Pulitzer Prize on DramaI would never have produced The Flick.

I will never produce The Flick.

I can’t.

You see, I’m a Broadway producer.  Not a theater producer.  I produce for a 10 block radius in the middle of New York City with a very specific audience.

And I don’t believe for a second that the Broadway Audience would support something like The Flick enough for me to be able to repay my investors.

So I can’t produce The Flick.

But Playwrights Horizons can.

And they did.

And yesterday, when The Flick won The Pulitzer, Playwrights showed us what non-profit producing and leadership is all about.

Last year at this time, people were walking out of The Flick.  According to this NY Times article, which described the controversy, Artistic Director Tim Sanford confirmed that 10% of the audience left at intermission of the first performance.  And word of mouth from those that stayed was something else entirely.  It was three and half hours long, “nothing happened,” and those were just a few of the complaints.  People were canceling subscriptions.  And in an unprecedented move, Mr. Sanford emailed 3,000 of the theater’s subscribers to explain why he chose to produce it.  Not to apologize.  But to bring his patrons into the process.

To many, choosing that play for its season looked to be a monumental mistake that was going to have an immediate effect on the theater’s bottom line.

And now . . . bam . . . choosing that play looks to be one of the smartest choices Mr. Sanford and his team could have made.

What I love about this story is that they produced a play that so many wouldn’t, and they produced a play that they knew many wouldn’t even enjoy.  But they felt it was important.  And they knew that it was the responsibility of their institution to produce plays exactly like The Flick.  Because if they didn’t, who would?  Certainly not me.

And now, get this, another gutsy guy around town, Scott Rudin, just announced he’s going to put the show back up at the Barrow Street this fall!

The team at Playwrights did something that all great producers do.  They stuck to their artistic guns.  They didn’t run for cover when the criticism came.  They stood up for what they believed in:  new, challenging, boundary bustin’ plays.  And boy did it pay off.  (Do you know how many more productions The Flick will get now?  And how much in additional royalties Playwrights Horizons will get as a result?)

Risks like this don’t always work out this way.  But when they do, it’s important that we stand up and say congrats.

So congrats to Annie Baker, Sam Gold, Tim Sanford and everyone at Playwrights for a producing job awesomely done.

[Want to read The Flick?  Click here.]

 

(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)
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Broadway credit cardPart of my personal curse (and also one of my best business assets) is that I’m always looking for the best deal.  I want the best deal on airfare, on office supplies, on everything!  And a coupon . . . oh man, that’s like sweet, sweet nectar from the small biz gods.

My staff is taught to always get 2-3 competitive quotes on anything we’re thinking about buying, so we can make the right choice for us.

(Side note:  one thing I’ve learned over the years is that sometimes the right choice involves paying more money.  In the first sentence of this blog, I said I wanted the “best deal.”  Don’t translate that to mean the cheapest.  The best deal for me means what gives me the most value.  And that can actually be more expensive.  This important distinction is especially true when shopping for talent.)

One of the most competitive industries out there is the credit card market, and it’s something that all small businesses should spend a lot of time researching before deciding where to put their charges.  You can negotiate better interest rates, annual fees. . . and of course rewards.  Cash back, miles, there are a ton of different options out there.

And I will drop one credit card for another in a rabbit’s heartbeat if I can get a sweeter deal.

A few months ago, I did just that when I noticed the Capital One “Spark” card was offering 2% (!) cash back . . . a full double what I was getting from my current card.  And I charge a lot . . . a lot . . . so that measly 1% could add up to some significant savings for my company.

And that’s where the fun ended.

Almost every time I went out of town (which is quite often), or every time I spent over a certain amount of cash, Capital One put a stop on my cards.  ”Fraud protection,” they said.  They’d call me.  And rarely get me because of my schedule.  And I’d be left card-less.  And when they did get me, I couldn’t answer half of their questions because the VP of Finance in my office handles all the accounts and their passwords, etc.  It happened time and time again.  ”We’re concerned about your card being compromised,” they said.  I appreciate that . . . but no card had ever contacted me this much.  No card had ever shut down my account this often.  And we had 5 or 6 cards on this account – and they’d all get shut down!  (And, we all know, they aren’t worried about me – they are worried about having to pay for charges that I didn’t make).

Protect me, yes, but there is such thing as too much protection, if it prevents me from actually using your product.

For example, an alarm is a good thing for all homes to have.  But an alarm, plus an armored gate, plus two bodyguards, plus a Pitbull on a leash out front, and a giant sign that says, “DO NOT ENTER – WE ARE WATCHING YOU!”  Not many people would want all that on their front lawn, would you?

Safeguarding your customers and yourself from fraud is essential, but you have to find the balance, so you don’t turn your customers away.

What does this have to do with the theater?

I’ve shopped for tickets on way too many sites that have impossible to read Captcha, or that require account setups, or need email confirmation of the account, or have terms and conditions that have to be agreed to that, once you agree, you’re kicked out of the sales funnel and you go back to searching for your product again.

And sometimes, I just don’t.

I canceled my credit card with Capital One and went back to my good ol’ Amex, even though I wont’ be saving as much money.  But I will be saving time, and that, for me, has huge monetary value.

Keep your customers from doing the same.  Protect them.  But don’t annoy them.

 

(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)
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FUN STUFF:

- Win 2 tickets to see Greed Off Broadway.  Click here.

- Need help raising money?  Who doesn’t.  Take my How To Raise Money seminar and raise more money faster.  Guaranteed.  Register today.

- Win $500 in our Broadway’s Next Big Star contest!  Click here to enter!

 

The following are the Broadway Grosses for the week ending April 13, 2014:

Show GrossGross Total Attn %Cap
A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER $407,665 5,122 70.59% $79.59
A RAISIN IN THE SUN $1,182,511 8,368 100.00% $141.31
ACT ONE $309,452 6,316 72.83% $48.99
AFTER MIDNIGHT $417,318 5,568 67.18% $74.95
ALADDIN $1,178,422 13,786 100.01% $85.48
ALL THE WAY $893,167 8,206 72.13% $108.84
BEAUTIFUL $917,392 7,669 93.43% $119.62
BULLETS OVER BROADWAY $813,145 11,221 86.05% $72.47
CABARET $667,721 6,823 96.59% $97.86
CASA VALENTINA $192,074 4,047 78.55% $47.46
CHICAGO $607,106 7,070 81.83% $85.87
CINDERELLA $946,408 11,425 81.56% $82.84
HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH $884,092 7,048 100.59% $125.44
IF/THEN $964,759 9,295 88.63% $103.79
JERSEY BOYS $665,420 6,741 68.62% $98.71
KINKY BOOTS $1,422,291 10,769 94.53% $132.07
LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL $366,156 4,639 97.17% $78.93
LES MISÉRABLES $1,147,961 10,126 89.83% $113.37
MAMMA MIA! $627,337 7,442 79.78% $84.30
MATILDA $1,174,694 11,368 99.23% $103.33
MOTHERS AND SONS $238,128 3,412 53.18% $69.79
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL $1,067,046 10,425 86.47% $102.35
NEWSIES $744,353 8,701 91.78% $85.55
OF MICE AND MEN $796,078 8,321 96.94% $95.67
ONCE $473,697 5,333 62.95% $88.82
PIPPIN $630,280 6,307 79.63% $99.93
ROCK OF AGES $347,060 4,227 90.63% $82.11
ROCKY $754,394 8,773 72.34% $85.99
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,586,091 8,752 102.63% $181.23
THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY $322,366 4,424 54.27% $72.87
THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN $155,234 2,133 99.39% $72.78
THE LION KING $1,914,937 13,602 100.01% $140.78
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $958,388 11,535 89.84% $83.09
THE REALISTIC JONESES $518,159 5,935 85.08% $87.31
THE VELOCITY OF AUTUMN $100,056 3,074 50.63% $32.55
VIOLET $258,167 5,080 86.51% $50.82
WICKED $1,930,362 15,275 99.03% $126.37
Totals: $28,579,879 288,358 84.34% $93.06

 

 

greed the musical off broadwayThis week’s Sunday Giveaway is Super-Super-Supersized!  (Read that back again out loud in your favorite Monster Truck Announcer Voice and you’ll get what I was going for.)

We’ve got four tickets to Greed, the new Off Broadway musical now playing at New World Stages.  

What’s Greed about?

It’s about lust.

No, no.  It’s about greed, duh.

From the marketing blurb:

“What do Jamie Dimon, Lance Armstrong, Pope Francis and Bernie Madoff have in common?  They all appear in Greed: A Musical for Our Times.  The musical comedy’s targets range from Ponzi schemes to the not-so-subtle sales pitches of retirement planners and mortgage bundlers. With numbers like “A Little Juice,” “Inside Information,” “I’ll Cheat On My Taxes” and “The Ballad of Jamie Dimon,” Greed takes aim at the obvious, and not so obvious, targets.”Funny, right?  And I wonder how many people from our own beloved industry could appear in this show?  I could give you a few dozen names myself.  :-)  But I won’t.  It’s Sunday, after all.

You can learn more about it here.

And you can win four tickets right here!  And here’s how:

Speaking of greed.  Let’s talk about our favorite “greedy” subject:  Broadway ticket prices.

Full price tickets for Broadway shows are now in the $130-$140 range.

It’s 2014.  Tell me what you think the full price ticket will be (including facility fees) in 2025.  Ten years from now. Comment your answer below and you could win!  Good luck!  And let greed be with you!

 

(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)
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This week’s giveaway proves that Producers aren’t the only ones reading this blog . . . we’ve got a heck of a lot of writers out there as well . . . and good ones, based on the parody lyrics you all sent in for this week’s Forbidden Broadway ticket giveaway.  ”A Whole New Show,”  ”Nothing’s Gonna Close You,” “Any Words Will Do,” were just a few of the titles of tunes you came up with.

But there can only be one winner.

And that lucky parodist is . . .

Caskey Hunsader for his Cinderella parody!  (Click here to read it.)

Congrats, Caskey . . . email me for your tickets.  You’re gonna love the show (and hopefully love the theater it is in too!).

Parodies are fun.  Oh, and you don’t need the rights to the music when you do them – so they make great first projects for Producers.

In other words.  Parody on!

 

(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)
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FUN STUFF:

- All the cool kids are likin’ me on Facebook.  Click here to join ‘em.

- Are you Broadway’s Next Big Star?  Click here to enter our contest!

 

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