Who’s producing that show? Read these articles and you’d never know.

Allow me to present three articles, from three of our major online trade sites:

You know what each of these articles has in common?

They list the actors in each show.  They list the creative teams.

And not one of them lists the Producers.

There was a time when the names of Producers were synonymous with the shows they produced.  Those days seem to have passed, since our very own trade sites don’t even feel obligated to add these names to the articles.  Sure, one argument is that there are more names listed these days so they don’t want to take up too much space (although last I heard, online words were cheap).

Could it be that these names are less valued nowadays?

That’s what I’m afraid of.

Don’t misconstrue this blog.  This isn’t a “wah, wah, we should get attention too!” entry.  No, no, quite the contrary.  Do I think that these sites should include the Producers of shows in every article they do that includes the rest of the team?  Absolutely yes, and you should push the press agent of your shows to make sure it happens.

But more importantly, it’s time for us Producers to start doing the type of work that makes the reporters want to list us as associated with the shows that we’re helping to make happen.

Credit for anything doesn’t come because you think it’s deserved.  It comes only when it’s earned.


(Got a comment?  I love ’em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)



– 1 Days to Godspell!  Read the day-by-day account of producing Godspell on Broadway here.

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  • Christopher says:

    Sorry Darling… but the producers are the ones to blame.
    Ever since Broadway show producers decided that the actual show was the least important part of the experience, the producers have been less than an after-thought.
    Let’s get the biggest Hollywood names, even if they don’t belong on the stage.
    Let’s build the most outrageous sets, so that people leave the theater talking about the sinking ship but can’t hum a single song.
    Let’s design the most extreme special effects but not worry if the story makes sense.
    Let’s so over-promise everything that the audience can’t help but be disappointed.
    Let’s charge so much for the experience that people have to skip a mortgage payment to be able to see a show.
    Let’s do everything we can to make a Broadway show anything BUT a real Broadway experience.
    You want to know why the only show in town that has producers whose names people know is the show at the Eugene O’Neill? Because those producers put the show and the audience and the experience first. That’s what classic, successful and revered producers did decades ago, and why their names are still synonymous with musical theater.
    So Darling… Make us believe again, and then we’ll care more about the producer names.

  • Bob says:

    So Scott Rudin has never done celebrity casting? Aren’t 90% of his theater productions based on that principle?

  • Bryan David says:

    Dear Mr. Davenport, et al:
    Imagine my chagrin we I notice then in the 40’s & 50’s the Screenwriter or the Book Writer & Lyricist show a credit roll by at the end of the film. Oh ya, I guess someone must have written that. The Actors didn’t just make that up. Who would have thought! Now IF you are successful ENOUGH it says in the adverts, “Book & Lyrics by: Fred Ebb” or as the Composer (yes someone wrote the music too!) It may one day say, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Sunset Blvd.” Is it still true that the Producer’s girlfriend gets a role because Mr. Abbot said so? Just saying if it makes you feel better you could have the marquee say:
    “Whitechapel” ©
    The Life & Times
    ‘Jack The Ripper’
    A Musical Love Story! ™

  • I’ve done a little producing. Mostly, I did a hell of a lot of work and risked my money (not much money, but I did risk it). I think producers should be credited.

  • Dave says:

    I imagine part of the problem is that many of us theatre-goers don’t really know what exactly the producer does, so we don’t know how to recognize the difference between producer A’s production and producer B’s production. Rightly or wrongly we assume the job has something to do with scaring up and looking after the money to pay for the whole thing, and probably shepherding the egos through the process. So much more tangible for an audience member to recognize a great acting job, or remarkable direction, or a great score, or a compelling script and aim the kudos in the right direction. But, like owners of sports franchises, the only ones who get noticed are the audacious, self-promoters (Mark Cuban, George Steinbrenner, etc.), and even they don’t gain respect – just attention.

  • Laurent says:

    Ken, I’m sure I’m stepping out on a few ledges here, but my feeling is that we do NOT NOW have the producers of yesteryear; Messieurs Ziegfeld, Merrrick, even Mackintosh. For one, its rare for one person to stand up and say, “I produced this!” (Although Whoopi and Bette DO have their names above the title this year!) Fear of failure to blame? By not putting a name above the title as producer and the time it takes to see if the show’s a hit, its too late to be associated with the “name” producer. In days before a producer could have a flop and regain his name with the next show. Which name producers have had a mega-hit and followed with a flop of recent times? Do we hear those names much now? I really do think that the costs have really risen to add to the fear of flopping. A $1M show in 1960 would cost about $90M to produce today. Those are Spiderman numbers!

  • Margie says:

    Just as luck is by design, yes, Ken, respect is earned –and you, for sure, have earned it. I think your blog — which I pass on to all my friends — is the beginning of explaining exactly what the producer does; the misconception is the that the producer raises the money and takes all the profits — so why not start marketing the fact that without a producer, there would be no show? Get your PR people out there pitching stories of you, how old you were when you saw your first Godspell, why you decided to revive it — or, turn it into a news item and do an Op-Ed piece of the NYT or WSJ.
    You CAN do this.

  • George says:

    Produced by Ken Davenport, Hunter Arnold, Broadway Across America, Luigi Caiola, Rose Caiola, Edgar Lansbury, Michael McClernon, The Tolchin Family, Guillermo Wiechers & Juan Torres and The People of Godspell; Associate Producer: Dennis Grimaldi, Todd Miller, Pivot Entertainment Group, Chris Welch and Cedric Yau
    Are all those people (and groups) really producing the revival of GODSPELL? Are they all making creative decisions? Or are they backers?

  • Joe Laub says:

    Just wanted to say, “Break A Leg”, on your revival of “Godspell”. My daughter and I will be coming to see it in October. I just directed “Godspell, Jr.” for my theater group in Philadelphia and it came out great. I’m thankful that you decided to produce this great show.

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