Partaking in the New York City theater scene isn't always cheap or accessible, especially if you're a tourist. Stage17, a new digital entertainment platform geared primarily toward women of a theatrical bent, aims to make the world of NYC theater accessible to everyone, with eclectic programming and a nonexistent price tag.
At SXSW 2014, Tom's Guide met with the minds behind Stage17 and some of its upcoming shows. At first blush, Stage17 is not so different from a video service like Blip or Machinima. The network will provide original, short-form videos from a range of creators. At launch, Stage17 will host documentary and comedy series, although some of these shows will have a dramatic bent.
What sets Stage17 apart from its competition is its focus on theatrical content. Most shows on its roster focus on the trials and tribulations of real stage professionals, or the scripted misadventures of aspiring actresses. Even its shows not specifically about theater tend to focus on imaginative individuals trying to cope with everyday life — a struggle that every aspiring actor has faced.
Stage17 will debut with eight original shows, which cover a variety of ground. "Dress Up!" features real-life celebrity stylist George Brescia as he makes stars look their best. "Middle (St)age" is a fictional story about a 40-something Broadway actress trying to find roles that suit her age. "Terrible Babysitters" skews more quotidian, as a young couple tries to find a sane babysitter in NYC.
Even the highly desirable young male demographic might find something to like in "Ian," the story of a 25-year-old virgin who will do just about anything for female company. Stage17 acknowledges that its programming skews primarily female. However, Ondine Landa Abramson, the organization's executive producer, told us that theater has traditionally appealed to heterosexual males as much as anyone else. Stage17 would be pleased to entertain them, too.
Stage17's website and all of its associated shows will debut in Spring 2014. Until recently, many of the shows were available through other channels, such as Blip and YouTube, but have since been removed in preparation for the Stage17 launch.