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

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October 22, 2021: What TheaterMakers Are Talking About This Week

Here’s what TheaterMakers were talking about this week . . .

 

1 – How to be an Antiracist TheaterMaker

As we move into this theatrical renaissance, it’s up to each and every one of us to come back better. Take a look at American Theatre’s guide from theatermakers across the country for what you need to be doing to help move us forward. 

Read more: www.variety.com 

2 – ART/NY Grant Program

NYC theatermakers – make sure you check out this opportunity from A.R.T. In the midst of rebuilding, it’s important to know that support is still available. Not in NYC? Share this post to get the word out. 

Read more: www.broadwayworld.com 

3 – Terrence McNally Celebration

After over a year, a much needed celebration for one of our industry’s greatest. Check out details below for how YOU can attend the celebration of Terrence McNally’s life. 

Read more: www.broadwayworld.com 

4 – LaChanze and Trouble In Mind

If you thought the last 18 months were a long time to wait for live theater. . . take an inspiring look from LaChanze at one of the theater’s most invaluable aspects – timing. Then make sure to get yourself a ticket to Trouble in Mind (there’s even discounted tickets available for every performance!).

Read more: www.bloombergquint.com  

5 – BCEFA Suspends Red Buckets

A sad but real life example of what our new normal looks like right now. The iconic red buckets from BCEFA will not return to Broadway until next spring. Since we won’t be seeing those familiar smiling faces after shows until the spring, consider donating directly to BCEFA here

Read more: www.playbill.com 

 

Fun on a Friday: 

New Broadway musical anyone? Take a first look inside Broadway’s Flying Over Sunset, which is set to premiere next month.

Watch the video here:

 

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Want to be part of an online community of theatermakers? Join 1.8k+ producers, writers, actors, directors, and more here. Best part? It’s completely free.

“Places, Please” Challenge Podcast Part 2

Thank you, Places!

That’s right, I’m back with the next set of theatermakers for the second episode of my “Places, Please” podcast series.

In this episode you’ll hear from T. Oliver Reid and Bret Shuford and learn how to step into your own spotlight as a theatermaker. 

T. Oliver Reid has spent the past two decades working on Broadway (currently: Hadestown; formerly: Once On This Island, Sunset Boulevard, After Midnight, Sister Act and more). He’s on faculty at NYU Tisch’s Grad Acting Program and Columbia University School of the Arts. He’s also the co-founder of Black Theatre Coalition

Bret Shuford has been on the Broadway stage in Wicked and The Little Mermaid but he has turned the corner to launch The Broadway Life Coach, a space where he helps creatives step into their spotlight. 

So grab your jazz shoes and check your mic tape.

Because this is your next “Places” call!

Listen here on Apple Podcasts.

Listen here on Spotify. 

Listen here on the Broadway Podcast Network app.

Why We Have a Broadway Labor Shortage Right now..

Broadway is a risky business.

For everyone.  

Not just authors and actors who are waiting for their big break or Producers and Investors hoping to find a hit, but for our vendors too.

It costs a lot of money to run an ad agency.  It costs a lot of money to run a GM office or accounting company, law firm, scene shop, etc.

And since there are only 41 Broadway theaters, there is only so much business to spread around.

THAT’s why we have so few vendors on Broadway.  3-4 ad agencies who handle all the Broadway work.  2-3 accounting firms.  Etc.  Etc.

Because there just aren’t enough shows/theaters to keep more of them in business.  (Which also creates a lack of competition issue – but that’s for another blog.)

Somehow, with just a few vendors for each specialty, the industry survives . . . because the work is spread out over the year.  Shows open and close at different times.  Sure, maybe there is an upswing of new shows opening in the fall, but never do all the shows open at once.

Until now.

The lights of Broadway are all being flipped on at the same time.

Sure, there’s a staggering of the shows reopening . . . but for the most part, this business just went from zero to 100 in no seconds flat.

And it’s one of the most exciting things I’ve ever seen.

Which is making it one of the busiest times I’ve ever seen . . . and ever will see.

But it’s causing a labor shortage . . . different than the one affecting the rest of the country.  

You see, there were never enough vendors and people to operate all the shows and all the theaters . . . never mind all the National Tours (that use the same creative teams as Broadway by the way) . . . never mind a whole slew of readings, workshops and everything else that everyone has been waiting to do 

What does this mean?

Well, if you’re working on something right now, it might take a bit longer for things to get done, since your vendor is probably working on 12 things rather than the 7 they are used to. 

But more importantly, it also means there are more opportunities for those looking to work for one of those vendors, or even BECOME a vendor. 

If that’s you, get to work today . . . because there is more work to get.

 

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I blog once a week about the business of Broadway for anyone interested in the subject.  I also write five articles per week exclusively for people out there who want to write for the theater, director for the theater and act in the theater.  Those articles aren’t public.  You can get them by signing up here.  

“Places, Please” Challenge Podcast Part 1

One of the most fun and most productive events we had this year was our “Take Charge of Your ’21” Challenge in January. Over 500 TheaterMakers joined us to hear tips and strategies on how to have your best year yet from super successful people in the business.

So we did it AGAIN in September. And it was even better.

We were joined by some incredible theatermakers who gave their insights to mindfulness, keeping our work on schedule, and tapping into your most creative self.

If you couldn’t make it, I understand. We’re (finally) getting back to our busy theatermakin’ lives!

But this is information I don’t want you to miss. It’s THAT valuable. 

So I’m bringing it all to you on my podcast. That’s right, I told you it wasn’t a goodbye! 

In the first part of our series you’ll hear from yours truly as well as Joe Rosko, founder of Built for the Stage. Joe shows you just how physical training enhances our work at TheaterMakers and how to get started TODAY.

And the best part? This is only part one.

Twice a week for the next 3 weeks, I’ll be bringing you insights from each of our Challenge speakers to help you and your work stay on track through the end of 2021. 

This is such an exciting time to do what we all do. And I want to make sure as many people as possible get to take part in the wisdom our Challenge theatermakers shared. Because we ALL need to be ready for the exciting times ahead.

This is your ‘Places’ call!

Listen here on Apple Podcasts.

Listen here on Spotify. 

Listen here on the Broadway Podcast Network app.

These folks are so boss.

I want to give a shout out to all of the boss’s I’ve had throughout my life who taught me so much.

From my Boss at Domino’s Pizza in the 80s, to my Boss at Cutco in the 90s (Yep, I sold those suckers), to all my Bosses on Broadway when I was Company Managing and General Managing from Nina Lannan to Hal Luftig and so many more.

Here are three great pieces of advice I got from my Boss’s.

1. “People invest in people, not in projects.”

2️. “Take care of the people who work for you. And they will take care of you.”

3️. “Life is NOT work. So make sure you have a life.”

Oh, and one more . . .

And from my greatest Boss, my wife, this one . . .

4. “Just do what I say. You know I’m right.”

So shout out the great bosses in your life by sharing this post with them and saying “thanks!”. And if you are a great boss, keep up the good work!

October 15, 2021: What TheaterMakers Are Talking About This Week

Here’s what TheaterMakers were talking about this week . . .

 

1 – Variety’s Broadway Comeback

What an honor to be part of such an exciting event to celebrate our industry’s return! Hear from some of Broadway’s leading players below about what we need in order to come back better. The best part? Theatermakers anywhere can learn from the event’s tips.

Read more: www.variety.com 

2 – The Theatre Leadership Project Tax Credit is Approved

Looking for a way for your show to come back better? Then The Theatre Leadership Project has a solution for you. Take a look at this incredible opportunity for emerging BIPOC theatermakers, then make sure to send this info to the theatermakers in your life!

Read more: www.broadwayworld.com 

3 – Six Costume Inspiration

It’s no question that the Queens of Six have style, but do you know which real life pop queens inspired the show’s costume designer Gabriella Slade? Take your guesses in the comments before reading, and let me know if you got any right!

Read more: www.variety.com 

4 – Creative Goods QR Merch Codes

Anything that reduces a line anywhere is a good thing – especially in a Broadway theater! Now your in-show shopping experiences just got that much easier thanks to Creative Goods. What Broadway souvenir are you most excited to take home this season? 

Read more: www.broadwaynews.com  

5 – Jesus Christ Superstar Turns 50

One of the theater’s most iconic stories is turning 50, and what a journey! Take a look at Jesus Christ Superstar’s unique history from concept album to tour to Broadway to NBC to. . .beyond. 

Read more: www.nytimes.com 

 

Fun on a Friday: 

New Broadway musical anyone? Check out the first song from Paradise Square before its New York premiere!

 

Watch the video here:

 

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Want to be part of an online community of theatermakers? Join 1.8k+ producers, writers, actors, directors, and more here. Best part? It’s completely free.

I turned 14 years old. TODAY.

 

14 years ago, I sat in my much smaller office and said, “I’m going to start a blog.”

So I did.  

And oh, what a ride this blog has been.

It’s where I announced the crowdfunding of Godspell.  It’s where I announced the livestreaming of Daddy Long Legs. It’s where I announced my iPhone commercial.

In those 14 years, it has been mentioned in the NY Times and Vanity Fair.  And it has been flamed on chat boards. 

In other words, this blog is everything and more than I ever could have imagined.

I tried to quit it a couple of times.  And, I keep comin’ back to it.  Because I believe conversations about the theater are what keep the theater kickin’. 

So I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you for reading.  And . . . because I’m a data guy – I also wanted to show you something which I found fascinating.

Of the thousands of blogs I’ve written . . . literally thousands, which ones do you think are the most popular?

I’ll tell you.  

Here are the Top 10 blogs over this blog’s 14 years of existence.  (And it’s no coincidence that 3 of them were written in 2020).  Enjoy ‘em!

 

  1. 3 Reasons Why Social Distancing Won’t Work For The Theater (June 18, 2020)
  2. 10 Audition Tips for Actors (December 10, 2008)
  3. 100 Quotes Every Theater Producer, Playwright, Director, Actor, etc Must Read (April 26, 2019)
  4. Top 100 Theater Books Every TheaterMaker Should Read. (January 24, 2019)
  5. 5 Tips to Getting a Job on Broadway (January 7, 2013)
  6. The Three Types of Broadway Producers: Lead Producer, Co-Producer and Executive Producer EXPLAINED (March 28, 2019)
  7. How to write a One-Person Show in 30 days. (August 5, 2016)
  8. “How Do I Get The Stage Rights To A Book/Movie/Play, etc.?” (January 29, 2008)
  9. Why Broadway May Have An Advantage Before It Opens Back Up (April 28, 2020)
  10. Broadway’s return isn’t about marketing. It’s about habit-ing. (May 7, 2020)

 

Oh, if you want to read that first EVER blog?  It’s here. (If a Producer talks out loud in his office and no one is there to hear it. . )

I’m going to keep bloggin’.  Because I’ve been doing it for almost 1/4 of my life now!  

But we are going to do a bit of a refresh and add some new and exciting features.  You’ll see next week, when we start our 15th year off on a new foot!

And if you’re not a subscriber, click here and sign up to make sure you see the new look of the blog.

Thanks again and I look forward to the next 14!

October 8, 2021: What TheaterMakers Are Talking About This Week

Here’s what TheaterMakers were talking about this week . . .

 

1 – Broadway Extends Vax Requirement

Even though it may not come as a surprise, our new normal is here to stay. . . at least for right now. The Broadway League has extended its mask and vaccination requirements through the end of 2021. Stay up to date with Broadway’s vaccine requirements below. 

Read more: www.playbill.com 

2 – IATSE Updates

Thankfully, negotiations are back on after a monumental strike authorization vote from IATSE members. Looking forward to a resolution that satisfies both sides and keeps our sister industry working. Stay up to date with the latest union decisions below. 

Read more: www.deadline.com 

3 – Dana H / Is This a Room? Downtown Hits

Almost everything about the current Broadway season is brand new, including the operation inside the Lyceum Theater. Take a look at what it takes to bring two Broadway debuts – Dana H and Is This A Room – to the same theater. . . at the same time. 

Read more: www.nytimes.com  

4 – Diana on Netflix Before Broadway

It’s not news that I’m a major supporter of more streamed theater. I believe the modern day version of a pre-Broadway concept album (basically what Andrew Lloyd Webber did with Jesus Christ Superstar) is a streaming production. Read why the team behind Diana chose to debut on Netflix before Broadway. And then ask yourself, “Would you stream your show before Broadway?”. Let me know why or why not.

Read more: www.hollywoodreporter.com  

5 – TedxBroadway 2022 

I can’t believe it’s been 11 years since the first TedxBroadway. And super kudos to my co-founders Jim McCarthy and Damian Bazadona on their announcement that the next conference will be in March 2022. . . in person and virtually! Get ready to tune in from wherever you are to celebrate and discuss the return of live theater and ask ourselves, “What’s the best Broadway can be?” 

Read more: www.playbill.com 

 

Fun on a Friday: 

The first trailer for the VERY FIRST revival of Funny Girl has just dropped, featuring Beanie Feldstein in the iconic title role. Hello, Gorgeous indeed! 

Watch the video here:

 

 

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Want to be part of an online community of theatermakers? Join 1.8k+ producers, writers, actors, directors, and more here. Best part? It’s completely free.

Two (more) things about the Tony Awards.

I’m still thinking about the Tony Awards.

I can’t help it.

It was such a unique year.  And so many things were tried that never would have been tried in an “ordinary” year.  

The Tonys were forced to do something that our industry doesn’t like to do . . . experiment.

And sometimes experiments lead to great things.  And sometimes they lead to . . . less great things.

There were TWO things that stood out to me . . . ONE that I hope sets a precedent and becomes the way we ALWAYS do it.

And one that I hope isn’t done again.

Let’s start with the one I hope disappears:

 

The Two Tiered Network Approach

While I did love the fact that all the awards were “televised” by having a pre-show stream on Paramount+, I’d prefer the Awards stay unified as one broadcast on one network.

That’s the best way to get the most viewers and to accomplish what I believe is the purpose of the show:  to honor and market the excellence in the theater.

Personally, it didn’t bug me that much. I had Paramount+ already.  (My daughter wanted to watch something they had – so I had to get it.) But from listening to the feedback of our fans (and our primary responsibility should always be to listen to our consumers) is that asking our fans to pay for yet another streaming service (even if there is a free trial), isn’t going to get more people to watch.

So that’s one I hope gets scratched.

Now, the one experiment that I hope becomes precedent is . . .

 

The Live Performances From The SHOWS’ Theaters.

In the past, all live performances were live FROM the theater presenting The Tony Awards (in recent years – that’s Radio City).  So, the casts had to be bussed to and from the theater several times (dress rehearsals, performances), new sets had to be built, props had to be loaded in and out and in and out, etc.

It’s a logistical nightmare and super expensive.

Why was it done that way?

The (good) argument has always been that the energy of the shows performing live at The Tonys Theater energizes the audience at The Tonys Theater . . . which translates to better TV.

Ok.  I get it.  Sort of.

This year?  Because of Covid . . . the shows performed FROM their theaters.  Simpler.  Safer. And I don’t know this for sure, but it had to be less expensive for most.

And I’d argue . . . the shows came off even better than they would if they performed at the Winter Garden.

Why?

The shows are on their own sets.  So the shows look like more of a spectacle.  And the audience gets to see inside the room where it happens . . . and that glimpse helps market the shows better.  

The ACTORS are on their own sets . . . and in their own theaters.  They are bound to be more comfortable . . . and therefore deliver much better performances.  Performing on the Tonys is nerve wracking enough . . . why put them on that enormous stage they may have only walked across twice?  

I could go on and on . . . 

The sound was better.  The audiences were real people and fans!  Otherwise they wouldn’t have been invited.  (Isn’t it awkward during a performance on the Tonys when the camera catches a celeb who is obviously not interested in whatever number is going on?)

So I’d argue for this experiment to become the norm.  

It’s a win, win, win.  It creates a better marketing environment for the show, a safer environment for the company, and should save hours and hours of time and logistical planning.  

The 147 pros outweigh the cons for sure.

What do you think?  Did you enjoy the performances live from their theaters more than previous years?  Or would you rather them performed from Radio City?  Comment below to let me know your thoughts.

And we’ll see what happens at the next Tonys, which are only . . . 8 months away!
Want to know what I thought about the Tonys ratings being down? Check out last week’s blog.

The Dr. Kenny Encouragement Fund Scholarship Deadline EXTENDED

Listening to feedback on everything you do is the key to doing everything you do better.

And one piece of feedback we got about my Dad’s scholarship is that TheaterMakers are busier than EVER right now!

And they just needed a bit more time to apply.

So, we’re giving it to them.

Our deadline for our TWO scholarships (one for a student and one for anyone) was last week, but we’re now giving you TWO more weeks!  You have until October 15th at 11:59 PM to apply for our two $1,000 scholarships.

Need more info on how to win?  Click here for all the details and the application process.

And if you don’t need the scholarship this year, forward this on to someone you know who might. 

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