A producer and former performer will lead the launch of a new streaming network devoted to theater and theater-related content this summer, bowing a free version before a subscription tier that comes online in the fall.
Stage, co-founded by chairman and CEO Rich Affannato (who was on the producing team of shows including “The Visit” and “Peter and the Starcatcher”), has outlined an ambitious slate of original content, including the series “Studio Sessions,” following recording sessions of Broadway performers (Chita Rivera, Mandy Gonzalez) singing the tunes of well-known theater composers; “CrossOvers,” an interview show with talent whose work has crossed between theater and other media; and “The Next Great American Musical,” a reality competition between musical-theater creators. Licensed content, including docs “How I Got Over” and “The Standbys,” will also be on tap.
“This is basically an untapped media space: Theater as a lifestyle brand,” said Affannato.
The only other real player in the stage-to-streaming market is BroadwayHD, with a library made up of recordings of live theater events. It’s not clear how well the privately held BroadwayHD is performing as a business, but the service continues to grow its catalog with captures of newer shows from Broadway, Off Broadway and around the country.
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As of yet, complete programming details for Stage are sketchy. The free platform (offering limited content) is due to launch in August, with the subscription tier set to bow in October.