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FABBY Performing in Pixels

 lenise@yesweekly.com

New York, New York has long since been the glowing center of theatrical love. It’s the destination that theater professionals and audience enthusiasts alike often dream about. But not all of us can overcome that expensive obstacle of traveling to pursue our love for grand performances. That’s where STAGE17’s new digital format comes in.

STAGE17, a new digital platform specializes in original and curated entertainment for the world’s largest stage — the Internet. It launched earlier this year, as announced by New York Chairman David Stoller (Executive Chairman of Reach4Entertainment) and President and Executive Producer Ondine Landa Abramson.

The digital stage gives audiences the chance to experience quality, original performances from their comfortable— and more financially affordable—home. Visitors can sign up at STAGE17.tv for a preview of the inaugural season and access to informative videos from master artists.

The new site, described as, “a digital playground for Broadway and theatrical artists,” also aims to target a growing community of tech-savvy theater enthusiasts and explores the art of storytelling.

The goals of STAGE17 is, “to fill the gap in entertainment offerings for an audience who has a great appetite for theater and the arts,” Stoller said.

“We are creating a platform for theaterbased artists to come and play on a digital stage,” added Abramson. “I am excited to offer the kind of programming that my peers and I want to watch, and I look forward to making it available to a global audience.”

Original programming on STAGE17.tv includes:

Middle (St)age, a video blog by Marina Lippman, a 40-something, not-quite-successful actress who is heading either for mid-life success or crisis. The series was created by Jacob Pinion and Stacia Fernandez, two Mamma Mia cast members.

In another featured program, Fabby humorously shares her wisdom on love, life and “all things FABulous” in Fabby Knows Best, her outrageously opinionated advice column.

Dress Up! with George B. Style goes behind the scenes with celebrity stylist George Brescia as he prepares Broadway’s finest, including Kate Baldwin and Victoria Clark, for opening nights and red carpet events.

Fan Fare satisfies enthusiasts’ craving for a look behind the scenes. The backstage scoop includes a look at auditions, closing nights and more, as casts and creative teams from iconic Broadway shows reunite at the legendary Sardi’s with Julie James, host of On Broadway from SirusXM.

STAGE17 will executive produce a second season featuring:

Wallflowers, by Kieran Turner (Jobriath A.D.), which features four NYC friends who join a support group for people who cannot find dates.

Terrible Babysitters features creators Michael Kayne and D’Arcy Carden as parents struggling to find normal childcare in a city full of oddballs, played by a slew of familiar faces such as Lauren Lapkus (Orange Is The New Black), Abbi Jacobson (Broad City), and Nicole Byer (MTV’s Girl Code).

Your local pixels Did you know that several of your local theaters have taken to the digital stage, too?

Triad Stage, for example, has a YouTube channel where they post behind-thescene looks at their ongoing performances. Their videos include sneak peeks and previews of their current shows, interviews with the director and various artists and even video blogs. Look them up at https://www.youtube.com/user/ TriadStage.

They also have a very active Facebook and Twitter account.

NC Shakespeare Festival has a YouTube channel as well, where snippets of performances are included. The online platform has been particularly valuable to the theater this season while they continue to endure a financial struggle. With its main stage performances cancelled, YouTube gives the theater a wonderful (and free) outlet to reach its audience and stay connected with its fans.

In fact, the theater even cleverly conducted a fundraising campaign on YouTube, combining Shakespearean monologues with the request for support. See their videos at https://www.youtube. com/user/NCShakes. You can also follow the theater on Facebook.

Winston-Salem’s Hanesbrands Theater is up with the times, too. Not only does the theater offer a Live in HD series at its Milton Rhodes Theater, where visitors can watch grand opera performances from London and more on the big screen, but it also uses a range of digital social channels to interact with its audience. Fans can discover more through the VisitWS YouTube channel, or follow the theater on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr, too.

The arts communities of Winston- Salem and Greensboro are even looking into creating an app for the Triad, where users can search and find theatrical performances in their area.

With all of the new forums available to us today, it’s easier to submerse ourselves in what we love, and that includes theater. Thankfully, our area theaters (and the glamorized out-of-state ones, too) are making an effort to connect with us and simply give us more to satisfy our craving. !

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