Favorite Quotes: Volume XIV

“There is no shame in closing a show.” – Mike Isaacson, Producer, Fox Theatricals

Click here.

Is the grass always greener?

I was jealous.

When the revival of American Buffalo announced that Haley Joel Osment was joining Leguizamo AND Cedric The Entertainer, for a moment I thought I was involved with the wrong Mamet.  Many people think it’s a better play than Speed, it had three Hollywood names appealing to three different demographics, etc.

I took a second, reminded myself of why I got involved with Speed and the moment eventually passed.  But I do admit, I had some John Patrick Shanley-sized doubt for a half-a-day.

Flash forward to today.  After a set of disappointing reviews and in the midst of a climate where Harry Potter only pulled in $495k last week, Buffalo just announced that their closing date will be Sunday!  If only Haley saw notices being posted instead of dead people.

The lesson?  Stick to your guts and your initial instincts, because while the grass is always greener, sometimes it’s artificial turf:  attractive to the eye, but nothing real underneath.

Before anyone accuses me of celebrating this premature closing, let me correct you – this ain’t good news.  First, it’s another Show Spot.  I don’t remember the last star driven, high profile, limited-run revival of a tested play that closed this fast, do you?

Second, anytime Broadway boots out three Hollywood actors after only a week makes those Hollywooders think twice about doing it again. And they don’t need us like we need them.

Don’t run from the roaches.

I was on a subway platform the other day.

And so was a roach.

And so were a group of Australian tourists who, when they saw the roach, ran to the other side of the platform, shrieking like their shrimps were burning on the barbee along the way.

I couldn’t help but wonder what that roach would have done if the Down-Underians had run right AT him, instead of running the other direction.  I’d bet that the little “bugger” would have scurried off into the subway tracks, scared antenna-less.

Most people are scared of roaches.  They are dirty and ugly and there are a lot more of them then there are of us.

Huh.  That’s just like the business world.

You’re an independent thinker.  You’re a rarer breed.  You want to do big things.  Great things.  You don’t like the status quo.

Roaches do.

And roaches will try and infiltrate where you live, where you work, in an attempt to scare you away from making any kind of change.

Just remember. You’re bigger than they are.  You can crush them with one stomp.  But to do so, you can’t be on the other side of the platform.

Next time roaches try and scare you away from where you belong.  Don’t run away.  Run at them.

Or if you really want to prove your point, take a bite out of one.

Where to do your holiday shopping.

I was a bit of a doomsdayer yesterday, I know.

So today, I’m gonna be Mr. Constructive-Guy and follow-up with a simple something you can do to help the biz get through this economic muck.  At the same time, this something will actually make your life a lot easier as well.

Here it is.  You ready?

Give theater tickets for your holiday gifts.

We’ve got enough eyeballs on this blog that if each of you went out and bought a pair of theater tickets for one person on your holiday list, we’d more than fill a Broadway house.  And if each you of you got a pair of theater tickets for EVERY person on your list, well, we could fill a whole week!

Here are some reasons why you should buy theater tickets as your holiday gifts this year:

  • You’re going to spend the money on gifts anyway, why not spend it on theater.
  • Theater tickets are special and have a high perceived value.
  • They can be inexpensive due to the multitude of discount sites out there like BroadwayBox, TDF and BestOfOffBroadway.
  • They can be flexible thanks to gift certificates (and the thank-God-they-are-finally-coming gift cards)
    • Although here’s an idea for the shows out there planning Holiday Gift Campaigns:  I’d get rid of the “No Exchange” policy for this season, and make it public that if you bought tickets for any performance in January or February before 12/24, you could exchange it to any other performance during that time.
  • The choice of show can be personalized to your recipient.
  • You can sit at home and buy them all in one hour, or save some service fees and take a trip to the box office.
  • You’re supporting what you love and developing more audiences for the future.

It may seem like one pair of tickets is a small thing, but to sound like a 2nd grader for a second . . . lots of small things add up to one big thing.

So ‘Tis The Season, and your task is to buy at least one pair of tickets for someone on your list.  When you’ve done it, come back and comment below what show you bought and for whom (we won’t tell).

First five folks that do it will get the opening night gift that I gave to all of the members of the Speed The Plow company; a money clip in the shape of a dollar sign that says, “F*** MONEY” – Speed The Plow, Oct. 23, 2008.

(Not So) Favorite Quotes: Volume XIII

1083089025_398830e2aeFrom the New York Times, this past Wednesday:

Best Buy, the electronics retailer, cut its fiscal 2009 earnings outlook on
Wednesday and said it was being hammered by the worst retail
environment in its 42-year history.

“Rapid, seismic changes
in consumer behavior have created the most difficult climate we’ve ever
seen
,” the chief executive, Bradbury H. Anderson, said in a statement.

It may seem like running a big business and running a Broadway show are as different as HD and Blue-ray, but they are not.

As a Producer, it’s your job to not only look at today’s numbers, but also at tomorrow’s, next week’s, and next year’s and then . . . adjust accordingly.

Shows and theaters in NYC and around the country should be cutting their gross projections right about now, and making expense cuts to keep their heads above the water, because the tide is rolling in.

The tall kids (the hits) will be fine, but in storms like this, the average-sized kids, who would normally be able to withstand the waves, are going to get pulled under.

Simply put and without the water:  we’re looking at losing the middle of our market.

Just like the electronics industry is losing theirs.

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