BWW Exclusive: Watch a Preview of Mandy Gonzalez Singing For New Streaming Service STAGE
First there was Grease: You're the One That I Want! On NBC in 2007. Then on MTV came Legally Blonde: The Search for the Next Elle Woods on Broadway in 2008. Soon, theater fans will be excited to watch the next Broadway-themed reality show.
The Next Great American Musical is set to launch this summer on a brand new streaming platform called STAGE. The show will feature ten different composing teams competing for the best new musical. Celebrity judges will pick a winner who will go on and have their show actually produced for Broadway.
Each week, writing teams will enlist singers and dancers to perform portions of their musicals, allowing the panel of judges to narrow the competition down to four finalists. During the finals, both the judge's panel and online voters will select The Next Great American Musical.
"The people who created the show are Broadway producers themselves," explains the network's co-founder Rich Affannato. "Not only is it exciting to watch but it also celebrates what we believe in as a network and that is to further the theater and breathe new life into the art form to keep things going into the future."
The website and app for STAGE, which will be available on Apple, Android and Ruku devices will feature content ranging from talk shows, to full performances including The Standbys, Broadway Idiot, EMO, the Musical, The Fantastics and West Side Story.
STAGE joins the growing roster of other Broadway-related digital platforms on the market. BroadwayHD features many recently produced mainstream shows including Indecent, Present Laughter and The Portuguese Kid starring Jason Alexander which played off-Broadway last fall. There's also Shakespeare's Globe for fans to watch various productions of Shakespearean plays. On Kanopy, audiences can stream videos for free with the use of a library card. PBS also airs Great Performances which you can DVR Broadway musicals from She Loves Me to Holiday Inn.
Like some streaming apps like CBS All Access, STAGE is bringing audiences original content. Besides The Next Great American Musical, there will also be exclusive concerts in a series called Studio Sessions which celebrates the best of Broadway's musical creators including Kander & Ebb and Stephen Schwartz.
Mandy Gonzalez (Hamilton) is one of the performers featured in Schwartz's tribute, who sang in front of live studio audience a song from his musical, Children of Eden. All the numbers were recorded with new arrangements. "Does someone really want to hear 'Corner of the Sky' yet again done the same way it's done in [Pippin]?" explains Schwartz of the tribute to him. "I felt like that's not interesting -- so it's much more fun to me to hear a strange arrangement."
Watch a clip of Mandy's performance below!
The free platform will launch in August 2018 and the full platform launch, expected in October 2018, will expand to offer 500 hours of programming to its subscription-based users while maintaining the free platform with limited content.