Sep 2020 RadioWorks Blog
The London Palladium has hosted the world’s biggest stars over the course of its history. Today, like all theatres across the UK, it is dark. On Thursday, September 17, Magic Radio will bring together over 70 leading figures from across musical theatre at the venue, united for the first time, to shine a spotlight on theatre at a time when its very existence is under threat.
The day will result in a special three-hour show airing on Wednesday 23rd September on Magic Radio and Magic at the Musicals.
In addition to interviews throughout the day, the stage will feature West End stars recording exclusive ‘live’ performances from supporting musicals including MAMMA MIA!; Dreamgirls; Disney’s: The Lion King; &Juliet and more. 11 performances in all will be recorded, uniquely with a live, 23-piece orchestra, comprising some of the West End’s finest musicians, together with members of the London Musical Theatre Orchestra, under Musical Director Jon Ranger (all required safety and hygiene measures will be met).
These are all musicians and performers who have been directly financially effected by the impact of the COVID crisis on theatres, and – with invaluable support from the Audio Content Fund – Magic are ensuring all performers are being paid to be a part of this day of support for the industry. Additionally, students from Mountview, who are the future of the industry, will be forming a 16-strong chorus, supporting the performances.
With curtains down, box offices closed, and theatres empty, the coronavirus is a serious situation for the sector and will have far-reaching effects on the arts – a usually booming industry for the UK. Attracting both Brits and tourists alike, in 2018 UK theatres sold in excess of 34 million tickets, generating £1.28 billion in revenue.
Whilst a small handful of indoor theatres have now reopened, it is unlikely that most West End theatres will be able to open their doors for full-scale musical and theatre productions this year as these are economically unviable with social distancing practices in place.
Commenting on the show, Sheena Mason, Deputy Content Director Magic Network said: “The coronavirus has had devastating effects for many in the UK and has been particularly tough on the arts and entertainment industry. Musical theatre has a very special place in our hearts at Magic and our theatre-based station Magic at the Musicals, so we are thrilled to hold this event to help the industry, highlight the struggles that it has experienced during this time, and show the importance of the arts to our country. It’s incredible to see everyone – both on and off stage and from all productions – come together for our special event.”
Julian Bird, Chief Executive, Society of London Theatre & UK Theatre, added: “We are delighted that SOLT’s ongoing relationship with Magic Radio, encompassing the Olivier Awards, West End Live and Magic at the Musicals, continue with the major new programme from the London Palladium celebrating the excellence of the UK’s world-leading theatre industry – with performances, interview and insights into the world of musical theatre, it promises to be an entertaining and informative show.
Magic with the Musicals will air at 7pm on Wednesday, September 23 on Magic Radio and Magic at the Musicals. Listen on radio, online, on the Magic app or on smart speaker.
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