Why I decided to be a Producer on . . .
Last week, I tweased (tweeted + teased) that I’d be signing up to produce a show on Broadway this spring.
And that show is . . . Kinky Boots!
I’m thrilled to be playing a part in bringing this brand spankin’ new musical to Broadway, fresh from its very successful Chicago tryout last Fall.
A tryout that I saw and fell in love with, right?
Nope. I didn’t see it.
So why am I producing it?
Since this blog is about opening up the Broadway process, I thought I’d explain my process.
Well, of course I’ve read the script (3x through) and of course I’ve let other folks I know and trust read the script (3 friends actually), and of course I’ve done the same with the music, and the reviews and all the materials that I could get my hands on, and even talked to a bunch of theatergoers who did see that tryout.
And of course everything I looked at and everything I read was all great.
But what really inspired me to get involved with Kinky Boots was the first W.
What the W is the first W?
See, my decision making process (and the one that I teach in this seminar), involves taking a cue from journalism school and asking myself the Five Ws: Who, What, When, Where, Why (. . . and the 6th bonus H of “How Much”).
I go through every W and make a list of the reasons to get involved (or not). And in the case of Kinky, I didn’t have to get past the first W: Who.
Let me start at the top. Daryl Roth and Hal Luftig (who I learned so much from when I was the Company Manger of his Thoroughly Modern Millie) are two of the classiest Producers I know, with a great eye for great art as well as an eye on the bottom line, to ensure that investors are constantly top of mind.
Then we get to those writers . . . like the Tony Award winning Harvey Fierstein (who is one of the few authors that could make a living just from writing books to musicals) and the Grammy Award winning Cyndi Lauper (!) who even when she was writing pop hits, she was also writing story songs with characters.
And then, put them with Master Director-Choreographer Jerry Mitchell who I’ve known since my days as a PA on the Pre-Broadway tour of Grease (that starred Rosie O’Donnell, a pre-Will & Grace Megan Mullaly, and more), who not only knows how to tell a great story on stage, but knows how to make a musical move with incredible style. And, like the others on the team, Jerry is just a great human being (how much has the Jerry-inspired Broadway Bares donated to BC/EFA again?)
Oh, and then there’s the star Billy Porter, who I heard blow the roof off the joint when JRB’s Songs from a New World was developing. He too was in that Grease, and when I watched him on stage at the age of 20, I remember thinking, “I’d pay money to see that guy perform anytime, anywhere.” And I think other people will think that too.
I could go on and on with more of those Ws, but I think you get the point, which is this . . .
Early in my career I was pitching a show to a mentor of mine and I said, “So, will you invest in this project?” And he said, “Ken, I don’t invest in projects. I invest in people.”
Kinky Boots is an incredible project . . . but I’m going to produce it first and foremost because of its incredible people.
As always, I’ll keep you updated as this process continues.
Oh, and you can get your Kinky Boots tickets here.
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