One of the week’s biggest musical theatre news items is that Sky Arts has commissioned a musical theatre chat show with Elaine Paige as its host. I was super excited when this news broke because I am a total geek and I love hearing professionals talk about their start in the profession and how they see their art etc. Broadway.com has a similar idea with Show People with Paul Wontorek, where he has different guests come in to discuss shows they are doing or just generally talk about their career, which I have often been fascinated by. The format of The Elaine Paige Show will include performances, by Paige herself as well as by guests. Apparently she will also mentor a performer in training as part of the programme, making this whole series an invaluable document on musical theatre for young people considering it as their profession, or as an academic resource. Some of the guests that are lined up include John Owen-Jones, Trevor Nunn and Herbert Kretzmer.
Here are five people I would like to see pop up:
1. Dame Judi Dench – I know I have written a whole blog post on why I love her in musicals, but it would be interesting to hear first-hand on how she got into musicals and what her approach is ,and if there are any lessons she brings from Shakespeare to musical theatre. And if they want to get her to sing ‘Send In The Clowns’ then I won’t complain.
2. Julie Atherton – I have never seen her live but I have a few recordings of her, and she often seems to be connected to new work and she seems highly regarded by a lot of people, so she would be an interesting person to see interviewed.
3. Michael Moor – Michael is Deputy Director of Studies and Head of Musical Theatre at Guildford School of Acting and has been tweeting tips for drama school auditions. I think a teacher would be interesting to have on the show, especially as it appears to want to give a detailed look at the profession therefore getting teacher’s stories and their approaches for training could be interesting.
4. Mark Shenton – Theatre and especially musical theatre is known for reviews and critics so it would be interesting to find out how people become critics and their opinions on musical theatre.
5. A stage door keeper – This is more of a curveball but I think it would be fascinating to talk to someone who looks after theatres and sees so many shows and faces come through and to hear their anecdotes. If not the stage door keeper then a DSM or anyone behind the scenes.
My enthusiasm for this show is quite clear and by sounds of the format they are going with my excitement seems well placed. My only niggle is that whilst I benefit from my parent’s Sky subscription not everyone does, so I hope they might truncate sections for online viewing similar to Show People or make it available on iTunes so more people can view the show. Regardless, bring on May 2014 when the six episodes air!
Photo by The Drama League on Flickr under a Creative Commons Licence.