When Norwegian Cruise Line's new online docuseries, Embark, kicked off 19 November with a performance of the line's popular "The Choir of Man" show, not only was it the first time since March fans saw a Norwegian performance, it also marked the first time those performers have been able to work.
"The Choir of Man," which aired at 9 p.m. EST, brought Norwegian's cast of the show together to film at London's West End Garrick Theatre for an episode that included passenger favourites such as "Save Tonight," "Escape (The Pia Colada Song)," "Hello" and "Some Nights". The performance also gave an inside look at how the cast is managing through the pandemic and global cruise shutdown.
"The live entertainment industry has been decimated, there is just no work," said Richard Ambrose, senior vice president of entertainment and cruise programming at Norwegian. "These performers have had no work. This was an opportunity to employ them for a week and give them an opportunity to perform."
This was the first of two "Embark NCL Spotlight Series" online episodes that would showcase the Broadway and West End-style entertainment on its fleet. In December, the series will feature a "Best of Broadway" show.
"The Choir of Man" is the top rated of Norwegian's shows. It was most recently performed on the Norwegian Encore and Escape. Normally set in an Irish pub, it's an interactive experience where cast members draw pints of beer for the audience. Ambrose said the online performance will have an "MTV Unplugged" feel to it, and the cast will sit in a socially distanced circle to perform.
"It's something very special and spectacular," he said, adding that the show's traditional pub setting highlights the importance of community and human connection, which is more needed now than ever. "Entertainment unites us, allowing us to forget our worries, even if just for a short while."
Ambrose said that when the cast was recording the episode earlier this year, it was the only West End theatre with its lights on.
"We have a very special bond with the Broadway and West End communities, and this was an opportunity to help and support and give those guys and technicians an opportunity to work and do what they do, which is to perform for everyone," he said. "It's great for our guests and for our travel partners."
The nearly 40-minute performance of "The Choir of Man" aired at www.ncl.com/embark and is now available on-demand.
Source: Travel Weekly