Theater Exec Michael Barra Launches Stageworks Media

Michael Barra Stageworks Media

New company will partner with movie studios, music publishers for opportunities in licensing market

Michael Barra, until recently the senior veep of Daryl Roth Theatrical Licensing, has struck out on his own to form Stageworks Media, a new production company that will focus on adapting content for the stage and developing legit-inspired work for multiple platforms including film, TV, digital and publishing.

Stageworks aims to partner with movie studios, music publishers and other large, branded content owners to create stage titles with a focus on the sectors of the licensing market — regional, community, educational — that are not considered “First Class” (i.e. Broadway and other major regional producers and presenters). The new material can then also be farmed for further life in TV, film and other platforms.

“We’re taking a market that’s usually considered downstream or ancillary and making it our primary focus,” said Barra.

The early development slate for Stageworks largely draws its musical scores from new arrangements of familiar pop songs, with storylines and scripts penned by emerging scribes. Among the titles in the works are “Romeo and Juliet and Chuck” and “Cyrano De Burgershack,” both by Jeremy Desmon, as well as “My Super Senior Year” and “Everybody Dance Now” by Marshall Pailet and a girl-power musical by Eric Price.

Stageworks Media also has partnered with creator Cynthia von Buhler to jointly own immersive legit title “Speakeasy Dollhouse.” Under the new pact, the Lower East Side run of the show will move up from monthly to every weekend, with explorations underway for a related outpost at another Manhattan location as well as franchise opportunities on other platforms.

Prior to his gig at Daryl Roth Prods. (where he’ll remain as an advisor), Barra also has had stints at Disney, both with the theatrical arm in New York and with the studio in L.A. He’s also co-artistic director of Off Broadway’s Gotham Stage Company.

The new office of Stageworks Media launches in midtown Manhattan with two people on staff as well as an affiliated music consultant. Barra said he hopes to make Stageworks’ initial slate of properties available for licensing by fall of 2014.

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  1. Martin Neil Silver says:

    Great new move –Michael Barra! Working on a musical -stage play of an Edgar Allen Poe short story . Hope to get it to you at Stageworks Media. Congratulations on this fantastic venture. Songwriter and Poet. — Martin Neil Silver

  2. There’s something very interesting going on here with creatives possibly surrendering some valuable rights in order to access the profile of major brands for regional/educational productions. Virtuous circle?

    • Jen S says:

      I agree Ed. So, what’s new about this concept except that instead of known properties getting a crack at licensing deals for adaptation in various mediums, Stageworks will try to append adaptations and derivative media rights into the option agreement of emerging material that hasn’t made a commercial name yet, which means before it’s proved out as viable? Sounds like someone is going to paying the price by cutting up the pie and with more fingers in it between author rights and approvals, producer control and so on. Wonder what the DGA, Equity, SAG, and AFTRA have to say about it? This concept is more than ambitious, it sounds far-fetched in what is already an entrenched system of developing musical stagework whether commercial or non-profit.

      • Sven DaMan says:

        Viable? how do you ever know if a stage adaptation will be viable? because the movie was viable? will people go see the show because the movie was good? maybe we need to focus more on what kind of material might work in smaller markets and develop those? maybe they will be much cheaper than getting the rights of some “proven” property?

      • morwapaile@gmail.com says:

        Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

  3. Morwawosele John Paile says:

    Hi
    I am John, I am looking for a Theatre Job. Want to sent my CV, through your email.

  4. Jill dryer says:

    Fascinating! Best of luck to your new venture!

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