Whether or not you instantly recognise the name, if you’re a musical theatre fan there’s a high probability you’ve seen David Muscat perform. Muscat has worked professionally both in Australia and in the UK, but his most notable performance was in the cast of Billy Elliot the Musical where he played the role of Mr Braithwaite in the 10th Year Anniversary cast, including in the Billy Elliot Live worldwide broadcast and DVD release.
Last year, Muscat worked with Matthew Martino on a television pilot for a new chat show focussed around live theatre.
“Martino became Director of a new British TV channel called Essex TV … Knowing this was the case, I arranged a meeting with him and pitched and idea for a show. A TV Chat show, not unlike any chat show already on television, however, with a difference. All involved and all guests would be from the theatre industry. The idea is to champion and celebrate those working in the industry and also highlight other aspects of the industry. For example, an episode will incorporate interviews with artists whilst also featuring segments on iconic theatrical institutions or professionals, such as Creatives, Agents, Producers and so on,” explained Muscat.
This new television show is called Stagey Live.
“The content is designed to be both insightful and informative to not only theatre lovers but also those aspiring to forge a career in the industry. We also have a regular team of cast members who will be bringing the fun, with a few roving reports and sketches.”
Matthew Martino liked the idea and commissioned a first series of six to eight episodes.
“It’s my role to organise the guests, the content, the format and the cucumber sandwiches,” said Muscat.
“I’ve not done anything like this before but whilst it’s easily one of the most stressful things I’ve done it’s also been a giant learning curve. I’ve begged, borrowed and offered out free tax advice in order to get people on board, bearing in mind I have no experience in accountancy so that hasn’t proven too popular.
“There are thousands of wonderful people both here in the UK and abroad that I would love to get involved. Fortunately we’ve had some great wins with securing people. Denise Gough, recent Olivier Award winning Lead Actress from the play People, Places & Things has agreed to come on for a chat which is brilliant. She’ll be joined by so many amazing people who have agreed to come on board in the first series,” said Muscat.
Muscat admits it’s hard going organising it all, but knows the end result will be worth the effort when there is a platform to celebrate theatre people. Muscat himself has excellent comedic timing and a natural, sharp wit – as anyone who follows him on Twitter would already know. This natural comedy will add some extra entertainment to Stagey Live and hopefully attract a wide audience.
“The aim is to attract not only those who enjoy and work within the theatre, but also non-theatre goers. Hence I think it’s important to have a comedy element of the show and not have it so informative it wouldn’t be of interest to non-theatre goers. If you look at the model for long-running chat shows, a lot of the time you tune in not because you have a deep passion in Film Stars or Pop Bands (I just felt old saying Pop Bands), but a lot of the time people tune in for the laughs or the funny things that happen,” said Muscat.
Muscat is also hoping to attract viewers from the USA and Australia.
“Whilst the industry itself is universal, I’ve also managed to secure some great guests from Broadway and the professional scene of Australia.” Australian guests already lined up include Rob Mills, currently performing in Ghost the Musical, Emily Langridge (Cosette in the Australian and Asian tours of Les Miserables) and Paul Watson who, apart from being in the cast of We Will Rock You, brings a wealth of experience as a director. American guests include Arianna DeBose from the cast of Hamilton.
You can follow what’s happening on the show on Twitter via @StageyLive
For more details: http://www.davidmuscat.co.uk/#!stagey-live/ozojp