My theatrical friends, prepare to lose valuable work time because there’s a new procrastination destination on the web.
New York’s PBS station WNET/Thirteen, in partnership with the producers of the upcoming revival of Annie, today launched an immersive online experience for “kids” designed to introduce them to Broadway and provide an historical context for the show’s depression era setting. Judging by the hour I just lost clicking around the site, I think they might be limiting their audience; it’s a hoot for theater queens, history buffs or anyone who has ever belted out “Tomorrow” at the top of their lungs. (I have recordings of my 8 year old self doing just that — boy soprano belter that I was.)
In my first frenzied exploration I:
- learned that I’m a master of 30’s era slang but can’t tell a Pepper from a Molly in two fun quizzes (with applause ringing out after every correct answer);
- downloaded a recipe book featuring “mush” and “baked alaska” which will now be the inspiration for an Annie-themed dinner party (though I’ll have to find my cocktail recipes elsewhere…it is PBS after all);
- watched charming (and actually informative) video interviews with the likes of director James Lapine and choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler highlighting who does what on a Broadway show;
- and, coolest of all, took a tour of 1930’s New York City, with before and after images that will astonish and make you a little misty eyed (the Roxy is now a TGIF!?)
All of this info is, of course, intended to promote the Broadway production and an upcoming PBS making-of documentary, It’s the Hard-Knock Life: From Script to Stage, but the site doesn’t push the hard sell. And that’s no bunco!