Broadway theaters are closed, but that won't stop the cast of Sing Street, a musical that was set to premiere pre-pandemic, from raising their voices on Thursday evening during a Facebook Live presentation.
Developed with creative agency Droga5, production house Smuggler and director Henry-Alex Rubin, the performances were pre-recorded—with cast members in the U.S., U.K. and Ireland singing and playing Sing Street selections from their respective homes, with some multimedia flash tossed in.
Based on the 2016 film of the same name, and set in early-'80s Dublin, the story focuses on a teenager who forms a band to impress a girl. It shares some themes with modern times, such as rampant unemployment and the burning hope for a brighter future.
"Sing Street: Grounded—At Home With the Broadway Cast" will premiere on the show's Facebook page. You'll get an ear- and eyeful in the clips below:
Viewers can support the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City and Broadway Cares' Covid-19 Emergency Assistance Fund by using the "Donate" button during the livestream, which will start at 6:30 p.m. EDT. It will also run on demand through May 4.
"Our initial ambition was to help the cast produce the full show, but then we quickly realized we just wouldn't be able to simply replace a complete on-stage performance," Droga5 creative director Lauren Ferreira tells Muse. "So, we consider this as more of an intimate revue from the homes of the cast as they share some songs and personal stories about playing these characters and how they're feeling at this moment in time. It puts you much closer to a Broadway cast than you normally would be."
Droga5 and Smuggler worked with Rubin and technical director Brett Dicus to rehearse and record each scene, then edited the footage into a compelling 30-minute package.
"From a technical side, we orchestrated a performance using only what our performers had in their homes—laptops, tablets, mobile phones, enhanced microphone setups—and software like Zoom, QuickTime, SnapCam," Ferreira says. "We took something often used frivolously—face filters—and turned them into makeup, costumes and elements in the story. Because we didn't have access to equipment, we had to get inventive."
Though the cast members were isolated from one another, characters fight, kiss and exchange phone numbers during the course of the presentation—all through the magic of digital video.
"I don't think you'll feel the physical separation at all," Ferreira says. "If anything, it will feel more intimate, more personal. They say if you want to get to know people, look around their bedroom. And this show is literally from the cast's real rooms in their family homes. We see them in a much vulnerable light than normal, which as a viewer really draws you in."
Spanning eight time zones and produced in just three weeks, the project posed its share of headaches.
"The fact that they were in cramped living quarters with family and roommates made capturing clean takes without a phone ringing, dog barking or curious little sibling or roommate entering the frame a feat in and of itself," Ferreira recalls.
At one point, after a particularly loud jam session, an angry neighbor nearly broke down the door of singer/actor Gus Halper's New York apartment. "We laugh now, but, at the time, we were a bit concerned for him," she says.
Broadway is enjoying something of a coronavirus moment, with the Sing Street project following a star-studded 90th-birthday livestream celebration for composer Stephen Sondheim.
"The best theater has always made us think, feel and escape, and this should be no different, albeit in unusual circumstances," says Droga5 founder and creative chairman David Droga in a statement. "I am so grateful to all the incredible talents from Sing Street for stepping up to help those on our front lines in such a lateral and spontaneous manner and, hopefully, also creating something memorable for millions of us all stranded on the sidelines."
Smuggler co-founder and Sing Street producer Patrick Milling-Smith adds: "We hope this event can be a reminder to us all of how fortunate we really are, how the world needs togetherness, and hopefully touch some hearts and provide a moment to pause and feel joy."
Sing Street Broadway :: Sing Street Grounded
Sing Street Grounded :: Integrated Credits List
Client Sing Street Broadway
Title Sing Street: Grounded
Launch Date 4/28/2020
Agency Droga5 NY
Creative Chairman David Droga
Global Chief Creative Officer Neil Heymann
Creative Director Lauren Ferreira
Sr. Art Director Bastien Grisolet
Associate Creative Director Michael Kleinman
Art Director Astrid Andujar
Copywriter Emily Chang
Art Director Bowook Yoon
Copywriter Mia Madrid
Executive Design Director Rich Greco
Group Experience Design Director Craig Wong
Chief Creation Officer Sally-Ann Dale
Director of Innovation Justin Durazzo
Senior Producer Alyssa Cashman
Producer, Film Stephanie Hill
Producer, Interactive Hannah Ades
Group Communications Strategy Director Yan Wang
Sr Communications Strategist Tattiana Bamba
Account Director Rosalie Bonner
PR & Communications Director Danny Hernandez
PR & Communications Coordinator Samantha Cavanagh
Project Manager Christine DiStasio
Director of Business Affairs Dan Simonetti
Business Affairs Manager Ann-Marie Turbitt
Production Company SMUGGLER
Co-founder / Executive Producer Patrick John Milling-Smith
Director Henry-Alex Rubin
Co-founder / Executive Producer Brian Carmody
Executive Producer Drew Santarsiero
Line Producer Alec Sash
Head of Production Alex Hughes
Technical Producer Brett Dicus
Chief Operating Officer Andrew Colón
Production Consultant Mark Perez
Editor Vito DeCandia
Post Supervisor Filip Ilic
Sound Engineer Greg Kanan
Company Sing Street Company
Director Rebecca Taichman
Producer Barbara Broccoli
Producer Patrick John Milling-Smith
Executive Producer Patrick Daly
Executive Producer Alecia Parker
Composer / Lyricist Gary Clark
Music Supervisor, Orchestrations Peter Gordeno
Music Director Fred Lassen
General Manager Marcia Goldberg
Production Stage Manager Matt DiCarlo
Editorial Lost Planet
Senior Editor Charlie Johnston
Senior Cutting Assistant Steven San Miguel
Executive Producer Krystn Wagenberg
Senior Producer / Head of Production Casey Cayko
VFX Method Studios
EVP Mg Dir NA Advertising and Production Stuart Robinson
Executive Producer Jesse Kurnit
Creative Director Warren Paleos
Executive Creative Director Randie Swanberg
Senior Design Producer Emily Schaeberle
VFX Assistant Nico Johnson
Production Coordinator Kyle Fader
Flame Artists Ian Holland
Creative Technology Oleg Pashkovsky
Sound - Supervision & Design JSM Music
CCO / Executive Producer Joel Simon
Sound Design Nathan Kil
Sound - Mix Heard City
Mixer Jeremy Siegel
Producer Andi Lewis
Darren: Max Bartos
Gary: Brendan C. Callahan
Robert: Billy Carter
Raphina: Zara Devlin
Declan (drummer): Anthony Genovesi
Brendan: Gus Halper
Larry: Jakeim Hart
Brother Baxter: Martin Moran
Sandra: Anne L. Nathan
Barry: Johnny Newcomb
Conor: Brenock O’Connor
Kevin: Gian Perez
Eamon: Sam Poon
Anne: Skyler Volpe
Penny: Amy Warren
Set list below:
"Love and Stars"
"Drive it Like you Stole It"
"To Find You"