A Curtain Rises With "Onstage America" Partnership Between NY1 Onstage and Playbill

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08 Jul 2013

Frank DiLella and Blake Ross
Frank DiLella and Blake Ross
Photo by Monica Simoes

NY1's venerable theatre program On Stage celebrates 15 years on the air and spreads the love of theatre to the rest of the country with a brand new program.

For over 15 years Time Warner Cable news channel NY1 has taken the camera behind the curtain to bring theatrical news to the forefront with their popular program On Stage — offering a glimpse into Broadway rehearsals and covering high-profile theatre events and opening nights. Now Time Warner Cable is taking the camera across the country as On Stage heads Across America.

"We're actually bringing the real stories that are happening behind the scenes, backstage, on Broadway, on the road, and in high schools across America to a national platform," said NY1 theatre reporter — and occasional Playbill contributor — Frank DiLella, who co-hosts the new monthly series alongside Playbill editor Blake Ross. "Truth be told, more arts programming is needed."

Arts programming takes center stage in On Stage Across America, where the show sets out to inform theatregoers about theatrical happenings across the nation because, as the team at TWC believes, "Broadway no longer applies to just New York City. Broadway is a national name." The new half-hour program will simultaneously bring Broadway to audiences across the U.S. and share theatrical successes from around the country with audiences in New York.

"Our goal is to try to [provide] coverage in areas that are undercover," added Steve Paulus, senior vice president of news and local programming. Besides covering the current scene on and Off-Broadway, each episode will give viewers a taste of regional theatre — including productions that plan to transfer to the Great White Way, various world premieres, and pieces birthed at nationally recognized arts festivals — plus a look at youth-driven amateur productions commanding the spotlight of attention.

"There are some incredible high school theatre programs that are part of our fabric that is the United States of America," said DiLella, who visited the Rochester School of the Arts in the first episode. It featured the school's production of the Tony Award–winning musical Avenue Q, in which, during a state of panic where the musical's puppets were unavailable to be licensed, the show's leading player, Ben Northrup, took the reigns to handcraft the furry creatures that populate Avenue Q.


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