This week on the podcast, host Luisa Lyons chats with Marc Teitler and Tim Phillips, the composers of the smash-hit British musical The Grinning Man.
Filmed live at the Bristol Old Vic in 2016, The Grinning Man is a dark and visceral musical based on Victor Hugo's The Man Who Laughed. Topics include the development of the musical, Marc and Tim's initial resistance to releasing the archival footage, how the musical came to be filmed with motion capture, and more!
The Grinning Man is currently available to stream on demand from the Bristol Old Vic. More tickets and info here.
Follow Marc Teitler on Twitter, and Tim Phillips on Twitter.
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This week on the podcast host Luisa Lyons chats with Eliza Jackson, an Australian producer based in the UK whom The Stage recently listed as one of the Top 100 Theatre Makers of 2020.
Topics including making the switch from acting to producing, the joys and challenges of producing virtual theatre content during the pandemic, paying artists during lockdown, the future of streaming, what it means to make theatre during this time, and Lambert Jackson Productions streams of The Last Five Years, Songs for A New World, [title of show], and the upcoming I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change.
Australian born Eliza Jackson trained in Musical Theatre at the prestigious NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Art) in Sydney. She moved to London in 2012 and since then, has worked in the theatre industry both on and off stage.
In 2018, Lambert Jackson Productions was born and their first project was to take Eliza’s one-woman show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The show, The Voice Behind the Stars received 5-star reviews across the board and was then toured around Australia with much success. On her return, she took on the role of Creative Director of Lambert Jackson full time.
I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change will stream at select times between January 28-30, 2021. More info and tickets available from the London Coliseum.
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This week on the podcast, I interview British director and producer Adam Lenson! We had a great time chatting about Merrily We Roll Along, what should we call filmed theatre, Signal Online, Alt+Right+Shift, making new work without a theatre, filming theatre without an audience, and more!
Based in London, Adam Lenson is a director, producer, dramaturg, and musical theatre specialist. He was recently included in The Stage 100, a list recognizing theatremakers for their extraordinary achievements in 2020. He is the founder Signal and Signal Online, programs for incubating new musical theatre, Make Your Own Musicals which provides activity packs for children, and Theatrical Solutions which offers affordable solutions for theatrical livestreaming.
As a director, original works include WASTED (World Premiere, Southwark Playhouse), SUPERHERO (World Premiere, Southwark Playhouse), THE SORROWS OF SATAN (World Premiere, Tristan Bates Theatre), LOCK AND KEY (World Premiere, Vault Festival), THE LEFTOVERS (World Premiere, National Tour). Other works include THE RINK (Southwark Playhouse), THE STORM (Helios Collective/ENO), 35MM (The Other Palace), WHISPER HOUSE (The Other Palace), SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD (St James Theatre, 20th Anniversary Production), DISGRACED (English Theatre Frankfurt), DARK TOURISM (Park Theatre), GHOST (GSA), SEE WHAT I WANNA SEE (Jermyn Street Theatre), REEL LIFE (Ustinov Theatre Bath and St James Studio), THE GOODBYE GIRL (Upstairs at the Gatehouse), WEST END RECAST (Duke of York’s Theatre, Phoenix Theatre), ORDINARY DAYS (Trafalgar Studios), LITTLE FISH and SATURN RETURNS (Finborough Theatre), COME FLY WITH ME (Salisbury Playhouse), THE DEAD GUY (English Theatre Frankfurt) and THE FAMILY (Old Vic US/UK Exchange, Public Theater, NY).
You can learn more about Adam at www.adamlenson.com and follow him on Instagram and Twitter.
Tickets to Public Domain, streaming live on Jan 15 and 16 2021, are available at Southwark Playhouse.
On episode 2 of the Filmed Live Musicals podcast, Luisa chats with Caroline Friedman, founder of new theatre streaming of Scenesaver.
Scenesaver is the only website making performances from off Broadway, off- West End, small theatres, and emerging artists accessible to everyone online. It's free to register and watch with 150 shows of all genres from around the world available now. New work is being added all the time.
Available on all podcast apps now!
My dance card is getting full! The end of 2018 is shaping up to be something wonderful for Filmed Live Musicals with several new filmed live releases on the horizon. Find out what's coming to a cinema near you!
Emma, a new “soundstage musical” created by Paul Gordon (co-creator of Daddy Long Legs, the first off-Broadway musical to be livestreamed), was released on the newly launched Streaming Musicals on October 3.
Funny Girl starring Sheridan Smith and filmed live on the West End by Digital Theatre will screen globally in select cinemas on October 24. Go to https://www.funnygirlincinemas.com/ for local listings.
To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the hit Broadway musical Wicked, NBC will present "A Very Wicked Halloween” on October 29th. The concert will be performed at the Marquis Theatre, with original leading ladies Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel hosting.
Filmed live in London, An American in Paris will air on PBS on November 2. It will also be available to stream through the PBS website on November 3, and is already available to stream on BroadwayHD.
The West End musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie will be screened in select cinemas across the United States on November 7, with encore screenings on November 11 and 14. To find local listings visit https://www.jamieincinemas.com/.
The acclaimed Lincoln Center revival of The King and I transferred to the West End this year, opening at the Palladium. The production was filmed live and will be released in the United States on November 29 and December 4 under the title The King And I: From The Palladium. Find local listings at https://www.kingandimusicalcinema.com.
Today we celebrate Stephen Sondheim’s 88th year of being alive.
The 2011 Lincoln Center production of Sondheim’s Company starring Neil Patrick Harris, Patti LuPone, and Stephen Colbert, et al., was the inspiration for the Filmed Live Musicals database. During an interview taped for the cinema screening, producer Ellen M. Krass claimed it had been difficult to get funding to film Company because investors had not heard of a filmed live musical.
Who were these people?! Had they not grown up watching the original Broadway production of Into the Woods on VHS or DVD? Were they oblivious to the taping of Sunday in the Park with George? Or Angela Lansbury in Sweeney Todd?
As a result of watching Company, I wrote my Masters Thesis on filmed live musicals. Several years later, not a day went by when I wasn’t thinking about it. The Filmed Live Musicals was database was born.
With 20 entries spanning 11 different musicals, Stephen Sondheim has more musicals in the Filmed Live Database than any other composer. For comparison’s sake, Gilbert and Sullivan have 8 entries, Dan Coggin has 6 entries for the Nunsense series, and Andrew Lloyd Webber (who is also celebrating his birthday today) has 4 entries.
In the extraordinary interview Face to Face: Stephen Sondheim (available to stream on BroadwayHD), Sondheim stated “I’m very into film technique and its application to the stage.” If I ever get the chance to meet Sondheim, when I’m done losing my mind, I would love to know about his involvement, or encouragement, in the live filming of his musicals.
To honor of Sondheim’s birthday, here are all the musicals he has written, or contributed to, that have legally filmed live for public distribution. Note that the dates refer to the year the production was filmed, not the year the musical was written.
Into the Woods
Merrily We Roll Along
Putting it Together
Sunday in the Park with George
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Happy birthday Sondheim. May your day be filled with color and light.
In my post on bootlegs a few weeks ago, I mentioned the National Theatre’s success in broadcasting theatre around the world through its program National Theatre Live (NT Live). This week, we're taking a closer look at the program.
NT Live began as an experiment to see how digital technology could allow a wider audience to enjoy National Theatre productions. The first broadcast took place in June 2009 with the live cinema screening of Phèdra starring Helen Mirren.
Over 60 productions later, NT Live has been broadcast on 2500 screens in 60 countries around the world, and viewed by over 5.5 million people. To date, NT Live has broadcast three musicals, FELA! (2011), The Threepenny Opera (2016), and Follies (2017).
The vast majority of broadcasts are from within the National Theatre in London, however beginning in 2013, NT Live has also broadcast select productions from the West End, including The Audience (coincidentally also starring Helen Mirren) and War Horse. In 2015, NT Live broadcast Of Mice and Men from the Longacre Theatre on Broadway.
Camera plots are specifically designed for each show, allowing the theatre and film director to ensure the most effective capture. Cameras are often placed right in the audience, and audience members are able to purchase tickets for filmed performances at a discounted rate.
Adjustments to various elements of each production are also made, including lighting and sound design, and wig and costume design.
If adjustments are being made to the production for the capture, is the film still a capture of a theatre production? In the 2009 National Theatre annual report, artistic director Nicholas Hytner noted, “…I am confident that we have pioneered a new genre: not quite live theatre, certainly not cinema, but an exciting approximation of the real thing whose potential reach is limitless.”
NT Live screenings are advertised as special events — a limited time chance to see a live capture of a National Theatre production. Cinemas located in the same timezone as London receive broadcasts in real time, while cinemas outside the timezone receive the same capture at a later time and/or date. Due to popular demand, “encore screenings” are also scheduled.
While some broadcasts are also available to schools for streaming in the UK through its On Demand program, most productions are not available to view or purchase after the cinema broadcasts. This is due to licensing, and contract negotiations.
At the time of its launch, NT Live was the only program for broadcasting live theatre in cinemas. As such, there has been significant research into its impact. In various reports, UK organization Nesta has found the following:
Nearly ten years after its launch, NT Live provides a great model for how filmed live theatre can co-exist with, and provide a new experience of, live theatre.