I went to see this show because of the name above the title. And it wasn’t a star.

I was in London a few weeks ago, and while I was shopping for a show to see, I noticed a familiar name above the title that got me excited enough to buy a ticket.

It wasn’t Jude Law.

And it wasn’t Sienna Miller. (ok, it was sort of Sienna Miller)

It was Cameron Mackintosh.

I bought a ticket to the very British musical comedy Betty Blue Eyes for no other reason than who produced it.  I didn’t know the story. I didn’t know the stars.  And I didn’t know the source material.

But I did know that Cameron has been associated with a bunch of shows that have kept me entertained for decades, so I trusted his taste and bought a seat in the “stalls” (the London version of orchestra seats).

That’s quite a brand Cameron has, don’t you think?  When was the last time you bought tickets to see a show based solely on who produced it?  Have you ever?

It used to happen more often, when the likes of Merrick, Ziegfeld, and so on were putting up shows on the boards.

But nowadays?  There are a few folks out there that could get me to buy a ticket, for sure, but it’s certainly not the way it was . . . mostly because of the number of names that appear above a title nowadays.  The potential for the buiding of a Merrick-like brand is almost impossible when the number of producers rival the number of cast members in the show (of course, the number of producers above a title is also due to the escalating costs and escalating risk, so it puts us in a bit of catch-22, doesn’t it).

Building a brand is something that all Producers should work on, whether you’re producing at a non-profit in Chattanooga, on the Broadway, or even in Cameron’s backyard.  You may never have a brand as big as a Mackintosh, Merrick, or Ziegfeld, but it doesn’t matter . . . every little bit of branding helps.

Because these days, consumers need as many reasons as we can give them to help them make that ticket-buying decision.  And knowing who is calling the shots as well as who is appearing on stage, just might be enough to tip them in your direction.

You can bet a bucket of bacon there was no way I would have seen Betty Blue Eyes otherwise.


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  • Amyleigh1982 says:

    Well? And? How was it?

  • Paul Mendenhall says:

    What I don’t understand about the current situation is, it seems like everyone who invests expects a producer’s credit. There still has to be one person who really does the work of producing the show. And your point about the advanage of having a recognizable producer’s name attached to a project seems so obvious, why doesn’t that person get the credit?

  • I have been in the biz for fifty + years and you remind me of Merirck, Zeiegfeld, Billy Rose, George M. and the rest of the very best guys. You are using the current media technique to do what they did, …promote yourself! This is a good thing. There hasn’t been a prominent producer on the great white way for a long time. I predict that very soon, your name above the title will be the most valuable thing on B’Way. You’ve done your history and know how to apply the basic principals to today’s market. Go for it. Have five shows running at the same time. All of them blockbusters. Make history. Make it happen. Kick ass. I’m a big fan. —S. J. Conners.

  • Brian says:

    That is what I wanna know as well!

  • Martin Weber says:

    You know what I like about Cameron Mackintosh?
    His honesty.
    I read it in the Martin Guerre-Playbill of 1996 (maybe
    it had another name, because I saw it in London)
    He wrote, that he didn`t like the music, when
    he heard it first and he asked Boublil/Schönberg to go to other
    producers, but they persuaded him that he had to
    produce the musical.
    That`s when he became my hero.
    A good producer trusts his gut and is honest to his collaborators.

  • Steven Cates says:

    Well, Mr. Davenport, did you like it? I have read a little about the show, and it seems very interesting.

  • Myra says:

    8 years ago, right around this time of year, I went to see an early Broadway preview of “Avenue Q” the first night of my visit, based solely on the fact the RENT producers Kevin McCollum and Jeffrey Seller were producing this new show. Even after looking at the odd windowcards with puppets on them, I had no idea what I was getting into. But I was sold from the opening number, and it remains one of my favorite Broadway shows.

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