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.
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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.