Broadway Shows Are Starting To Allow You To Film The Shows, But According To Their Rules


Lin Manuel Miranda and James Monroe Iglehart  in Freestyle Love Supreme Broadway

Filming a show on Broadway is typically and historically against the rules and illegal, with the making, sharing, and watching of so called bootlegs or 'slime tutorials' being shunned by most significant figures in the Broadway community. But recently some shows have begun to loosen the rules regarding filming at least somewhat.

No show currently allows unlimited recording or photography throughout an entire performance, to better allow audiences to enjoy the show uninterrupted, but shows are begining to create special moments for the audience to take a photo or video of the show.

Be More Chill On Broadway Curtain Call Bows

Prior to the pandemic, shows were beginning to allow photos during bows, but this has recently expanded tremendously amid the reopening of Broadway, with specific moments being created for exactly this purpose.

This is a massive change for Broadway. Only a few years ago many shows banned even taking a photo of the set before the show, so now allowing photos or video of performers is a massive departure from historic theater industry trends. Freestyle Love Supreme significantly made you lock up your phone during the initial run of the show.

Bruce Springsteen After a Performance of Springsteen On Broadway

But this is changing, and even shows that used to have strict no filming policies have jumped on the trend. Freestyle Love Supreme during their 2021 remount allowed theater goers to film the last number in the show. The 2021 run of Springsteen On Broadway created a moment to take photos of its iconic star. Many shows have also lightened photography rules during their curtain calls.

This all comes amid the absence of the stage door experience, which had become increasingly popular in recent years. By allowing photos or even video during even small parts of the show, the shows can replace some of the social media buzz the stage door created during a time when that practice is not possible.

Six The Musical Broadway Set After Megasix

The trend is not absolute however, with union rules preventing some expansion of this practice. Six The Musical became famous in part through its Megasix practice, where audiences were encouraged to record the final number of the show, causing it to spread quickly online. But the Broadway run of the show is not allowing this practice due to rules for Broadway performances, although whether the ban is being enforced could be debated based on the audience during the performance of the show I saw.

Allowing the recording of even a small part of the show makes theater more accessible to the masses. As the release of Hamilton on Disney Plus, Come From Away on Apple TV+, and numerous other proshots of Broadway productions have proven, there is an audience for theater beyond the exclusive crowd it has typically catered too.

This is showing a new balance between preserving the theater experience, and sharing it with the world. Broadway is evolving and is finally embracing the digital world to some extent rather than rejecting it. Only time will tell where this trend will end.

Caroline or Change 2021 Revival Playbill In Front of Stage

In the meantime, if you are visiting a show, be sure to follow whatever rules it has in place. Broadway is still incredibly strict with the rules they have, even if they are changing, and not following them can have serious consequences. Taking photos or video when you are not allowed too is disruptive and can get you in major trouble.

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