Opinion: What can mainstream TV offer Musical Theatre?

After Saturday’s ‘Big Night of Musicals’ on BBC One, we ask a very important question.

Emma Bausen
8th February 2022
The cast of The Wiz at the Big Night of Musicals: Image Credit- WhatsOnStage
Right off the bat, BBC One’s, Big Night of Musicals was a wonderfully loud and colourful celebration of musical theatre. Its stage, BBC One’s prime time on a Saturday night, proved to be the perfect venue for a struggling industry.

Mainstream television still plays an important part in most households. It has a different target audience than, say, your viral video on TikTok, which is often used by musicals to promote their songs. Musical theatre wants to be young and fresh, but also reach audiences that are reminiscing about the Golden Age of musicals; television reaches those people all over the country.

Some might say, that broadcasting parts of musicals will decrease tickets. but this myth has already been debunked. The latest proofs: Hamilton’s ticket sales increased massively after being added to Disney+, and audiences desire to see a Tick, Tick… Boom! revival after the success of the film adaption last November. Hence, demand only increases.

So, celebrating musical theatre in mainstream TV is wonderful. To see musical theatre thrive on a big stage like this after 2 years of hardships and loss felt like a much needed breath of fresh air for performers and audiences alike. The audience got to see snippets of well-known musicals that have shaped the musical theatre industry for years, but more importantly celebrated smaller productions like The Wiz and showcased newer productions like The Drifters Girl. Mainstream TV can help shows whether they’ve been in the West End for years or shows which are touring the UK like Dreamgirls, reach new audiences and spread the word. Musical theatre is not just about the big money and the grand stage, it’s about love, passion and bringing joy, whether its in the West End or in a local theatre near you. And if mainstream TV can help with that, the musical theatre industry will gladly take that offer.

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