How to Pick a Producing Partner for your Show.

It’s pretty rare to see a guy or gal take a Broadway show all the way to the end zone all by themselves these days.  Producing Broadway shows can be pretty dang hard.  So, like life, it can be a heck of a lot easier, and a heck of a lot more fun, when you’ve got a partner by your side . . . picking you up when you are down and handling some of the things you can’t.

But picking a partner can be tricky, and unfortunately there’s no or OKCupid to help us out.  And let me tell you, there are a lot of seductive potential partners out there.  And they can look pretty damn hot from a distance, but once you get . . . (throat clear) .  . . into “bed” with them . . . you might find out that there may not be as much there as you had hoped.

So how do you pick the best partner for you and your show?  Here are three tips that I use when I’m evaluating who I’m going to hook-up with:

1.  Don’t Pick Yourself As a Partner

Having things in common is great, but you want more of a Wonder Twins Partner, rather than an Identical Twin Partner.  When you take the form of a tiger, you want them assuming an ice cage, not a lion.  Know what I mean?  (Gosh, I hope you guys watched the Wonder Twins when you were kids or you are going to be really confused.)  In non-superhero terms, if you’re a labor expert but lack creative development experience, find a great dramaturgical partner that could benefit from your negotiating and contract expertise.

2.  Is That Money In Your Pocket Or Are You Just Glad To See Me?

I don’t know too many people that like to raise money, so, it’s easy to get turned on when a potential producing mate approaches you with a big . . . (double throat clear) . . . wallet.  But big wallets, big purses, or big anythings should never be the reason you jump into a relationship with anyone.  Sure, you may get your show up on the boards faster if you partner with an Oil Heiress from Dubai, but that doesn’t mean your show will be successful.  Make sure your partner can put sweat into your show as well as cash.  Because sweat can make cash, but not vice-versa.

 3.  There’s Only One Person That Should Love Your Show More Than You.

And that’s a potential partner.  Relationships fizzle if there’s no passion.  Make sure your partner is someone who will answer the phone at 3 AM just to talk about a new idea for Act II.  Make sure your partner is someone who will go up to Madonna in a restaurant just to say that you have a role that is perfect for her in your new musical.  In short, make sure your partner will fight you when they truly believe they are right.  Yes, sometimes fights are good!  Because they show how passionate a person can be.  And without passion, you’ll never go the distance.


Producing partnerships can last a lot longer than marriages, so it’s important not to jump into the sack for the wrong reasons.  Do your homework, got on lots of dates, and when the time is right, conquer the theatrical world . . . together.

Wonder Twin powers . . . Activate!


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  • Kevin T. Morales says:

    Ken, perhaps you can organize a way in which young… Er, up and coming producers can find each other? Single Producer with new play seeks more producers who believe in the script, Piña Coladas and getting caught in the rain.

  • Eric Vest says:

    What a great article. I, for one, haven’t produced a show…but; as far as writing, acting, singing, and…(spiting huge fur-ball from throat)…”dancing” are concerned, I’m quite experienced in regional and local small theatres. Just having moved to New York, the talent pool is huge and easy to get discouraged…however, theatrical passion I have in abundance. I also have a few truly MARKETABLE ideas for new musicals….that AREN’T based on a friggin’ MOVIE!!! Disbelief?? I also have started writing these shows…and hope to find someone who is just as passionate about bringing more ORIGINAL and ADAPTED from a PLAY or BOOK works to the musical stage….The time is here for those of us who value the “art” more than the “money” to ban together…..I guarantee there are many more of us with REAL talent that can put works of MERIT out there….than there are “rich” grandpa’s and grandma’s…or over-paid hunks and sex symbol “wanna-be’s” who’ll “put out” to “get in.” Just gotta try….(OH, and you can publish my email…I’d love to hear from anyone in the NYC area who’d be willing to meet up to seriously chat/talk/later meet about the possibility of changing this “technological trend” and finding more “LIFE in our ART” and putting that on stage……(speaking clearly: LESS MACHINES, PROJECTIONS, COMPUTERS, AND SYNTHESIZERS)… – Eric

  • I like the bottom line here – spend your time finding someone who complements you. The two big things I would add are find someone you trust and whose personal mission matches yours. David Dower of Theatre Commons says that every producer should have a personal mission — like a non-profit company — something that’s clear and to-the-point. So I guess my revision and take away from this is find someone you trust who complements you and shares a similar mission/vision.

  • Walt Frasier says:

    Let me emphasize how important it is to find the right partner if you need a partner. Watch out for two good to be true. I had a partner for 6 months. The same guy went around form company to company in NYC offer services. I think there are at least six smaller companies he stole from or in other ways helped to dissolve. We survived the attack but had a real uphill battle on our hands. We dealt, recovered and came out far wiser for the experience. But let me just say, due to this guys dealings and lies, I spent a night in the tombs. All charges were falsified and eventually discharged but cost me $1500 (A DEAL thanks to a family member)in legal fees and a lot of time and even more embarrassment. BE CAREFUL!

  • Catherine says:

    Really terrific article. It helps to pick a partner
    with experience or who has general managed
    or taken CTI. Trust from the gut, and a person who has a respected following of people, a proven track record.Plus how he or she handles a tense situation like losing a theatre, a backer or a major actor.
    Helpful to have a partner who cam do a responsible budget sheet and knows about royalities.

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