In the last five years theatre attendances have soared by 2.2m to 34.5m people annually, more than the total attendance for every live music concert or festival in a full year and more than double the attendance for every Premier League match combined in a full season.
The musicals genre is busting out of theatres to have an even greater impact on popular culture with original movies like The Greatest Showman, Rocketman and La La Land becoming huge hits at the box office, whilst iconic shows Cats and Wicked transfer to the silver screen and classic musical movie Moulin Rouge heads to the stage, demonstrating a surge in popularity for the genre.
Magic at the Musicals will celebrate of the best musicals from both stage and screen, with a playlist including hits like the electrifying And I Am Telling You from Dreamgirls and Defying Gravity from Wicked alongside classics such as Cats’ Memory and Les Misérables’ Bring Him Home. Listeners will be treated to a huge range of musicals from the beloved Mamma Mia! to the anthemic The Greatest Showman and the vintage Singin’ in the Rain.
The station’s line-up will include West End legend Ruthie Henshall (Chicago, Cats) and Olivier Award-winning Jonathan Bailey (TV: Broadchurch, Doctor Who, W1A; stage: Company), Louise Dearman (Wicked) John Owen-Jones (The Phantom of the Opera), alongside Julian Bird (CEO, UK Theatre and the Society of London Theatre) and special shows from Luke Evans (film: Beauty and the Beast, Clash of the Titans; stage: Rent, Miss Saigon), Michael Ball (Aspects of Love) and Alfie Boe (Les Misérables).
Commenting on the launch, presenter Ruthie Henshall said, “The station’s name is derived from our hugely successful Magic at the Musicals show which is in its fifth year at the Royal Albert Hall. From a vibrant theatre and cinema scene there’s never been a better time to bring this much-loved genre to the masses. We’ll be proudly broadcasting songs from the shows directly into households across the country. Singing out loud is optional!”
Julian Bird, Chief Executive of the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre says “This is a fantastic boost for the industry at a time when theatregoing is at an all-time high. Magic is already our partner on the Olivier Awards, West End Live and other theatre and production projects, so this feels like a perfect platform to promote theatre, and musicals in particular.”
Magic at the Musicals will feature a season of programming to celebrate the creativity, diversity and opportunity in modern British theatre. Telling the stories of those involved, it’s set to shine a light on both the diversity of talent and the many opportunities the industry offers – both on-stage and off – to people from all backgrounds. The station will also broadcast The Olivier Awards live in full, cover West End Live – produced by Westminster City Council and Official London Theatre, in Trafalgar Square and broadcast its own event, Magic at the Musicals live from the Royal Albert Hall in May 2020.
Magic at the Musicals Launches on 21 November on DAB+ in London, East & South East of England and nationwide online, via listen apps and smart speakers.
- Backstage: Weekdays at 11am introduced by Alice Arnold where we hear from a star of the stage.
- Matinee: Weekday ‘Matinee’ performance starts at 2pm. Two songs from a ‘Golden Oldie’ show introduced by Tom Chambers.
- Curtain Up: Weekdays at 7pm – a daily hour-special brought to you by various West End performers choosing their favourite songs from the musicals.
- Curtain Call: Weekdays at 10.30pm, when each night we’ll play the finale number from a show. That big showstopper that brings the curtain down and the audience to their feet.
- Stage Door: Saturdays at 2pm we go behind the Stage Door with Ruthie Henshall as she lets us into the world of theatre behind the scenes.
- Limelight: Saturdays at 6pm, we’ll be in the ‘Limelight’ with our hour-specials, starting with Luke Evans, Ball and Boe and Patricia Kelly (wife of Gene).
- Green Room: Sundays at 3pm, the ‘Green Room’ with Julian Bird, CEO of SOLT, updating us on everything we need to know in the world of theatre.
- Take Your Seats Please! Sunday nights at 6pm, ‘take your seats please’ for more great names from the world of theatre talking us through the soundtrack to one of their favourite musicals. Our first shows will be from theatre legends John Owen Jones and Louise Dearman.