the public)

Ever since Kent Stowell’s stunning new production of Swan Lake marked the grand opening of McCaw Hall, audiences have been awestruck by its transcendent beauty and power. This most famous of classical ballets is a tour de force on all levels: Tchaikovsky’s glorious score, spectacular costume and scenic designs, plus a ballerina’s hallmark achievement, the dual role of Odette/Odile. This video was recorded at the final dress rehearsal on February 1, 2018, featuring Noelani Pantastico and Seth Orza.

Waiting at the Station

June 5–10, 2020 (available to donors, subscribers and Pite-Tharp-Liang ticket holders)

Waiting at the Station is a short narrative ballet choreographed by Twyla Tharp and set to a collection of compositions—both old and new—by R&B artist Allen Toussaint. Scenic and costume designs by Santo Loquasto set the scene in 1940’s New Orleans. This video was recorded at the final dress rehearsal on September 27, 2013.This video release will also include tributes to departing dancers Benjamin Griffiths and Margaret Mullin.

Jonathan Porretta in George Balanchine's Midsummer Night's Dream
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

June 24–29, 2020 (available to the public)

A garden of delight for all ages, PNB’s production of George Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream—Shakespeare’s comic tale of romantic confusion—charms all who wander into its enchanted realm. Set deep in a lush Northwest-inspired forest, the ballet follows the quarrels of the King and Queen of the Fairies and mayhem of mismatched lovers, abetted by mischief-maker Puck. This video was recorded at the final dress rehearsal on April 11, 2019, featuring Laura Tisserand and Kyle Davis.

‘Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin’ Live From Italy

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, and Seattle Rep are providing tickets to their audiences for a one-night-only musical event that will be live streamed on May 10 from Florence, Italy.

Hershey Felder will give a one-time-only performance this Mother’s Day as “the immigrant songwriter who gave America a voice.” The event, live streamed from Florence, will be presented and hosted by Hershey Felder Presents, but tickets are being sold by regional theatres across the country, including Seattle Rep, TheatreWorks and Berkeley Rep. A portion of the ticket sales will go back to the regional theatres, so theatres are asking patrons to purchase from the theatre they’d like to support.  

Hershey Felder has found himself quarantined in Florence during these unprecedented times. In a letter to audiences he said, “As otherworldly as it is here, I am still drawn to the many theatres that have given me homes over the years, and so together we have created a nationwide event paying tribute to America’s greatest songwriter, Irving Berlin. Proceeds from this event will benefit each of the many participating theatres throughout the nation.”

Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin, which has been performed in theatres nationally and internationally, features beloved songs such as “God Bless America,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” “White Christmas” and more. They will be performed on a set created as Irving Berlin’s home on Beekman Place in Manhattan, safely in a quarantined space.

Hershey Felder stated that in addition to the original performance he will be performing, “new additional material that speaks to our times, as well as a few surprises.” Also, audiences will be able to ask questions, sent in by text, which he will answer live.   

Tickets for the event are available for $50 per household through Seattle Rep, TheatreWorks and Berkeley Rep. The event will be streamed on May 10 at 5 p.m. PST, 7 p.m. CST, 8 p.m. EST. The performance will be available to view for 72 hours after the event and runs for 1 hour and 45 minutes, plus a 10-minute talkback.

Updated May 4, 2020: Updated to include Seattle Rep as an additional theatre which is selling tickets to the performance. Previous versions only included TheatreWorks and Berkeley Rep.

Keep the Kids Busy: Activities and Educational Resources From Performing Arts Organizations

Are you at your wits end trying to come up with ways to keep your children occupied during the shelter-in-place order? With many people in the country social distancing for the past month, and facing a few more weeks, finding new activities for kids may seem impossible.

Local arts organizations understand the difficulty and are offering a myriad of ways to help. We’ve assembled a list of performing arts organizations from the Greater Seattle Area and San Francisco Bay Area that are providing both educational and fun resources for toddlers to teens. These range from arts and crafts, to sing-alongs, to reading resources. So grab those kids and embrace the home life.

Literary Study

California Shakespeare Theater is offering its library of in-depth study guides to support students, teachers, and parents during school closures. Dive into MacbethA Midsummer Night’s Dream, black odyssey, and many more. View full guide list.  

This Friday and the following week, you and your teen can join Seattle Rep on Zoom for their book club on Jane Austen’s Emma. The book club will discuss themes, characters and adapting the story for the stage. Plus, they will host a teens-only discussion following the general public portion of the book club where they will host activities like chapter discussions and writing exercises. Join now.

Music and Sing-alongs

Every Saturday morning, Seattle Opera presents Opera Time, a musical storytelling program lead by a teaching artist. Opera Time is appropriate for children in pre-K through 2nd Grade. This week’s installment features an easy at-home craft (make your own shaker instrument—out of an empty toilet paper roll!) and an interactive, sing-along reading of children’s book Mortimer. View videos all on YouTube.

Every week, Seattle Symphony presents new family programming videos for young ones. Meet the Instrument teaches children about orchestra instruments by musicians of the Symphony. Tiny Clips for Tiny Tots is hosted by John Turman (read our interview with him here) and includes sing-alongs and musical clips shared by members of the orchestra. This week’s focus is on percussion. View all videos on YouTube.   

Arts, Crafts and More

Seattle Children’s Theatre is offering daily activities as part of the SCT @ Home program. With an aim of keeping small hands and minds busy, the activities include games, coloring pages, drama activities, crafts and more. The range from fun to educational, including subjects like social and emotional learning from The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane or puppet building from PinocchioView all activities here.

Seattle Children’s Theatre is also presenting Ghost Light Stories every Friday evening. These 15-minute episodes take a look at things that scare us, thrill us, and ignite courage. The stories are hosted by Kathryn Van Meter, interim artistic director. View videos here.

California Shakespeare Theater is challenging all K through 12th Grade students to perform their favorite 90-second Shakespearean monologue and to upload it to social media as part of #ShelterHereabouts K–12 Edition. When uploading the video, use the hashtags #ShelterHereabouts, #Calshakes, and #CreateAtHome, and tag @calshakes and @calshakesconservatory. Cal Shakes will repost on their social media platforms and website for all to enjoy.

Seattle Shakespeare Company is inviting you and the kids to participate in a Shakes-bear Hunt. As part of a nation-wide effort to provide a bright spot during this time, people are placing bears in their windows for children (and adults!) to find as they spend time outside. Seattle Shakespeare is inviting you to join in with Ruffles Shakesbear. They’ve created their own bear that you and your kids can print out and place in the window of your home for others to find. And if you happen to see Ruffles when you are out and about, be sure to take a picture and tag @seattleshakespeare.

Six Ways to Celebrate Shakespeare’s Birthday

This week, we celebrate William Shakespeare’s birth. While the exact day of the Bard’s birth is contested, it is generally observed on April 23, which is also the day he died 52 years later. With social distancing, stress and sickness affecting our everyday lives, it is the perfect time to lose ourselves in the Forest of Arden, or get swept up in the passion of young lovers. Even losing our minds along with a young prince may seem preferable for an afternoon. So to help lose ourselves in the worlds and words of the Bard, and to honor his life, we’ve compiled a list of ways to celebrate.

Romeo and Juliet

Former Shakespeare’s Globe Artistic Director Dominic Dromgoole’s 2009 production brings refreshing clarity to one of Shakespeare’s most famous and best-loved tragedies, drawing out the contemporary relevance of this passionate teenage love story. This production from Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is streaming for free through May 3. Watch on YouTube.

Much Ado About Nothing

For the first time in over four decades, Great Performances presents a Public Theater production recorded live at Free Shakespeare in the Park. After a highly successful, critically acclaimed run at the outdoor Delacorte Theater in New York City’s Central Park, Much Ado About Nothing is a bold interpretation of Shakespeare’s comedic masterpiece featuring Danielle Brooks as Beatrice. This recording is available through March 26. Watch now.

Run the Canon

A 10-minute weekly video lecture series with Resident Dramaturg of California Shakespeare Theater Philippa Kelly. Covering every single one of Shakespeare’s 37 plays over 37 weeks, Kelly will bring the same breadth and insight that she does to her famous pre-show Grove Talks. Watch on Youtube: The Tempest and Love’s Labour’s Lost.

Ruff Reads

Seattle Shakespeare Company will host a free live stream reading of Romeo and Juliet with the cast of the company’s spring touring production. The live stream event will be hosted by Artistic Director George Mount with Education Director Michelle Burce serving as moderator. A brief Q&A session will follow the reading. The event will take place on April 25 at 7:30 p.m. Watch on YouTube.

Interactive Study Guides

California Shakespeare Theater is offering their library of in-depth study guides for teachers, students and Shakespeare enthusiasts everywhere. The study guides include plot summary, character descriptions, histories of the plays, study of Shakespeare’s language and more. View the full archive.

Encore Arts Programs

Explore our archive of programs for productions from Seattle Shakespeare Company and California Shakespeare Theater to dive deeper into the shows they’ve produced in the past. Programs include notes from the dramaturg and creative team, information on the play, and other articles.

SSC019 Tempest 2019

Bay Area Artists Participate in Play at Home Project

Julia Cho, Min Kahng and Peter Sinn Nachtrieb are among a growing list of playwrights who are contributing to Play at Home, a new project that commissions playwrights to write a short play that becomes available to the public via a free download.

As many theatres around the country have been canceling performances, and entire seasons, a group including Baltimore Center Stage, Long Wharf Theatre, The Public Theater, Repertory Theater of St Louis, and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company began a project to help keep people connected through live theatre. Since starting, more theatres around the country have joined in. Through these micro-commissions, the group aims to support freelance artists, to get people offline and immersed in live theatre, and to inspire joy, imagination and connection.  

Today, Berkeley Repertory Theatre announced that three Bay Area writers have joined Play at Home and will each be writing a 10-minute play that can be performed by people in their own homes. Each play, written over the course of 3-5 days, is intended to be imaginative, playful and joyful.

Johanna Pfaelzer, the artistic director of Berkeley Rep, looks forward to the collaboration, stating, “We are thrilled to participate in Play at Home and to be able to include three Bay Area writers who have each previously participated in Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor Summer Residency Lab. In a moment in which we are all longing for connection, this initiative allows us to connect artists we believe in with audiences who we know will welcome the gift of these writers’ imaginations. I hope people will create something from the artists’ work that will amuse and delight them, and that they will then share that work with us via their own social media platforms.”

In addition to Julia Cho (Aubergine), Min Kahng (Where the Mountain Meets the Moon) and Peter Sinn Nachtrieb (Fall Springs), participating playwrights include Lauren Yee, Michael R. Jackson, Aleshea Harris, Anna Ziegler, and Heather Raffo, among others.  

With the list of theatres and playwrights involved growing, Play at Home offers a fantastic library of short plays for anyone and everyone to enjoy. They can be read and acted alone or with friends and family (virtually or in-person). So get up off the couch for 10 minutes and be a part of live theatre from your home. And don’t forget to share and connect via social media by tagging #PlayAtHome.

View the collection of plays and playwrights here.

ArtsFund Names Michael Greer as New President and CEO

The Seattle-based non-profit has appointed Michael Greer as their new president and CEO after an extensive national search. He will assume leadership from the interim CEO Susan M. Coliton on June 8.

Michael Greer has been executive director of Oregon Ballet Theatre since 2017 and his experience spans both for-profit and non-profit sectors. Greer was selected for the position after a national search conducted by a committee comprised of ArtsFund trustees and external cultural and civic partners including Michael Brown (Seattle Foundation), Bernie Griffin (The 5th Avenue Theatre) and Beth Takekawa (Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience).

Discussing the selection, Griffin stated, “As a candidate, Michael stood out with his unique combination of the passion and creativity of the artist and the business acumen and political sensitivity of an executive. As a dynamic new leader in the Puget Sound arts community, Michael’s deep understanding of the value organizations large and small contribute to a healthy arts ecosystem will be vital to crafting innovative partnerships and strategies to help our sector, and our community at large, recover and rebuild.”

Before serving as the executive director of the largest professional dance company in Oregon, Greer was the executive director of the Portland Ballet in Maine. Greer also has experience in advocacy positions, serving as a Trustee on the Oregon Arts Commission, Cultural Advocacy Coalition, and the United Way of Greater Portland.

In addition to his previous executive positions, Greer was a dancer with Ballet West in Salt Lake City, where he was the first black dancer in company history. He danced professionally for six years before retiring at 24.

Greer looks forward to the future and his new position, stating, “King County, and the Pacific Northwest more broadly, is at the forefront of the next generation of global leadership. The industries represented in this community have an amplified voice on the world stage and will be instrumental in shaping our future. I want to ensure that arts and culture are part of that conversation. The institutions that ArtsFund supports represent a diverse, inclusive, and truly world-class cross-section of what King County has to offer. I want to be a part of supporting those institutions as they share those values with the world.”

Performing Arts Podcasts and Playlists to Stream

We’ve gathered some of the best performing arts podcasts and playlists to stream this week at home. Dive deeper into opera and theatre productions with podcasts, or listen to symphony and musical recordings. Whether you need some new background music for working from home or you just need to escape for a few minutes, we’ve got you covered.

Repisodes: The Berkeley Rep Podcast

Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s Repisode series focuses on the mainstage plays in their season. The podcasts are conversations with artists and experts around the shows to give listeners a more in-depth look at the performance and background of the play.

The guests of the podcast vary widely from Jocelyn Bioh, playwright of School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play, to local Wiccan priestess Carolyn Hunt who was a consultant for Berkeley Rep for the production of Becky Nurse of Salem.

Repisodes cover performances from the end of the 2017-18 season to the current season. Listen on iTunes or SoundCloud.   

Opera for the Soul

In addition to posting daily videos of resident artists performing uplifting songs from home (Odes to Joy), San Francisco Opera has a variety of playlists available to stream. The curated playlists feature beloved San Francisco Opera performers and range from upbeat to personal staff favorites. Listen on Spotify.

Seattle Opera Podcasts and Playlists

With 47 episodes available, Seattle Opera’s podcast offers hours of listening material with a variety of focuses. The topics range from “Opera and Literature” to “Opera 101.” Each episode gives listeners insight into the music and drama of beloved operas. Listen on iTunes or SoundCloud.

Get ready for Seattle Opera’s 2020-21 season with their new playlists. You can listen to the highlights of the whole season, or choose one opera to delve into. Upset that La bohème was cancelled? Listen to playlist to help fill the void. Listen on Soundcloud.

Seattle Symphony Playlists

Seattle Symphony has many recorded performances available to stream. A few favorites include John Luther Adams’ Become Desert, conducted by Ludovic Morlot with the Seattle Symphony Chorale; The Rite of Spring by Stravinsky, conducted by Gerard Schwarz; or the complete symphonies of Tchaikovsky. Listen on Spotify.

Theatreworks Silicon Valley: The Prince of Egypt

Stream the original London cast recording of The Prince of Egypt musical, which had its world premiere at TheatreWorks in 2017. Inspired by the DreamWorks Animation film and featuring a score that includes the Academy Award-winning “When You Believe” by the composer and lyricist of Wicked, Stephen Schwartz. Listen to full musical recording on Spotify and watch TheatreWorks’ performance of “Through “Heaven’s Eyes” below.