Broadway isn’t accessible for everyone. Unless you live in the tri-state area and are willing to splurge on tickets and transportation, or are willing to travel to the Big Apple and drop a few hundred bucks on tickets, hotel, transportation, and anything else a trip may contain, the chances of you seeing a Broadway show are very slim.
I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve seen many Broadway shows just in the past year because I live less than an hour outside of the city and I’m able to pay for myself. So, how can someone who doesn’t have the funds to see a show live simply see the show? Through bootlegs.
Bootlegs are illegal recordings of shows, movies, concerts (yes, it’s technically illegal to record concerts), etc. Recently, Kristolyn Lloyd, who plays Alana in Dear Evan Hansen took to Twitter to comment on bootleggers.
I dislike audience members who film shows about as much as I dislike our current #POTUS. If you see something SAY SOMETHING! Don’t let people around take pictures or record. Actors actually appreciate it when they are told to stop by fellow ticket buyers! #accountability
— Kristolyn Lloyd (@KristolynLloyd) January 13, 2018
Lloyd saying she dislikes audience members who film shows about as much as she dislikes our current President? Not cool. There is in no way that Trump and bootleggers are even remotely similar.
Bootlegs make shows more accessible. It allows a fan following to build and creates a deeper bond between fan and art than just listening to a soundtrack does.
This isn’t the first time a cast member of Dear Evan Hansen took to Twitter about bootleggers. Mike Faist, who plays Connor Murphy in the show, created a thread about his experience with a woman in the audience recording the show.
Tonight that ride and bond between audience and players was ruined by a woman recording our show.
— Mike Faist (@Mike_Faist) July 1, 2017
In 2015, Hamilton composer and actor responded to a post on Tumblr of someone seeking a bootleg of the show.
“here I am/patiently waiting for a bootleg of Hamilton/I mean it’s been nine whole days what’s the holdup?”, the user, capt-mom, wrote.
Another user had replied, asking, “Well then can you record it and post it on CBS or something so that us poor people who can’t afford to pay for a show can have the privilege of seeing it too?”
Miranda responded and explained. “Oh, I’ve caused a shitstorm. Sorry. I barely understand Tumblr (I’m much better at the Twitter, I just have an account so I can see the lovely arts n crafts some of you make on here). We’re going to make a really good recording of the show this summer and I want you to hear that. I’m thrilled you haven’t heard a shitty, half-iphone recorded version yet, because I spent 6 years writing this and when you hear it, I want you to hear what I intended. I’m sorry theater only exists in one place at a time but that is also its magic. A bootleg cannot capture it. I’m grateful and glad you want to hear it, and I want you to hear it RIGHT. I ask your patience. This is Lin, by the way. Do I click reblog now? What is th..”
Shaming fans for watching bootlegs is unconsciously classicist. Why should someone be prevented from watching a show just because they can’t afford it?
i understand that bootlegging is a controversial topic but the fact of the matter is that bootlegs allow those who don’t have to resources to go to a bway show to experience excellent theatre
— julianna (@juliannugh) January 14, 2018
anyway I love bootlegs and classist/elitist bway actors aren’t gonna make me stop trading/watching/listening to them !
— zoe! 18 (@karenoIivo) January 14, 2018
the amount of classism in the broadway community is extremely upsetting. if you don’t want bootlegs being spread, then start to take the steps needed for shows to be professionally recorded and shared instead of being locked away from young theatre fans who can’t see shows live
— the infamous tess (@tesswalshh) January 14, 2018
Lena Hall, best known for playing Yitzhak/Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch even posted a clip from a bootleg she found online as build-up to a Hedwig-related announcement she had, telling her followers that she “found this gem online” and to “enjoy”.
It’s understood that bootlegs are illegal. It’s known that these recordings take money out of the pockets of the actors, creators, composers, and everyone else on staff. But at the end of the day, they still walk away with money in their pocket and people still go see their show, bootleg or not.