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

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Podcast Episode 198: Anthony Veneziale

  • Hip-Hop/Rap transitioning to the theatre & why its working today
  • How getting kicked off of the soccer team led him to audition for a show in college
  • Process of practicing freestyle + the structure and exercises he made up
  • Freestyle Love Supreme Academy
    • Helping foster creative and diverse voices
    • Inclusive format → facilitators tapping into the wisdom of the room
    • Create an environment where people feel supported = exposure therapy
  • His Company – Speechless → improv thinking for big companies
  • What’s next for FLS
  • Live freestyle at the end with Ken beatboxing

BOOK PRESALE ALERT: This one answers the question I’m asked the most.

Last spring we released the only book on the subject Broadway Investing . . . and now we’re releasing a brand new book about the subject I’m asked about more than anything else . . .

Early Hungarian cabinet making!

No, no . . . jk, jk.  (By the way, that cabinet making quip is a European Vacation reference.)

The topic I’m asked about more than anything is . . . how to raise money for Broadway or Off-Broadway shows.

So, in an effort to help those of you out there producing or self-producing shows (and as part of our #5000By2025 mission), this summer I wrote the only book about raising money specifically geared towards the theater.

And it’s available now for presale on Amazon.com for only a fraction of what it will cost when it is officially released.

What’s it called?

It’s a continuation of our “How To” series.  The first was, How To Succeed in the Arts . . . or in Anything.  And this is, yep, How to Raise Money in the Arts . . . or in Anything. (There will be one more in the series, by the way – I’ll let you guess what that “How To” is.)

This book covers . . .

  • The different legal structures for raising money for the arts.
  • Where to find investors for your specific project.
  • How to script your ask in order to increase your chance for success.
  • The most important part of raising money that most people forget (do this and you’ll raise the money you need 10x faster at least).
  • How to enjoy raising money (it is possible – truly).

The book is gonna list for $19.95 . . . but you can get it via the Amazon presale for only $5.99 (Jeff Bezos likes when self-publishers give his customers a super-duper entry-level price for new books . . . and what Bezos wants, Bezos gets – and you benefit).  Just do me a favor, after you finish it, give it a good review so that more people can find it.

Because the truth is, after Bezos takes his chunk, this book doesn’t make us any money.  But it could find money for a lot of people’s projects.

And that means there will be more theater in the world.  And that means the world will be that much better of a place.

Get How To Raise Money For The Arts . . . Or For Anything first here (or get it for a friend).

#5000By2025.

Broadway Grosses w/e 10/13/2019: Leaves aren’t the only thing piling up . . .

A three-day weekend juiced overall box office figures by 17% last week bringing in $35M. A welcome boost coming off a typically quiet September.

Standouts last week included record-breaking grosses from Moulin Rouge! Hadestown, and To Kill A Mockingbird. Tina – The Tina Turner Musical began previews over the weekend and played to a full house.

You can find the rest of the figures below, courtesy of The Broadway League:

Show Name Gross  TotalAttn  %Capacity AvgPdAdm
AIN’T TOO PROUD $1,585,819.08     11,365 99.76% $139.54
ALADDIN $1,409,738.10     13,729 99.37% $102.68
AMERICAN UTOPIA $753,708.75       5,331 94.02% $141.38
BEAUTIFUL $1,061,506.50       8,259 100.62% $128.53
BEETLEJUICE $1,249,044.70     12,045 100.85% $103.70
BETRAYAL $730,993.20       6,977 84.18% $104.77
CHICAGO $770,756.78       8,434 97.62% $91.39
COME FROM AWAY $1,077,662.00       8,542 102.08% $126.16
DEAR EVAN HANSEN $1,154,890.55       7,996 101.58% $144.43
DERREN BROWN: SECRET $344,016.50       4,904 68.95% $70.15
FREESTYLE LOVE SUPREME $765,650.60       5,407 88.35% $141.60
FROZEN $1,140,768.10     13,312 98.81% $85.69
HADESTOWN $1,523,311.00       7,448 101.42% $204.53
HAMILTON $3,090,992.00     10,752 101.51% $287.48
HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD, PARTS ONE AND TWO $1,253,330.00     12,976 100.00% $96.59
LINDA VISTA $168,097.15       4,116 87.95% $40.84
MEAN GIRLS $1,067,655.30       9,768 99.67% $109.30
MOULIN ROUGE! $2,203,608.50     10,500 100.81% $209.87
OKLAHOMA! $490,176.10       4,875 93.61% $100.55
SLAVE PLAY $481,214.00       5,910 93.16% $81.42
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,183,322.55       8,658 103.37% $136.67
THE GREAT SOCIETY $394,327.00       5,243 61.83% $75.21
THE HEIGHT OF THE STORM $323,779.00       3,958 76.94% $81.80
THE INHERITANCE $354,447.50       3,170 74.91% $111.81
THE LIGHTNING THIEF $325,441.50       5,818 67.78% $55.94
THE LION KING $2,242,450.00     13,384 98.64% $167.55
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $1,154,438.40     12,490 97.27% $92.43
THE ROSE TATTOO $472,590.00       5,607 97.21% $84.29
THE SOUND INSIDE $428,406.00       5,596 70.09% $76.56
TINA $212,998.00       1,476 100.00% $144.31
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD $2,244,415.34     11,675 101.70% $192.24
TOOTSIE $962,345.60     10,135 79.08% $94.95
WAITRESS $751,433.60       7,691 92.00% $97.70
WICKED $1,839,657.00     15,099 97.99% $121.84
TOTALS $35,212,990.40   282,646 92.15% $118.94
+/- THIS WEEK LAST SEASON $1,825,171.93      
PERCENTAGE +/- THIS WEEK LAST SEASON 5.47%      

Today’s blog was guest-written by Ryan Conway, General Manager for DTE Management. Find out more here!

They locked my phone up. Twice! And I loved it.

If you follow me on Facebook, then you know last week I was a lucky attendee at the musical improv Freestyle Love Supremethe brainchild of upcoming Podcast guest, Anthony “Two-Touch” Veneziale, and his cohorts, including a real underachiever named Lin-Manuel Miranda.

As I posted, the show is one of the most uniquely authentic and exciting evenings I’ve had in a Broadway house in a long while.  Sure, it was like watching the Olympics of rap.  And sure it was funny because good improv always is.  But I never expected it to be so moving.

But this ain’t about the show.

This is about what the show forced me and the 900 other people that night to do before the show.

They made us shut off our phones and drop it in a little yellow pouch, provided by a company called Yondr, which was then locked down better than the cell phone transcripts between the US and Ukraine (heyo!).

So for the next 90 minutes.  I was phoneless.

Now, I’m not a during-a-show texter-or-checker anyway, but boy oh boy was this an odd feeling.

And once I got over the anxiety and uncomfortable feeling (partly because of the size of that pouch sticking out of my pocket) . . . I loved it.  Just loved it.

I was able to be more present than I have been at a show in a long time.  And you know what?  That made me enjoy it more.

So maybe this Yondr thing is a . . . thing.

I know, heresy coming from me . . . the guy who created “Tweet Seats” for my production of Godspell (and got some great press about it, including Rock Center).

But screens are even more abundant now than they ever were before.  And we’re addicted to them more.  And they distract us more, never mind the artists who are busting their brains and bodies to entertain us.

So maybe it is time for us to be forced to lock up our devices and free up our minds?

But what about the marketing opportunities?  What about the kids who have never known life without a cell phone?

These issues must be addressed because most shows need the marketing engines that are those things in our pockets sans pouches.  And the theater itself needs kids coming now so that we’ll have adults coming in the future.

That’s why I’ve always suggested allowing phones for specific moments . . . pre-show, curtain call (!) or special shareable moments before or after the experience.

But surely there’s a way to do both.

Locking our devices up won’t work for every show, because anything we force our customers to do adds to the friction of them making a purchase.  And most shows want to reduce that friction, not create more.

But it’s an option . . . and an option that I look forward to seeing spread throughout our community, because yeah.  I loved FSL, but I loved it more because I knew for 90 minutes, it was just me and those artists and my friends in the audience . . . and not my friends on Facebook.

UPDATE:  And then my phone was locked up a 2nd time!  Because guess who was on Jury Duty this week in Federal Court?  This guy.  And guess what they also did?  Locked up our phones!  And guess who had several hours of focus time . . . and reading time . . . and brainstorming time.  And guess who wrote on an actual pad of paper with a pen instead of on a screen?

And guess who had the most productive 3 hours he has had in a long time (before he was called for a voir dire)?

This guy.

So maybe we should have Yondr for artrepreneurs too.  Or maybe we should learn how to police ourselves to shove our phones in a drawer and turn off our email notifications on our computers and get to effin’ work.

Maybe. 🙂

– – – – –

Our conference is in just five weeks.  If you miss out . . . well, you’ll never know what could have happened with that idea, with that show, or with your passion . . . but I tell you this . . . come, and you’ll get education and motivation to go after it and now.  Click here.

 

Broadway Grosses w/e 10/6/2019: Gray skies are gonna clear up

There was barely a change in grosses last week as the fall season chugged along. With no new shows on the boards, overall grosses ticked up by just 1% to $30,098,714. American Utopia had a strong start with three previews grossing $395,604 at the Hudson Theatre. An average ticket of $142 put it right behind The Lion King as the sixth-highest.

You can find the rest of the figures below, courtesy of The Broadway League:

Show Name GrossGross  TotalAttn  %Capacity AvgPdAdm
AIN’T TOO PROUD $1,498,490.80         10,926 95.91% $137.15
ALADDIN $1,203,519.40           13,314 96.37% $90.40
AMERICAN UTOPIA $395,604.00             2,788 98.97% $141.90
BEAUTIFUL $905,609.60             8,064 98.25% $112.30
BEETLEJUICE $925,658.32           10,361 86.75% $89.34
BETRAYAL $688,901.25             6,116 73.79% $112.64
CHICAGO $620,207.40             7,253 83.95% $85.51
COME FROM AWAY $945,635.80             8,445 100.92% $111.98
DEAR EVAN HANSEN $991,113.59             7,686 97.64% $128.95
DERREN BROWN: SECRET $303,287.50             4,978 69.99% $60.93
FREESTYLE LOVE SUPREME $637,560.95             6,016 98.30% $105.98
FROZEN $967,974.10           11,934 88.58% $81.11
HADESTOWN $1,363,952.00             7,410 100.90% $184.07
HAMILTON $2,992,845.00           10,752 101.51% $278.35
HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD, PARTS ONE AND TWO $1,001,338.50           12,976 100.00% $77.17
LINDA VISTA $166,400.06             3,727 79.64% $44.65
MEAN GIRLS $761,531.40             8,606 87.82% $88.49
MOULIN ROUGE! $2,176,909.50           10,494 100.75% $207.44
OKLAHOMA! $411,667.96             4,333 83.20% $95.01
SLAVE PLAY $352,872.50             5,991 94.44% $58.90
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,025,261.25             8,204 97.95% $124.97
THE GREAT SOCIETY $382,784.50             5,675 66.92% $67.45
THE HEIGHT OF THE STORM $326,052.00             3,838 74.61% $84.95
THE INHERITANCE $271,487.64             4,059 76.73% $66.89
THE LIGHTNING THIEF $219,484.00             4,103 47.80% $53.49
THE LION KING $1,949,218.00           13,296 98.00% $146.60
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $926,380.80           10,488 81.68% $88.33
THE ROSE TATTOO $428,035.70             5,219 90.48% $82.01
THE SOUND INSIDE $412,475.00             5,337 66.85% $77.29
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD $2,130,636.00           11,655 101.52% $182.81
TOOTSIE $796,591.00             8,875 69.25% $89.76
WAITRESS $611,357.90             6,823 81.61% $89.60
WICKED $1,307,871.00           12,051 83.36% $108.53
TOTALS $30,098,714.42              261,793 87.10% $107.73
+/- THIS WEEK LAST SEASON -3,282,396.50      
PERCENTAGE +/- THIS WEEK LAST SEASON -9.83%

Today’s blog was guest-written by Ryan Conway, General Manager for DTE Management. Find out more here!

Podcast Episode 197: No “Ordinary” Composer/Lyricist, Mr. Adam Gwon

One of the super fun parts about being in this biz for a bit is that you get to watch the careers of folks you admire go from someone that no one is talking about to someone that everyone is talking about.

And that someone is today’s guest, Mr. Adam Gwon, who broke through with his musical, Ordinary Days and is about to open Scotland, PA at the Roundabout Theater (which I’m proud to be helping along the way).

Adam is on everyone’s “watch list,” like a financial advisor might be watching a stock, just waiting for it to turn into the next Apple.

We sat down with only a microphone between us to talk about his status as a writer-to-watch, as well as . . .

  • How he transitioned from writing 3-minute songs to 3-hour musicals.

  • Choosing a collaborator:  The true story of the “3 blind dates” he went on before he made the choice to write Scotland, PA with Michael Mitnick.

  • How not having an answer to a question led him to create Ordinary Days.

  • Does Broadway mean you’re a success AKA what it’s like to still be “emerging” despite being produced all over the world?

  • What it’s like being a Tony Award Nominator

Enjoy the podcast, and then, go enjoy Scotland, PA, currently in previews NOW!

  • Click above to listen to this episode.
  • Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review while you’re there!)
  • Download it here.

This week’s #SongwriterOfTheWeek is Anna Jacobs and Michael R. Jackson!  Check out “I Want To Choose” from their musical TEETH at the end of this episode. If you enjoyed the outro music in this episode, go on over to www.annakjacobs.com/ www.thelivingmichaeljackson.com for more tunes.

This week’s episode is brought to you by TERRY KNICKERBOCKER STUDIO. Terry Knickerbocker Studio offers a two-year acting conservatory, workshops, studio rentals, one-on-one coaching, beginner acting classes, and the best actor training in New York, period. While the conservatory training is based on the Meisner Technique, Terry Knickerbocker Studio offers a holistic approach to actor training with a commitment to nurturing the total actor: Mind, Body, and Soul. For more information, please visit www.TerryKnickerbockerStudio.com

Podcast Episode 197: No “Ordinary” Composer/Lyricist, Mr. Adam Gwon

One of the super fun parts about being in this biz for a bit is that you get to watch the careers of folks you admire go from someone that no one is talking about to someone that everyone is talking about.

And that someone is today’s guest, Mr. Adam Gwon, who broke through with his musical, Ordinary Days and is about to open Scotland, PA at the Roundabout Theater (which I’m proud to be helping along the way).

Adam is on everyone’s “watch list,” like a financial advisor might be watching a stock, just waiting for it to turn into the next Apple.

We sat down with only a microphone between us to talk about his status as a writer-to-watch, as well as . . .

  • How he transitioned from writing 3-minute songs to 3-hour musicals.
  • Choosing a collaborator:  The true story of the “3 blind dates” he went on before he made the choice to write Scotland, PA with Michael Mitnick.
  • How not having an answer to a question led him to create Ordinary Days.
  • Does Broadway mean you’re a success AKA what it’s like to still be “emerging” despite being produced all over the world?
  • What it’s like being a Tony Award Nominator

Enjoy the podcast, and then, go enjoy Scotland, PA, currently in previews NOW!

  • Click here to listen on our site!
  • Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review while you’re there!)
  • Download it here.

This week’s #SongwriterOfTheWeek is Anna Jacobs and Michael R. Jackson!  Check out “I Want To Choose” from their musical TEETH at the end of this episode. If you enjoyed the outro music in this episode, go on over to www.annakjacobs.com/ & www.thelivingmichaeljackson.com for more tunes.

This week’s episode is brought to you by TERRY KNICKERBOCKER STUDIO. Terry Knickerbocker Studio offers a two-year acting conservatory, workshops, studio rentals, one-on-one coaching, beginner acting classes, and the best actor training in New York, period. While the conservatory training is based on the Meisner Technique, Terry Knickerbocker Studio offers a holistic approach to actor training with a commitment to nurturing the total actor: Mind, Body, and Soul. For more information, please visit www.TerryKnickerbockerStudio.com.

What “Google Glass” has to do with the launch of your show.

Do you remember Google Glass?

It’s ok if you don’t.  Glass didn’t last long, even though Google itself thought it was going to be the next iPhone and would revolutionize how people “see” the world.

Glass was a wearable Star Trek looking device that gave you a camera and some simple google apps (maps, etc.) right in your eyesight.  It responded to voice commands and a simple tap, and there were rumors that it wouldn’t be too long until you’d be able to walk down the street with your Glass on, and it would facially recognize people as they passed.

And it flopped.  Big time.

I had one.  Two actually, being the early adopter that I am (after I did this, a lot of tech companies put me on their list to get stuff first).

And when I picked mine up at the Glass headquarters (seriously) and put it on for the first time, I remember asking my sales rep (who was more like a brainwashed Google rep), “Do you really think people are going to wear this down the street?”  “Oh yes,” he replied, sounding somewhat like a robot, “The Glass revolution is already underway. And it’s here to stay.”

Those Glass headquarters are now a Tesla dealership, I think.

What blows my mind as I look back at the launch and crash of Glass is two things:

  1. Google, one of the smartest, forward-thinking, revolutionizing companies, got it really, really, wrong.

  2. Google, one of the biggest brands in the world, with the ability to put a marketing message in front of millions and millions of people, couldn’t make a success out of a product that people didn’t want.

I got pitched a show recently, with an admittedly A-list creative team, and big brand as the underlying source material.  And the Producer actually said the words, “This can’t miss!”

While I admired the confidence, I passed because of the arrogance.

Because If Google can miss?  Anyone can miss. And to think that your pedigree and built-in-marketing-machine is enough is one of the biggest mistakes any Producer can make.

A brand and a team yes, even a star, can help mitigate your risk, but it can’t eliminate it.  And the most important ingredient in your show is your story.

And the irony is, if you find a story that captivates your audience, they won’t even care about the brand or who put it together.

———

Are you committed to advancing your career? Are you interested in expanding your network? Do you consider yourself a “do-er”?

If you answered yes to any one of these questions, then join me and the best in the business at The Producer’s Perspective Super Conference for a weekend of learning and networking on November 16th and 17th in NYC! Check out the full speaker and panelists list here! I hope to see you there . . . Be sure to say hi when you see me 🙂

Broadway Grosses w/e 9/29/2019: Leaves are falling, but sales are not!

The following are the Broadway grosses for the week ending September 29, 2019.
The Broadway grosses are courtesy of The Broadway League
Read more here:

Podcast Episode 196: Actor, Writer, and all-around Awesome Inspiration, Susan Blackwell

 

Seeing [Title of Show] in its early days is one of the top 10 theater-going experiences of my life.  It was so obvious that those four funny folks were living their best lives on that stage, as they played themselves trying to make a musical.

I knew all of the performers . . . except one.  Susan Blackwell.  She didn’t have a ton of musical credits.  And her take on life, love and the pursuit of musical theater was a little different than the others.

But by the end of her signature number, “Die Vampire Die,” I just wanted to hang out with her . . . all the time.

Took me a little bit until our paths crossed, but cross they did . . . and with a microphone in front of us!

And lucky you, you now get to e-hang out with her by listening to this podcast, where we talk about:

  • Finding the time to pursue your dream, while working your day job . . . like literally while your boss is standing over your desk as you work on lyrics!
  • What “dollar-cost-averaging” has to do with a career in the theater.
  • Life of a freelance artist and how she structures her day for success.
  • Why being a multi-hyphenate and focusing on many things is important to her, and should be to you too.
  • How did [Title of Show] happen – and what’s it like now watching people play her!

Tune in and enjoy this inspiring artrepreneurial episode and when you’re done, turn that dial over to Susan’s new podcast (created with her wonder twin, Laura Camien), The Spark File, which is now live!

Enjoy!

  • Click above to listen on our site!
  • Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review while you’re there!)
  • Download it here.

This week’s #SongwriterOfTheWeek is Jacinth Greywoode (@j.greywoode on soundcloud)! Check out “Myrtle’s Lament” at the end of this episode (music by Jacinth and lyrics by Rebecca Hart). If you enjoyed the outro music in this episode, go on over to www.jacinthgreywoode.com/ for more tunes.

No matter where you are in life . . . whether you are just starting out and need a kick start, or you have already achieved a certain level of success and want more, or you’ve been slacking lately (we’ve all been there) and need to get back on track . . . you’ve decided to take your life, your dreams, and your destiny into your own hands . . . literally . . . with this journal. Start your 90-day journey today, visit: http://www.actionjournalforartists.com/

Ken Davenport
Ken Davenport

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer

I'm on a mission to help 5000 shows get produced by 2025.

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