WOODSTOCK – “Frankenstein” is coming to the Woodstock Opera House’s newly installed big screen. The 22-foot wide screen overtakes the 24-foot wide stage to broadcast this live stage performance, the first of the new programming initiative with content from Britain’s National Theatre Live, Canada’s Stratford Festival and Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet.
The Paragon Series V by Draper Inc. screen and a new digital projector were purchased this year with money gifted from the Woodstock Fine Arts Association from the Fiske Family in memory of Darlene Fiske.
The new programming initiative features 11 shows to be screened through September.
“These are all live theater events, not movies. They don’t start and stop,” Woodstock Opera House Managing Director Daniel Campbell said. “This type of program is brand new to us. I wanted to do this quite a few years ago. It’s been on my radar for a while but we didn’t have the equipment.
“We got high-speed internet and installed our 22-foot wide screen to provide a much richer experience, as well as bought a specialty projector. It was an investment and, thankfully for us, the city was willing to make the investment to make it happen. This generous donation made this all possible.”
Directed by Academy Award-winner Danny Boyle, “Frankenstein” stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller alternating between the roles of Victor Frankenstein and his monster. Frankenstein is a young scientist who creates a creature as a science experiment.
“We wanted to start with something that would appeal to a broad audience,” Campbell said. “A lot of presentations on our list are Shakespeare but I wanted something a little more approachable to start. ‘Frankenstein’ is well-known and has horror and classic novel elements. Stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller are both recognizable. We have not previously provided a cinema-type of experience so I wanted to draw an audience in to see how well it will work in our space.
“This should give people the feeling of being at the theater watching it live. We want to give the best look and feel to the performances as we can with the highest quality equipment, so it’s like they’re seeing it live for the first time on stage.”
The new programming initiative is intended to offer a new format for attendees and draw in new audiences, but Campbell said this new program is not meant to replace any of the programming or shows the Woodstock Opera House has offered traditionally.
“It is not my intention to replace live performances. It is just something to incorporate into our repertoire,” Campbell said. “We’re planning on doing 10 to 20 per year. On average, we do about 130 live performances per year and we are continuing to grow that programming. We want to provide new and interesting content. We’re not going to get Benedict Cumberbatch on our stage in real life, so I’m trying to do the next best thing.”
“Frankenstein” debuts at 7 p.m. April 20. Tickets are $18 for adults and $20 for students and seniors. Tickets are available online at woodstockoperahouse.com or by calling the box office at 815-338-5300.