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Olivier-winner David Bedella: I’m focusing on TV as theatre doesn’t pay enough

David Bedella won the Olivier for best supporting actor in a musical for In the Heights in 2016
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Two-time Olivier award-winning actor David Bedella has revealed he is prioritising work in television because theatre does not pay enough for him to support his family.

The actor, who won Oliviers for both Jerry Springer the Opera and In the Heights, said he was putting his work in LA over theatre because it offers more financial security.

“There is a lot of great television these days – we now have shows launched on Netflix and Amazon and so the number of scripts that are available these days is enormous, and they are good,” be said, adding: “TV offers celebrity and financial security and these things are important in an age where you don’t know where your next job is coming from. I want to be able to make the kind of money to support my family and not worry.”

Bedella said he had never been able to do that on theatre wages, but said he felt uncomfortable about actors getting paid more in theatre in case ticket prices went up further.

“I feel bad about how much money it costs to go to a Broadway show. If I want to take my son, I know we are going to spend about $500 just on tickets – and that is the cheap ones. It’s insane and I would never want for our salaries to marginalise and stop people coming to see a show,” he said.

He added: “So on one hand, I want pay to be better but on the other, we can’t, as then there would be a whole number of people who won’t be able to see theatre and we are doing it for them.”

Bedella said he would always be tempted back to theatre, describing it as his “love”.

He was speaking to The Stage at the launch for his latest project, musical & Juliet, which opens at the Shaftesbury Theatre later this year, starring Miriam-Teak Lee.

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He said the musical gave him the same feeling as when he began working on Jerry Springer.

“You knew everyone knew about it – it was on the lips of everyone in the business. This show is going to be big,” he said.

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