The Sunday Giveaway: Two tickets to Goodspeed’s The Theory of Relativity!

You know summer is approaching when I’m giving away tickets to a Goodspeed show!

The Goodspeed Opera House is one of the country’s most beautiful seasonal theaters in one of the country’s most beautiful locales . . . but the theater is more than that.  It has also produced some of the country’s most successful musicals, having given birth to shows like Annie and Man of La Mancha.

And now they are debuting another new musical at their Norma Terris Theatre (where my own 13 tried out years ago), that, who knows, could be the country’s next big hit.

It’s called The Theory of Relativity and it’s described as “an unconventional new musical by Drama Desk Award nominees Neil Bartram and Brian Hill that is a joyous and moving look at our surprisingly interconnected lives.  Whether you’re allergic to cats, in love for the first or tenth time, a child of divorce, a germaphobe, or simply a unique individual, you’re sure to find yourself in this fresh new musical!”

If you haven’t been to Goodspeed, you gotta get out there, and I’m gonna give you two tickets for this show for free to help you make your plans.

And here’s how you win ’em.

I just finished moderating a panel on developing new musicals, and everyone on the panel and in the audience agreed that the development of musicals takes too dang long.  Five years, ten years, twenty dang years, in some cases.  That’s a quarter of a lifetime that people can spend working on one show!

Tell me, in the comments below, what can we do to speed up musical development?  Tell me what you think we can do to add some gas to the musical fire and you could be on your way to Goodspeed.

Gooood luck!


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

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  • Max says:

    I would say that we could speed things up if the stigma behind being “a Broadway musical” for licensing purposes ended

  • Brian says:

    I think releasing songs from shows as soon as they are available to cabaret singers would speed up the process. Once the songs are released there will be buzz about the show which will inspire investors.

  • Roger Gindi says:

    More Festivals like NYMF and NAMT.

  • copa says:

    Two things: Get the rich people to put up the money earlier in the process, then get the actors/singers/dancers collaborating with the writers much earlier also. But without the money, I doubt actors will improv their hearts out for free. Sometimes they do, how long did it take A CHORUS LINE to go from idea to Broadway??

  • It all comes back to lowering the costs, if it weren’t so expensive to put on a broadway show we’d be less scared about getting it out there sooner. It takes so long because there is so much money to be raised and a lot of workshopping done in order to have the best chances of recouping.

  • I’m not sure if this would actually speed up the process of new musicals or just get more people involved, but I think a first big step to getting new work moving is to have people take part in the early stages. I know this already happens through readings and workshops and such, but as a student, I have encountered other theater makers that look down on working on new work because it might not be good, or it hasn’t been proven yet, or they think it’s a waste of time. Working on new musicals has been one of my favorite things to do as an actor. I am always in the mindset of “you never know where this might go” and if more people truly wanted to invest their time into new works, they just might go somewhere bigger, faster.

    I also realize this is impossible to truly measure as a change or the affects that it might have, but it just feels like more interest would lead to more development.

  • A touring company of bare bones productions running in repertory, criss-crossing the nation in a “reality show” format where audiences vote for their favorites, causing the best to rise to the top, like the cream of the crop, to take a shot at a fully-“staged” televised version.

    • Lewis R. says:

      Nothing wrong with your thinking … (and a lot of the hoi polloi will snigger) … because it’s called innovation and they have no concept of how far reaching that might be.

  • Chip K says:

    I wish commercial producers took a page from the non-profit playbook by doing more early development. Get involved with a show early-on, and show strong leadership/guidance right from the get-go. Shape it into a show you know you can sell! Negotiate smaller option agreements at those early stages… the producer is protected and the writers get a little cash flow. Win/win.

  • R. Scott Williams says:

    Michael Bennett did a lot for the musical theatre, but he did us no favors by, inadvertantly, inventing the workshop process which has now become the norm. The endless workshops, readings, etc., which musicals must now endure replaced the old “out of town tryout tour” model, and not for the better. No wonder it takes years to get a show up and running; after every workshop, the authors are sent back home to tinker some more. Let the tinkering happen on the road, in Philly, Hartford, DC, etc, with the authors locked in hotel rooms solving the show’s problems UNDER DEADLINE. The workshop process takes so very long because there is NO DEADLINE for completion of the piece.

    • Lewis R. says:

      Plus it is too damned easy to scuttle something in workshop … when a bit of thought coupled with some money can PRODUCE the favored result going forward.

  • Meg Kelly says:

    Collaboration and DEADLINES

  • John says:

    I like the Marx Brothers movie theory( in reverse) start at one end of the country,, keep performing and perfecting until you get to the other. Total time, one year, Shorter if you take the Viaduct.. ( via duct via nota chicken)…..

  • Lewis R. says:

    It would help greatly if producers would be more open and receptive to queries … yes, including one Ken Davenport. The talent is out there … but their outlets are hideously constricted.
    A major Broadway comedy success, which later became a major film, happened when an office assistant (Paul Weiser) in Morton Gottlieb’s office had a few minutes one day before leaving the office for lunch and grabbed a submitted script off the “slush pile” (surely you can figure out what that was) and figured he’d read a few pages to see if there was anything worthwhile in them. He sat there, read it fully (skipped lunch) and, when his boss came in a bit later, told him very simply. “You’re nuts if you don’t produce this one”! Thus we now have SAME TIME, NEXT YEAR! Okay, this was decades ago … but it happened because someone cared enough to LISTEN and READ! Are you reading this, Mr. D,?
    The reason I ask is that, as an agent of many years experience, I’ve yet to hear from you despite multiple attempts.

  • Sam Strum says:

    You could shorten the length of time to develop the show and produce the musical in the option agreement if the producer/authors of show want to create a musical based on another work. For example, instead of five years, change it to two years. Of course, the restriction on time could make it difficult for producers and authors of their musical to find appropriate theatre venues, put together the right team, focus on quality when speed is the name of the game, etc., but less time can force authors and producers to focus and think outside of the box and develop a show thats just as good if not better than a show where they take their time.

    You could also follow what the creators of [title of show] did and develop an original musical in less than a month’s time in order to be ready for its presentation at NYMF in 2004.

  • Brock Lee says:

    After reading all the comments, and seeing no clear way of gassing this Musical Development fire, I have decided… Maybe that is what is so special about what we do. With no sure fire way of ensuring any production, much less a successful one, we spend our precious time and energy knowing… It is for the good, never in vain that we pursue this dream of collaborating with some of the greatest minds on earth to bring entertainment with a message to the stage. With intention and action, we dive into this pool of sweat and tears with the passion it takes to succeed in this industry. This process of development that we are referring to is like giving birth, it’s a process. And although there is nothing new under the sun. Each creation is special and unique in its own right and must be allowed to fully take shape before it ‘arrives’. And until Ken tells us his secret to this process, I cling to this…

  • Ed Katz says:

    If more subscriber-based theaters would include one new musical in their season then hat could accelerate the process of new shows getting seen.

  • Tracy says:

    Ken, you were terrific at Bay Street Theater’s New Work Festival panel. But the answer is funding. As a non profit theater it is a part of our mission to not only produce the festival, but also one full production each year. But we need either star power to help draw the audience or underwriting from patrons (or both!) to do so or the risk is beyond our ability. But this is where perhaps Broadway producers like you can help– bring your new ‘out of town’ try-outs to us!

  • Patrick McGregor II says:

    I think more readings and previews would help. Not necessarily pre-Broadway previews but more companies willing to hop into the development process. For instance a show might start at Arena Stage and get developed there and then move to Goodspeed and maybe it needs to incubate someplace else before hitting the main circuit.

  • Alexa Bishop says:

    Have cheaper/easier ways to put up workshops! Maybe through a non-profit?

    • Sarah Safford says:

      Yes! More workshops and incubators like BMI but spread around in different towns and neighborhoods, tapping into local talent and community arts funding.

  • Regina says:

    The creative process is just that, a process. A seasoned creative development mentor and/or a seasoned producer can certainly help the process with sound guidance and advice for the musical writers. Pairing writers with someone in the business – with a structure that provides deadlines, could move things along.

  • Steven Covey (7 Habits… author) has commented on the value of goal setting and I think that applies here. One of the points is that before you climb the ladder of success, make sure the ladder leaning against the right building. Just climbing a ladder doesn’t guarantee that you’ll find success and fulfillment. Musical writers could use more help with choice of ladder at the beginning of the process of show generation. It might help for them to get advice on whether their concept will yield a musical that has a real audience or that someone will produce. If not, perhaps their next idea would be more fruitful, or perhaps some aspect of the idea is more fruitful than the next. I once saw a musical in workshop where the writers hadn’t really decided who the protagonist really was and so they had written it for two protagonists, but then the storyline wasn’t clear. That meant going back to the drawing board. So my theory is that clarity at the beginning will help with speed and realization of the goal.

  • Theresa Piliero says:

    Financially support artists who create musicals so they can create and not worry about rent. Maybe Nederlander, Jucamyn etc. can support an artist each year. Have an application process.

  • Bobbi Smith says:

    I remember about 10-15 years ago, they used to send CD’s with the music from the shows with an offer for the show. I know it made a big difference to me and if I really liked the music, I would definitely get tickets for the show.

  • Kyrsten Louchen says:

    I think the only want to speed up the process is to have grants for them and have stage companies especially designed to workshop them.

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