A Tony Award-Winning Producer’s
Perspective on Broadway
And How You Can Get There Too

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What the adoption of the vaccine means for Broadway’s return.

I’m a pretty positive guy.

But I’ve had more down days in the past 365 than my entire life.

Can you blame me? I’ve got three big loves in this world:

#1 – My wife.
#2 – My daughter.

(They’re a tie for #1 & #2, btw. Just listed in the order I met them.)

And #3?

The theater.

And we all know what happened to #3. (#1 and #2 are what kept me through what happened to #3.)

So I’ve had some tough days. And I know you have too.

One of the hardest moments I had was when this survey hit my inbox. It indicated that only 25% of our audience was willing to come back to theater anytime soon.

I didn’t believe them. But I’m also a data guy, so I couldn’t dismiss them either.

So I got kinda down.

And then something popped in my inbox last week that turned my frown right around.

It was a survey about the vaccine.

What in the name of Covid does the vaccine have to do with it?

You can read the NY Times article here, but the crux of it is as follows:

When the race to create a vaccine against Covid began, half the people out there said they didn’t want it.

But now that it exists? Well, read for yourself:

“In polls by Gallup, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Pew Research Center, the portion of people saying they are now likely or certain to take the vaccine has grown from about 50 percent this summer to more than 60 percent, and in one poll 73 percent — a figure that approaches what some public health experts say would be sufficient for herd immunity.” (NYT)

What happened?

The idea of it is no longer ambiguous. It’s real. Tangible. Happening.

And the moment something is real and people can wrap their hands around it . . . they can also wrap their heads around it.

And we’re going to see the same trend in surveys of theatergoers.

Once a theater gets the green light?  Once a Broadway show sets a firm date?  Once the curtain goes up?!?! WATCH what happens to their interest.

It’s going to skyrocket.  Because that word of mouth is going to spread faster than any virus could. (Can you imagine what the ovation is going to be like on that first night back?!?!?)

Most consumers don’t think ahead anymore. It’s why advance sales for theater tickets or vacations don’t exist like they used to.

And this is where surveys and data let us down. (Can you believe it?)

You can’t ask people what they’ll do “if/when” . . . you can only ask them what they will do now.

Now, they won’t buy a theater ticket . . . because they can’t.

But when they can? When they have that vaccine themselves? When there are safety precautions on top of those vaccines?

Well, that day . . . if Evan Hansen were writing a letter to himself on that day, he’d say, “Today is going to be an amazing day.”

See you there.

– – – – –

The theater is coming back. You ready???  Join over 1,000 other TheaterMakers in our free Take Charge of your ’21 TheaterMakers challenge! It starts Monday!  Get ready for the renaissance.

The Top 10 FAQ About Our Theatermakers Challenge (that starts next week!)

Ok, sooooo, you like this challenge idea, don’t you?

How do I know you like it?

Well, we announced it a week ago, and we already have enough people signed up to fill a Broadway theater!  Truly!  (Haven’t signed up yet? Click here.)

Already our private Facebook group is poppin’ with TheaterMakers like you. And they’re all ready to charge ahead and take charge.

To those of you who already signed up; your passion for making this your best year of theatermaking yet is so inspiring to me.  So, we’re doubling down on the challenge. We’re adding more content, more strategies, and some surprises along the way.

Oh and prizes. Lots of prizes.

We will be giving away something theatermaking-related every single day of the challenge.

Like . . .

  1. Final Draft 11 Scriptwriting software! ($249 value)
  2. Headshot package with Photographer Jeremy Daniel ($450 value)
  3. Promotional Blast from The Streaming Stage Company to Promote Your Work to over 50k people ($995 value)
  4. Get your video edited together professionally with Video Editor Katie Goffman ($599 value)

And even . . .

The Work From Home package of your dreams including:

Video Conference Selfie Ring Light ($24.99 value)
Blue Yeti Nano Professional Condenser USB Microphone for Recording/Streaming on PC/Mac ($99 value)

and, drumroll please . . .

A BRAND NEW iPad Pro ($999 value)!!!

Oh, and you’ll also get the most valuable thing of all . . .advice that can help you achieve the things you want to achieve in the theater . . . you know the things you see when you close your eyes and dream.

That advice will be delivered by a team of “Broadway Avengers” – 10+ super successful TheaterMakers who will be your mentors through the challenge (and maybe even beyond?).

So get ready.

If you haven’t signed up . . . click here.

Now, since we announced the challenge, some questions have come up and I wanted to make sure I answered them . . . so here they go!

 

1. How much is The Challenge?

The challenge is free. It’s sponsored by The TheaterMakers Studio, the masterclass-like community of TheaterMakers I founded five years ago. You do NOT have to be a member of TheaterMakers Studio to join. TMS uses events like the challenge to let TheaterMakers know how it helps TheaterMakers.

 

2. What time is The Challenge?

The Challenge will take place from 1/18 – 1/22 from 12-1pm ET/ 11am-12pm CT/ 10-11am MT/ 9am-10am PT.

That’s 5-6 pm in London, 2-3 am in Japan, 4-5 am in Australia, for our international TheaterMakers.

 

3. What if I can’t make those times?

We WILL have replays of the video for those of you who can’t tune in during those times. While we strongly suggest you show up LIVE (so you can participate in the comments, ask questions, etc) we realize this is impossible to mandate. So, we will have replays! (But we suggest you add the challenge to your daily calendar NOW to reserve the time.)

 

4. Where does it take place?

It’s all online . . . and on Facebook.

You’ll be invited to join a private Facebook group of TheaterMakers like you. There you’ll get access to the private livestreams with me and the speakers . . . and you’ll also be able to talk with your fellow Challengers. This is where some of our biggest success stories come from! We’ve had bookwriters meet composers, directors meet writers and producers meet playwrights.

Don’t have a Facebook page?  Get one! There, you’re already going to have a more successful 2021.

 

5. Who are the speakers again?

You’ll get advice from Susan Blackwell, Laura Camien, Rodrick Covington, Mandy Gonzalez, Justin Guarini, Tony Howell, Amber Iman, Telly Leung, Ryan Scott Oliver, James Snyder, Vivek Tiwary, as well as a few surprise guests as well.

 

6. Who is it for?

It’s for anyone who wants to make theater or wants to make more theater. Whether you are just starting out or you’re a veteran TheaterMaker, this challenge will jump start your 2021 so you’ll be doing more of what you want to do. It’s for Writers, Producers, Directors, Actors . . . and yes, even Fans.  So sign up.  If you don’t like it, you can get your money back. Oh, wait.

 

7. What does the “challenge” part mean?

Great question.

So, this isn’t my livestream. This isn’t the Summit . This is a challenge.

That means you WILL have homework! You will have assignments. Of course, you can choose NOT to do them. No one is getting graded (hmmmm, there’s an idea for next time!).
But if you don’t do them, you won’t go as far this year as you will if you DO do them. Period.
So get ready to work.
8. How do we take charge of our TheaterMaking during Covid?
Some of the people on our speaker list had one of their most successful years ever in 2020. Is it harder to do? Sure. But that’s why learning strategies from those who have been successful are more important.
Oh, and Dr. Fauci expects theater to be up and running by the fall.  So this is the time when you get ahead.
9. Are you running The Challenge again soon?
No. Talk to us in 2022.
10. Will I feel out of my league if I haven’t started my theater career yet? It’s still just a dream?
Everyone starts somewhere. It’s just important to start. And this Challenge is a great way to do just that.
11. Where do I sign up?
See you at The Challenge in . . . 6 days!

Your Favorite Daddy-Daughter Duo Is Back!

I think it’s safe to say that what the world needs now . . .more than ever . . . is love, sweet love.

That’s the mission of YouTube singing sensations Mat & Savanna Shaw, who found an audience of millions during this pandemic, with their joyous and simple videos.  That’s right, who needs special effects and high tech, when you have a duo like this, with a message like this.
And that’s why I produced their world premiere concert a few weeks ago.
It was so successful (thousands tuned in) that we wanted to give those who missed it another chance.  That’s why, through Friday, January 15th, you can see their livestreamed concert OnDemand!.
Grab your ticket here, and don’t forget to share with friends and family.
And I dare you not to smile when these two sing.
Enjoy!

My review of Ratatouille Musical on Broadway (well e-Broadway, that is.)

Have you ever read a New York Times review of a musical and wonder, “Wait a second – I’m three paragraphs into this review and I still don’t even know if he liked it or not!”

Critics have a skill . . . it’s like a fisherman who doesn’t try to land the marlin on the first bite . . . they drag you in . . . all slllllloooooowwww liiiiiikkkkke. And get you to read all the way to the bottom.

SPOILER ALERT: This is not a New York Times review.

So let me get the rat out of the bag right now.

My review of Ratatouille musical?

I liked it.

You can stop reading now, if you like. And if you want a more in-depth analysis of it, you can read the actual New York Times review here.

But yeah, I liked it. I couldn’t help but get the e-chills hearing Daniel Mertzlufft’s orchestrated version of Emily Jacobsen’s “Ode To Remy” (aka The TikTok heard ’round the world) sung by Titus Burgess.

I loved Andrew Barth Feldman, Kevin Chamberlain (who got in on this early), and can Adam Lambert please come back to Broadway now?

And kudos to the writers, Michael Breslin and Patrick Foley, for how fast they delivered something of this quality (with a score that was mostly pre-existing!) In a way, they wrote a jukebox musical . . . and they wrote it faaaaaast.

So yeah, I liked the show.

But I effin’ LOVED that it happened.

Seriously, Ratatouille should get the Nobel Peace Prize for musicals.

At a time when the theater is torn apart . . . because we can’t be together . . . leave it to the NEXT generation, Gen Z, to teach us to create something no matter what the circumstances.

Great leadership often comes from the young . . . because they aren’t trying to lead . . . they are just doing what they love and it’s impossible not to follow them. It’s why I jumped into the TikTok fray  . . . I wanted to be in their group.

While I give so much love and props to this group of creators, the next generation of theatermakers, I so respect Disney Theatricals under the leadership of Tom Schumacher, for letting it happen.

20 years ago? This would not have happened. No way. Too many lawyers. Too much corporate fear.

Today? You must learn to give the people what they want. And Disney did that . . . while simultaneously protecting its brand (the musical was only available for viewing twice) . . . and helping to raise $1mm for The Actors Fund.

So yes, I liked the performances, the choreography, the costumes even . . .

But I loved what Ratatouille represents . . . the future.

And I predict that review will be a rave.

One of the (many) great tragedies of yesterday was this.

I don’t write about politics on this blog.

But what happened at The Capitol yesterday wasn’t politics.

It was a riot.  It was an insurrection.  It was a criminal act.

And yes, the fuse was lit by an ego-filled, selfish, “I-don’t-even-care-for-the-futures-of-the-people-who-follow me,” “leader.”

There were so many tragedies.

A woman died.  Lawyers who hid under desks will be haunted by that fear for a long time to come.  Leaders around there world were laughing at us.

And for me, there was another great loss over the course of this election battle that we will never, ever get back.

Time.

Several elected officials from one faction of one party, followed the drumbeat of a despot.  They pursued fraudulent claims (for their own personal gain) that were refuted over and over again, included by the highest court in the land.

To them, I say this . . .

Folks, this thing was over.  Done.  You literally had your day in court.  And you lost.

But no . . . you kept going.  When you knew what the outcome would be.  Yes, my non-friends, the definition of insanity is doing something over and over and expecting different results.  And this was insane . . . as evident from what you witnessed personally yesterday.

Now, when someone who is not a politician pursues something a bit bonkers in their own life, I don’t care so much.  It’s their life.

But you are congresspeople.  Your job is to help better the country.

And there was so much more you could have done with the countless hours you spent pursuing something that had been refuted 147 times, that you knew you would never win.

But you wasted everyone’s time anyway.  For what?

Imagine for a moment . . . how much good could have been done if instead of wasting your own time, money, and resources fighting baseless claims and therefore wasted the time, money, and resources of those who had to refute those claims, you had used that time, money and resources on something that actually could make the lives of the people of this country better???

  • What if all that time was spent working on better ideas for vaccine distribution?
  • What if all that time was spent on brainstorming solutions to the issues of systemic racism in this country?
  • What if all that time was spent at an effin’ soup kitchen?

As I said on Tuesday if there is one thing this pandemic has taught us is that life is short.  Life is so short.

And if we want better lives, we must make use of the time we have.

Every member of Congress has an obligation to use the resources they have to better their district . . . and therefore their state . . . and therefore their country . . . and therefore the world.  Those who waste time not only don’t help, they hurt devastate.

Oh, and at the same time, they can also incite violence.

They won’t go to jail.  But those who stormed the Capitol will.  Good job, folks.  Way to help your people.

Now, what can you do about it?

Two things . . .

  1.  Vote for those who take advantage of the short time we have to make the world a better place.  (Need an example of a Politician, Leader, Hero who wastes NO time?  Stacey Abrams.)
  2. Take advantage of the short time you have in this life to work on things that can have the biggest impact on your life.  Life. Is. Short.

There.  End of rant.

Ratatouille Musical review tomorrow.

– – – – –

Speaking of time, take our “Take Charge of your ‘2021’ Theatermakers challenge and learn how some of the most successful in our business and making this their best year yet . . . despite what happens in Washington!

 

 

Take The “Take Charge of your ’21” Challenge with me and these super TheaterMakers!

Let’s agree on two things.

1.  This year is going to be better than last year.
 
2.  How much better depends on you.
 
If you agree (especially with that 2nd part), then read on.  If you don’t agree, please stop reading. And I’ll see you on Thursday when I review the Ratatouille TikTok musical.
 
Everyone where they should be?
 
Great.
 
Ok, look, truth time. We’ve got some work to do. We lost a year of theater-making. And the theaters aren’t even lit . . . yet.
 
But they will be. And sooner than you think.
 
As I type, that vaccine is getting put into the arms of people all over the world.
 
And all over that world, Producers, Theater Owners, Artistic Directors, Casting Directors, etc. are setting specific dates for the return of our art.
 
Which means it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work.
 
That’s right . . . get to work. Not wait for work. Big difference.
 
Most people wait for the phone to ring. Most people wait for someone to hire them. Most people wait.
 
That’s why most people don’t work.
 
But those TheaterMakers out there who take charge of their own career? Well, for them? Things have a way of always “working” out.
 
In 2020, the year took charge of us. Me included. It was like a @#$%ing bucking bronco that none of us could tame.
 
This year, we’ve got a tighter grip on the reins. And it’s time we take charge of it and make it work for us, instead of the other way around.
 
And I don’t think there has EVER been a more important time to make a commitment like this to yourself and to the theater.
 
See, if I learned one thing in 2020 it was this . . . LIFE IS SHORT.
 
You never know when your work will be taken away. You never know when a life will be taken away.  (I think about you every dad, Dad – and you continue to inspire me to do challenge myself.)
You never know . . . anything.
 
And for those of us out there who want to achieve a lot in the theatre (or in life!) . . . whether that is writing shows, producing shows, acting in shows, directing shows, designing shows or whatever . . . we know now, we don’t have any time to waste.
 
We know that more than ANY OTHER INDUSTRY on the planet.
 
Which is why the time to act is now.
 
Which is also why the TheaterMakersStudio is holding a free 5-Day “Take Charge of Your ’21” TheaterMakers Challenge. You can sign up here.
 
What is it?
 
It’s simple.  But it works.
Every day for five days, we’ll get on a live session . . . and me, PLUS TWO THEATERMAKER SUPERSTARS, will give you a specific strategy, productivity tip, secret, resource or something we’re doing to make sure we have our best year of theatermaking yet . . . that you can apply to your theatermaking too.
There will be tips on writing, directing, acting, mindset, and more.
Who are the those other TheaterMakers?
 
You can see them all on this page, but the action-taking, inspirational TheaterMakers you’ll be hearing from include:
 
 
I chose each one of them, because, I’m a fan of their talent and a SUPER fan of how they have achieved their success . . . by acknowledging fear, conquering it, and taking charge of their work, their art and their lives.
 
And boom. Look what happens when they do.
 
I’ll be honest . . . while I’m super excited about how the tips from these TheaterMakers will help you have your best 2021 yet . . . I’m just as excited about how they will help me! 🙂
 
In addition to the private livestream strategy sessions for five days straight, you’ll get access to a private facebook group with fellow TheaterMakers who are also taking charge of their year.
 
You’ll also get some homework, so be ready.
 
But I also guarantee that if you do that homework, you’ll be on the path to your best year yet.
Oh, and prizes.  We’ll be giving away fun theatermaking tools every day.
 
So . . . if you’re a writer, producer, actor, director, designer, or any kind of TheaterMaker . . . or not yet a TheaterMaker but WANT to be one . . . click here to sign up for the challenge. It’s totally free. And we’re even going to give away some stuff.
 
In just five days, you’ll be on your way to your best year of theatermaking yet.
 
And when the year is over, we’ll look back and flip off 2020 and say, “See what I can do when I take charge of my year?”
 
Click here to sign up and start your year off right.

The challenge starts in 13 days!

The Top 10 Best Broadway Moments of 2020: PART II

Hello and happy New Year, everybody!
 
As we all prepare to forge ahead . . . I’m still stuck in 2020!  I mean, why not. It was soooo much fun, let’s hang out here a wee bit more, shall we?
Ok, ok.  I get it.  Stop throwing the e-tomatoes.  I’ll be quick.
 
Today you get Part II of my “Top 10 Best Broadway Moments of 2020”. Then, I promise, we can move the eff on.
 
Let’s get to it!
 
(To see Part I of my Top 10 Best Broadway Moments #1-5 click here.)
 
6. A Prime Time Special

It took a pandemic for another network (besides our loyal friends at CBS) to give us an hour-long variety special . . . hosted by none other than Tina Fey! “One Night Only: The Best of Broadway” was a gift from the NBC gods.  From the Jersey Boys opening to a number from Hamilton as well as performances from new shows like Jagged Little Pill, interviews with our stars like Rob McClure, a peek into the process of making a show, and more . . . this show did its job.  It was a rest stop on this long highway of getting Broadway back up and running again.  Now, NBC, what do we have to do to convince you to do this event next year??? (You can watch the special here on demand.)

7. The Shubert Theater Board Room Shake Up
 
The Shubert Organization is like the monarchy of the Broadway theater world.  It’s the oldest.  It’s steeped in tradition.  It controls the most real estate.  And with an institution that is as large and powerful as that, change often comes slowly.  That’s why I was thrilled to see Pamela Newkirk, a journalist, scholar and Black woman, added to its board of directors.  And just in case you thought this was a symbolic addition to its knights-of-the-round-table like board . . . read on.  Pamela’s most famous work thus far is a book called . . . wait for it . . .  Diversity Inc.: The Failed Promise of Billion-Dollar Business.  So yeah, The Shuberts knew what they were getting into when they added her to their inner circle.  And they’re obviously embracing it.  It’s a leap ahead for the org and our industry.
8. The TheaterMakers Summit
 
I wasn’t going to put The Summit on this list, because obviously I’m a bit biased, having founded The TheaterMakers Studio and its yearly conference.  But I did, because to be honest, the success of this year’s Summit had nothing to do with me. 
The success was because of the 100 (!) speakers and 1000 attendees who came brimming with optimism and excitement about how Broadway could be even better when we come back.  It was one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever seen, never mind helped put together!  Even I walked away with 5 pages of notes from these A-list speakers on how I can make more theater and better theater!

So, I put it on the list.  You can see the inspiring and action-initiating talks here.

Oh, and yes, we are doing it again next year.  We already have a theme!  Ready?  It’s . . . “Places, please.” 🙂  Learn more here.

 
9. Prepare Ye for Godspell at The Berkshire Theater Group
 

Ok, let’s be honest.  Producers and Theaters are still figuring out how they are going to do theater THIS coming summer!  And yet Berkshire Theater Group and it’s formidable leader, Kate Maguire,  pulled it off LAST summer!

Godspell was the first production in the country to receive approval for production by Actors Equity . . . and even though the show had to pivot 147 times (including a last-minute change to present it outside), they pulled it off.  And they got multiple NY Times articles as a result!  While press attention wasn’t the goal, it did prove again that figuring out how to do something when no one else can, can get you a lot of attention.  Luckily, because of the leadership of Ms. Maguire, that attention was all positive.

We owe this theater and Kate a debt for not just dreaming about a production, but by doing one.  It inspired us to all to figure out how we can do it too.
 
10. Diana . . . and we haven’t even seen it yet!
 
One of my most-liked posts on Instagram this year was this one . . . a shot of me outside the Longacre theater as Diana, a new musical that hasn’t even opened on Broadway, was performing for cameras inside.
Netflix has been our fairy godmother this year, giving us Boys in the Band, The Prom and more.  But its biggest bet on Broadway this year was putting hundreds of TheaterMakers on a new musical BACK to work, and shooting Diana, on stage, for release in 2021.  Before anyone knows if it’s going to be a hit or not!  Not only could this help Diana build an audience before it opensbut if this works for Netflix, it could be the start of a brand new business model for developing new musicals.  Yep, you heard it here first . . . the streamed show BEFORE that show opens, could become the new concept album (like Jesus Christ Superstar, Waitress, etc.), that develops a show’s fanbase and therefore a marketing foundation.
And there they are . . . my favorite moments of 2020!  (Part I is here if you need to go back.)
And now, let’s get the @#$% out of this year and make 2021 the best that anyone of us has ever seen.  Broadway and the theater will be back.  And boy oh boy are the ovations at those first shows going to be enormous.
See you there.
Happy New Year everyone.
– – – – –
Speaking of “next,” my next blog will be on Tuesday, January 5th . . . and it’s going to be about a new survey about the vaccine and what that means for our start date.  Click here to make sure you get it first.

The Top 10 Best Broadway Moments of 2020 (yes, there really were 10): PART I

Boy oh boy was this blog an exercise in how to find a bright spot (or 10) in the darkest of all times.
 
Broadway shut down in 2020. Something it has never done. Like ever. How could there be ANY “best” of Broadway when its stages were dark?
 
Well, that’s the thing.
 
What we learned this year is that you can turn the lights out on Broadway . . . but the light never goes out on Broadway.
 
Thanks to the ingenuity, imagination, and a Braveheart-like refusal to give up of TheaterMakers and their fans (see #3), the theater is still alive . . . and kick-ball-changin’.
 
From streaming shows in living rooms, to drive-in theater, to board room shakeups and crowd-sourced musicals, this was a helluva active year for a year in which we couldn’t act.
 
And years from now, when we look back at this elongated intermission, I predict it will be one of the most important and impactful years in our history.
 
What stood out as my 10 favorite moments? The moments that made me smile, made me proud, and make me want to double down on this biz, rather than give it all up? (Because be honest – who among us didn’t think about throwing in the make-up towel at least a half a dozen times over the past year?)
 
Here are my 10 Best Broadway moments of 2020 in no particular order:
 
1. Hamilton hits Disney+
 
The film and theater industry were still buzzing about the $75mm Disney paid for Hamilton . . . when the studio announced the mega hit would go straight to Disney+.
“But what about the Academy Awards? What about all those people who might not see the show live? Is it too early in the show’s lifecycle to put it out there?”
 
I’m sure the players debated those questions like the founding fathers fought at the Constitutional congress. But they released it anyway. And not only did it make the show accessible, and keep it and Broadway top of mind, but it officially made streaming a thing. Because when the popular kid does something, everyone else follows.
 
Expect more streaming shows (finally!) in the next five years.
 
2. The Broadway Advocacy Coalition Forums
 
Like many industries, the theater had a racial reckoning this year, taking a deep long look at itself in the mirror . . . and not liking what it saw. Because we’re a liberal and progressive art form, it’s easy for us to say, “Oh, that’s not an issue here.”
 
Thanks to the many organizations and individuals who had the courage to step up and say, “Stop talking and start listening,” we now know this issue, like the coronavirus itself, is everywhere.
 
And it’s time we take serious steps to eradicate it.
 
There were two things that slapped me into self-realization. The first, this article by Asmeret Ghebremichael and her subsequent interview with me.
 
And the second was the Broadway Advocacy Coalition Forums, especially their “Day of Listening.”
 
I’ll never forget co-founder Britton Smith’s opening remarks . . . his passion . . . his authenticity . . . honesty. It was one of the best displays of leadership by a change agent I have ever seen.  
 
And then there were the stories that followed from Britton, Amber Iman, and others, that all shocked me to my center.
 
See, I’ll admit.  I was one of those people who thought I understood this issue a little better than most. Since starting my career as a company manager, I worked on several “diverse” shows on Broadway that dealt with race. Two of my shows even won diversity awards. So, yeah, prior to this summer, if you asked me how much I knew about this issue, I’d say I was like a 6 or 7 out of 10.
 
And Broadway Advocacy Coalition helped me realize . . . I didn’t know a @#$%ing thing.
 
I was so grateful for these forums. And I knew the 5,000 other people who tuned in are too. Because I know more now. And I also know I have a whole lot more to know.  And I vow to keep listening, learning and taking those steps.
 
If you haven’t seen the forums, click here. And I recommend bookmarking them and rewatching them whenever you have a free moment.  
 
3. The TikTok Heard ‘Round The World
 
“The world’s gonna know your name . . .what’s your name, man?”
Forget Hamilton.  Forget Roxie. The name on everyone’s lips and in everyone’s feeds . . . is Ratatouille!!!!!!!!!
 
There are so many amazing elements to the Ratatouille story. A single TikTok video of a young woman making up a song for a hypothetical musical, was like a butterfly flapping its wings in cyberspace. And it caused a musical tsunami.
 
It united a generation of musical lovers and future TheaterMakers, who all joined in . . . and crowdsourced a musical.
 
But they didn’t just make the music. TikTokers made costumes, puppets, choreography and more. I couldn’t help but join in on the fun, and offered a few tag lines (this original video of mine has been seen almost 2 million times!).
 
But what’s amazing is that the powers-that-be recognized the powers-that-will-be . . . and they approved a production of Ratatouille for the Actors Fund!
 
That’s right, the first ever crowdsourced musical on social media will make its debut tomorrow night!  Get your ticket here.
 
If you were ever worried that the next generation wasn’t interested in seeing musicals or making musicals, fear not. The Ratatouille movement proves that our future isn’t ratty at all.
 
(Oh, and PS, TikTok is now officially a thing – especially if you want a younger audience.)
 
4. Seth Rudestky and James Wesley’s “Stars In The House”
 
When Broadway got shut down, I started emailing people I knew to figure out how we could stream something . . . anything. And one of those people was Seth.
 
He responded tout-suit and told me he was already working on something.  And in his quick email, I could already hear how hard he was working to give something to fans, and give something back to our community.
 
He turned his webcam on the next day.
 
Since then, Stars in the House, his twice daily (!) part interview, part performance, variety, reunion and more streamed show, has raised over $620,000 for The Actors Fund.  $620,000!!!
 
Oh, and the show is also hysterical, moving and more.
 
Would you ever have imagined that a couple of guys in their living room could make this kind of impact?  I could.  If Seth was behind it.
5.  For Nick.
 
How can a tragedy like the loss of Nick Cordero be one of our best moments?
 
Because Nick became a symbol . . . something that the industry could rally around at a time when we didn’t have much to rally around. And his wife’s overwhelming spirit . . . her love for her husband inspiring people to get up and dance . . . to sing together, to pray together . . . was one of the most unifying moments of the past year and a half.
 
Often it is a tragedy that brings people together. I hate that. I just hate it. Especially for Amanda and her little boy Elvis.  But Nick is now a saint in our industry.  And he will be a symbol for all of us to do what that song of his advised . . . to live your life.
 
You can watch a tribute to Nick from some of Broadway’s best here.  
 
For my other 5 Best Broadway Moments of 2020, check out tomorrow’s blog.  Or click here and have it emailed straight to you.

[Zoom Strategy Session] In case you did NOT get what you wanted from Santa.

I’m not surprised.
 
Whenever I talk to TheaterMakers about what they want . . . money never comes up.  No one talks about royalties and selling the movie rights or their share of the merch.
 
All writers, producers, directors want for Christmas (and every other time of year) is to see their shows on a stage. 
Sound like you?
 
You want to hear the actors delivering the lines. You want to hear singers singing your songs. 
 
And you want to hear the applause, laughter, or tears that follow.
 
And I get it. Because that’s all I want too.
 
It’s all I ever wanted.
 
When I was starting out, I pursued a lot of the “traditional” ways to get produced. And . . . they didn’t work. (I’m sure you can relate.)
 
And boy was I frustrated.
 
Then Hal Prince took me to task.
 
Yep, I got a talking-to from the 21-time Tony Award . . . who also shared with me his secrets of seeing your shows on a stage.
 
And, well, when you get advice from a guy like that, it shouldn’t be a surprise to hear that the stuff worked.
 
In fact, every single thing I’ve done in my career so far (and every thing I WILL do) is because of what he taught me that day.
 
The moment his advice started to work, I vowed to share it. To help other TheaterMakers like me see their shows on stage.
 
That’s why I started blogging, podcasting, and it’s why I’m reviving a webinar I did earlier this year . . . with a twist.
 
This Wednesday, December 30th at 8 PM Eastern, join me for a free Zoom Strategy Session entitled, “Get Produced in 2021!” I’ll share the “key” that Hal gave me almost twenty years ago, and the formula that I use to see my shows on stage today.
 
 
And I hope you’ll join, whether you are a TheaterMaker just starting out and have a script (or two!) in a drawer. Or if you’re a veteran who knows your stuff is great, and you can’t understand why it hasn’t received the visibility it deserves. (I’ll explain the issue – which has nothing to do with you.)
 
 
2021 is right around the corner. And there is no question there WILL be shows on stages this year.
 
The only question is . . . will yours be one of them?
So if you haven’t gotten what you REALLY wanted from Santa, join me for this session.
 
Get Produced in 2021
Free Zoom Strategy Session
Wednesday, December 30, 2020
8 PM ET
 
 
– – – – –
 
P.S. Full disclosure . . . at the end of this free training session, I am going to share a very special offer for you to join The TheaterMakers Studio. Something The Studio doesn’t advertise but I asked them to come up with.
 
See, after almost ten years of running training for TheaterMakers, we now KNOW for a fact what works. We analyzed our success stories and cross referenced what they have in common. Then, we took those things and put them in this offer. Because we know TheaterMakers need more resources now that EVER. Oh, and if you’re already a member, you’ll get the same opportunity. Because this is about getting as many people produced in 2021 as possible. We’ve got some ground to make up!
 
If you don’t want the offer, no worries, the Strategy Session is free. But I didn’t want you to be surprised about the offer.
 

Rebecca Luker: The Real Angel of Music. 1961-2020.

I was disappointed.
 
In 1988, I listened to the original cast recording of Phantom of the Opera over and over and over. And with each “repeat all” I fell more in love with the show, the characters and the voices of the actors I heard on that CD.
 
And then, after eight months of waiting, we got tickets to see the musical live on Broadway.
 
It would be my first Broadway musical. 
 
I didn’t know what to expect. But I remember saying, “I can’t wait to see those actors from the CD that I’ve been listening to!”
 
I had no idea how Broadway worked. I had no idea that the original cast had long since left by the time I pulled up to the Majestic Theater.
 
So when I opened my playbill and saw the woman playing Christine was someone name . . . Rebecca Luker . . . well, I was disappointed.
 
And then . . . she sang.
 
It was a voice unlike anything I had ever heard. And I wasn’t hearing it on a CD. Or on TV. It was live. Granted, that voice was a little far away, because I was in the 2nd to last row in the balcony . . . but I couldn’t take my plastic opera glasses off her. 
 
I read her bio over and over (God how I wish I had Google back then), wondering who she was . . . and knew I had to see her perform again.
 
I saved my Domino’s pizza delivery money for the next few months, earning enough for “scalper seats” to go back to see Phantom . . . praying this time NOT for the original cast . . . but that Ms. Luker would still be there.
 
She was.
 
Years later, I saw her in The Secret Garden . . . first in this appearance on The Tony Awards, and then, after saving up some more delivery dollars, live.
 
Then I started working in the business. My first job on Broadway was Hal Prince’s Show Boat.  Unfortunately, my stint in the show started just after she finished her term as Magnolia, so our interactions were few.  But I remember every one.
 
I saw her in everything. Fanboying from a far. Meeting her at a few events. And then finally, just a couple of years ago, when she was cast in a workshop I was involved in, I was able to gush. And I’ll tell you what I told her.
 
Rebecca Luker is one of the most glorious leading ladies Broadway has ever, ever, EVER had . . . and ever will have.
 
And we lost her, in this year that won’t quit, at the tender age of 59.
 
She took my gushing that day like she had never heard it before. Gave me a hug. We talked about our mutual friends and how it was surprising we hadn’t worked together before.
 
And I walked away from the encounter like I did after seeing her in Phantom in 1989.  Because she was as much of a star offstage as on.
 
To her family, especially her husband Danny, who is one of the most inspiring humans I’ve ever met: you’re all in my prayers.  Losing her is one of those things that make you look up at the sky and say, “Really?!?!  Why?”
 
If you don’t know who Rebecca Luker is . . . well . . . lucky you, we have Google today.
 
But I’ll post the video from The Secret Garden to get you started.  In this musical, she plays a woman . . . who her husband and the world lost too soon.
 

 

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