Play my 2011 Tony pool! You can win an iPad!

Mmmmmm, Tony Award.

Mmmmmm, iPad.

Put ’em together and you get . . . my 2011 Tony Award Pool!

Yep, every year we let you be the Tony Voter.  Who do you think is going to win?

Pick the winners and you could be walking around with a brand spankin’ new iPad Deux.

Now, this might all seem like fun & games (and it is) but picking Tony Winners is a big part of what Producers do.  If you’ve got a good eye, you could be beating the Broadway game for reals, yo.

So let’s see what you’ve got!

To play, click the link below and pick away!

PLAY KEN’S 2011 TONY POOL!

Some rules and regs:

– Only one entry per reader.  Multiple entries will disqualify all of your entries.

– To play, you must be an email subscriber to the blog.  If you are not an email subscriber, use the box on the upper left corner of this page to subscribe now.  If you are already an email subscriber, you do not have to resubscribe.

– Make sure you fill out ALL of the information on the “Verification Page” of your entry.  Incomplete entries (and there were a few last year) cannot be counted.  And that’s a major bummer.

– When asked for your email on the “Verification Page”, make sure you enter the same email that you use to subscribe to the blog. It’s how we verify who you are.

Got it?  Good!

So PLAY TODAY and you can win an iPad!

Click here to enter.  Hurry voting closes on Tony Sunday June 9, 2011 at 11:59 PM!

I’m speaking at the Apple Store. You coming?

I’ve had a long history with Apple products.

And it goes back a long way before the iPhone commercial.

I was coming-of-age at the same time as the personal computer, and thankfully I had parents that fed my dream of being Matthew Broderick in WarGames (minus the global thermonuclear war part).  I worked on Radio Shack TRS-80 Terminals, had a Texas Instruments TI-99, and peeked and poked on the Commodore 64.  But my favorite home computers were the pre-Macintosh Apple II and IIe.  I can’t tell you how many nights I stayed up way past my bedtime playing Zork (insert end-of-an-80s-movie chants of “Nerd” here).

And now, it’s not uncommon to see me typing on my MacBook Air, with the iPad right next to me, as I talk on my iPhone.

So, you can imagine how much fun doing that iPhone commercial was for me.

The only thing cooler would be speaking at the flagship Apple Store.

And now that’s happening!

Next Monday, April 25th at 7:00 PM, I’ll be speaking at the 5th Ave store here in Manhattan.  The subject?  My favorite:  Broadway Plugged-In.

Hope you can make it!  Maybe they’ll set up Zork on an IIe for us!

– – – – –

FUN STUFF

– Take the Broadway Investing 101 Seminar.  Click here for dates in NYC and LA.

– Come to the Director-Writer Speed Date!  RSVP here.

– Win 2 tickets to see Born Yesterday on Broadway and a free dinner.  Enter the Sunday Giveaway here.

Book version of Year #3 now available.

I made the first year of The Producer’s Perspective available in book form as a lark.  Frankly, I wanted a book to put on my mantle, and something to give my Mom for Christmas.

What I wasn’t prepared for was that a lot of you out there really enjoyed reading it in book form.  So, I vowed to keep publishing a yearly volume.  And so, it is with shock and awe that I announce that Year #3 (!) of TPP is now available for purchase in book form.

You can get it here.  (Previously year versions are available here.)

Books are a stubborn lot.  Despite the vast number of products like the iPad and Kindle that have transformed the way we consume the written word, they aren’t going away without a fight.

Let’s hope the theater is just as ornery.

What I learned from a Mall or Four ways to keep your audience at your theater.

If you run a theater anywhere in the world, your goal should not only be to get your audience to your theater, it should also be to keep your audience at your theater.

The longer they hang around, the more they think of it as a place of respite and entertainment, and the many more tickets they will purchase.  Expand the brand and they will buy.

I call it “Mall theory:”  creating a destination where people want to hang out . . . and eventually they’ll spend money, because you’ll be able to reinforce your message more often, and educate your consumers on all that you have to offer. For you Sondheim lovers, I also call it, “Spreading pitch on the stairs,” so your audiences get stuck.  (Name the show!)

While a theater or a theater complex will never have the traffic of the Mall of America, there are a number of very small and inexpensive perks that a theater can provide to keep consumers coming back, and maybe, sticking around.  Here are Four Ways To Keep Your Audiences At Your Theater.

1.  Free Wifi

With more and more devices that need Wifi (like the iPad) for their full functionality, a free Wifi spot is like an oasis in the desert.  I’ll plop myself for hours in a comfortable spot just to have that access, and I’m sure your audience will, too.  Add Free Wifi to all your common areas, and put signs for it everywhere.  You’ll have people stopping by sooner than you think (there’s no coincidence that Starbucks just traded out their pay Wifi service for free service for all).  Once your WiFi-ers are online, make them sign up for your mailing list in order to access the web.

2.  Live Music

People love live music and it doesn’t take much to get an up-and-coming singer/songwriter to play a few tunes in your lobby or wherever people may congregate.  Or better . . . use your theater itself (which is probably dark during the day) for free lunchtime concerts for local artists.  I know a bunch of folks who’d do it for tips or for the credit (it’s the coffee house or subway tunnel approach).

3.  Food/Drinks

Speaking of coffee, do you offer free coffee at non-peak times?  I’m not saying you have to have the best Columbian beans brewing for every passerby, but some basic free coffee is an incredible pull.  There is a Cub Scout group on I-95 that uses this bait and catches a lot of fish.  They put a huge “STAY AWAKE!  FREE COFFEE AT NEXT REST STOP!” sign on the highway, and get thousands of people pulling over.  They do have free coffee . . . and a bunch of other bake sale items for sale.  I bought a rice krispie treat.  And I don’t even drink coffee. Beyond coffee, strike a deal with a local deli or sandwich shop to get a few sandwiches on consignment.  How many times have you gone to the mall just for the food court, and ended up buying something while you’re there?  We need food and drink in order to survive.  Unfortunately, the same isn’t true for theater.  So, put what we need in your place, and you’ll get more people coming by.

4.  Lectures

People love to learn.  This is especially true of theater audiences (according to League statistics, 73% of the Broadway audience has college degrees, and 36% has graduate degrees).  So get some people to give free talks and lectures about a variety of subjects.  Have a Broadway Producer come and chat about what it’s like to Produce on Broadway (I’d do it).  Have a local painter come and talk about how she gets her inspiration for her paintings.  Or have an investment banker come and talk about how to navigate the choppy market (the subjects don’t have to be about the arts – they just have to be about the audience).  By providing these free mini continuing-ed courses, you’ll be giving something of great value to your audience, which should engender a reciprocal give-back to you, in the form of a ticket purchase or a donation.

Audiences are like children.  You want them playing in your own backyard so you can keep an eye on them, make sure they aren’t being influenced by others, and . . . tell them what to do.

How do you keep your audiences at your theater?

And the winner of the Tony Pool is . . .

. . . not me.

I scored a pretty disappointing 18 out of 26 in my own personal Tony Pool this year.  I feel like I should give my iPad back!

But how did you do?

Well, get this . . .

In looking at what the majority of you Tony Pool players thought . . . you scored a 23 out of 26!  That’s right . . . you are now the best predictors of the Tonys on the planet!  (And two of the awards the aggregate got wrong were design awards).  Next year, all eyes are going to be on what you think is going to win.

Speaking of winning, let’s get to the winners of the Pool!

This year, the Producer’s Perspective Tony Pool grand prize winner is . . .

Judson R. from Lawrenceville, Georgia, with an almost perfect score of 25 out of 26!  Wowza, Judson!  If I were the NY Times, I’d be calling you for your predictions next year.

Congrats, Judson, you’re taking home an iPad!

Our first prize winner of an Amazon Kindle is . . . Neil R., who is also from Georgia (it’s a big Tony pickin’ state down there, apparently).  Congratulations, Neil!  The Kindle ain’t an iPad, but I gotta tell you, it’s pretty awesome.

And our second prize of a $50 Amazon.com gift certificate goes to Roberta H. from Oconomowoc, WI.

Unfortunately, no one nabbed the perfect score bonus of $100 bucks.  But since I was prepared to pay that out anyway, I’m going to donate it to one of the great programs at TDF.

But we did need that tie-breaker!  Marian screwed us all with that zero-second speech, so the ties went to the person closest to zero.

Winners, we’ll be contacting you about your stuff shortly. Watch that inbox.

Now, who’s got predictions for next year’s Tonys?  Will Daniel Radcliffe win Best Actor for How To Succeed?  Will Scottsboro Boys win best score?  Will Godspell take the Tony for Best Revival?  🙂

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