At the Broadway League Conference – Day 1/Wise Words about We from Jonathan Tisch

The first sign of Spring for me isn’t shorts, or sun dresses, or even that half of the business has already started taking Friday afternoons off.

The first sign that Spring has sprung is . . . the Broadway League Spring Road Conference has begun.

Every year about this time, hundreds of Producers and Presenters and Marketing Folks (insert, “Oh My!”, here) from theaters all over the country descend upon New York City to meet, mingle and dissect everything that’s wrong with our biz and discuss how to fix it.

Oh, and they see a lot of shows (it’s during this period when many of our out-of-town Tony voters make their final decisions on what to vote for AND what they are interested in bringing to their hometown venues).

I’m at the conference every year . . . and as I’ve done in years past, I’m keeping eyes and ears open for you and will report on interesting things that I hear so you can get an idea of what goes on.

Yesterday, we kicked the conference off with a keynote from Jonathan Tisch – hotel and hospitality guru, part owner of the NY Giants, and yep, the guy whose name is on my alma mater.

Jonathan has also written quite a few books, including a nifty one called The Power of We, which I do recommend for any of you out there who count on collaboration for a successful business.



Oh wait, that’s all of us.  Because we’re in the theater.  We ALL count on collaboration for a successful business.  (It is not a coincidence that this year’s conference is themed “The Power of We.

Jonathan had a whole bunch of smart things to say including things like . . .

You can’t be all things to all people.

And . . .

You have all achieved a certain level of success.  Now, inherent in your success is a responsibility to help others to get to the same place.

As well as my favorite . . .

You can do well and do good at the same time.

But there was something else he talked about in his intro to his talk that resonated with me, that I also think will resonate with you, wherever you are and whatever you are trying to do.

Jonathan’s theory of the P of We is about partnerships . . . with your community, your co-workers, and yes, even the other C-Word, your competition.  (I’ve been screaming that it’s time to sit down with the Ticket Brokers for years.)

In his introduction Jonathan talked about the Spring Road Conference and how it was so great to see the membership in our trade association growing with such committed and devoted members.  Because, as he said, “Associations run our country.  And to achieve success, it’s imperative that we put aside our individual differences and come together for a common good.”

For example, he talked about how the largest hotel chains came together to help create BrandUSA to promote our country to our international friends.

And then I remembered how a group of California milk makers banded together to create the “Got Milk” campaign.  (Visit that link and scroll down and click “about” to read the story.)

But you don’t need to be a milk maker or a group of big Broadway producers to form an organization.

Groups of community theaters can do it . . . on a national level, state level, or even local.  Regional theaters.  Actors.  Bloggers.  Entrepreneurs.

Wherever you are, and whatever you, there is power to be mined from more than one mind.

Stay tuned for my report from Day 2 of the Conference tomorrow!


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  • Walt Frasier says:

    I remember attending what I expected to be a marketing class at APAP 4-5 years ago. Turned out it was a “Scientific” report regarding a “Scientific” study following audience trends. A 55yo woman with heavy accent (Perhaps my college bio teacher – understood her about as well) provided “exciting results” with what they hope to eventually help presenters discover why their subscribers are subscribers, why others are not subscribers, why many may or may not attend certain types of performances … All of us producers ran out saying this is why our business is tanking, we are following the federal government in the trend of hiring “scientists” to analyzing the problem instead of just fixing it by listening to our constituents directly.

    Reminded me of another “Scientific” report I sat in on at an Opera festival in Italy where a “scientific” mind tried to decipher exactly what it is an artist “feels” or “experiences” in that quintessential artistic moment… After which all the singers left thinking, this is why we make the big bucks. That guy will never understand what it is we do.

    90% of these trade shows, expos and conferences are a bunch of BS. HOWEVER, that other 10%? Best advice I ever learned or heard. The connections with other industry, the realizations of my own talents or short comings and the affirmations that build confidence are invaluable.

  • Ken – Your method of funding Godspell created interest in a few of my fellow Cornell Alums, who are in the field of business expansion an start ups. I was at our monthly networking breakfast this morning and two of the people I spoke with mentioned Godspell and how the money was raised. They look at it as a lesson for some of their business clients. Know that you’re creating interest even beyond the theatrical community.

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