Why we’re closing Gettin’ The Band Back Together on 9/16.

The hardest thing a Producer has to do is decide when to close a show.

And I had to make this decision over the last 24 hours.

So I did. And Gettin’ The Band Back Together will play its final performance on September 16th.

Why is it so difficult to close a show? Or close any business?

It’s not just the money (although that’s a major part of it, for sure), but when a team of the most creative people you know spends years of their lives working toward a common goal, and it doesn’t turn out the way you all dreamed . . . it’s heart-crushing.

See, in the theater, the creators, the actors, the designers, the stagehands, we all dream that every single new show could be “the one.” The one that keeps you employed, gives you security, allows you the flexibility to do other things, and so on. You show up to that ‘meet and greet’ on the first day of rehearsal, bursting with the hope that this will be the one you’ve been waiting for and working for.

It’s like dating when you’re looking to get married.  No matter how practical and realistic you are, everyone goes on a first date wondering, “Could this be the one?”

And, honestly, what’s frustrating about this “one” is how much the audiences who are seeing the show love the show. And no, no, this isn’t just a biased Producer talking. This is a guy who does statistical analysis. We did a survey of our actual Telecharge ticket buyers and got a 98.2% positive rating, and an exceptionally high “Net Promoter Score.” (How likely they are to tell their friends and family to get tickets.)

But, for a whole bunch of other reasons, (many of which we can’t control, from seasonality to critics and so on) we can’t get the sales traction we need as fast as we need it.  That’s also a statistical fact.

Now, here’s where my decision and any Producer’s decision gets difficult.

And while it’s hard for me to talk about these things in an open forum like my blog, I didn’t start this blog to only talk about the good things that happen when you produce shows. I started this blog to talk about all the things that happen when you produce shows . . . including when shows don’t live up to your own expectations.

So, the tricky thing is . . . I could decide to try and push on with Gettin’ The Band Back Together. I could continue to grind away at more marketing initiatives, and get more celebs to play cowbell, and create more video content . . . and more specifically, I could do what other shows might do right now and go out and try to raise more money to keep us open longer than our reserves would allow.

And honestly, nothing would make me happier than to keep the show going, keep people employed, watch it build, and make a whole lot more people laugh.

But, based on that statistical analysis I’ve done of our sales trends, and based on the conversations I’ve had with industry experts and my mentors, as well as my esteemed team of co-producers, I’ve come to the conclusion that additional monies might keep us going, but would not get us to profitability quickly enough. (Broadway’s biggest challenge is that our high expenses shorten the runway for word-of-mouth to take hold.) We’re like a plane trying to take off, and while we’re gaining some altitude, we’re just not doing it fast enough.

So, I had to check my emotion at the door and analyze this like any CEO would. At the end of the day, this is a business, and I must uphold my fiduciary responsibility to my investors and close earlier than I would like . . . on September 16th (the end of the Broadway Week promotion).

By doing so, I will be able to return any available monies left in our reserve (I raised a big reserve because I always knew this would be a tough plane to get in the air.  Honestly?  I never expected to get rave reviews with this type of show (even though we got good ones out of town), I just didn’t expect so many of them to be so . . . well . . . mean.)

And, by not asking my investors for more money, they will be in first position to recover funds through the disposition of the stock and amateur rights (which we expect to be strong). When you get a loan, the loan gets paid back first, and in this case that might not happen, which I had to take into account.

It aches to close a show. Especially one that you’ve built from nothing. Especially one that has so many wonderful people working on it who have become some of my closest friends.

But in business, when the data is on the wall, sometimes there is nothing else you can do.

Actually, there is one more thing I can do.

Start over. Do another one.

And you can bet that I will.

Gettin’ The Band Back Together will play its final performance on Broadway on September 16th at 7:30 PM.

Do me a favor . . . go. The company and I will return the favor by giving you a great @#$%ing time.

You can even get 2-for-1 Tickets through Broadway Week.  Click here and come see what all this is about.

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Comments
  • Joanne P Iorio says:

    Well, I saw the very first preview and laughed from start to finish. It was just what I needed and what the audience needed in these difficult days in our country. What a shame that more people won’t get to see it. Stupid, stupid critics! P.S. Saw Once On This Island a few nights ago and loved it Ken! Such talent- unbelievable!

  • Beth Martin says:

    I loved the show, told all my friends it’s a feel good night and I have even bought 2 more tickets to take a friend next week. I go to the theater 3-4 times/week and have wasted money on so many poor shows. You’re was a pleasure. I’m sorry it’s closing. Thanks for this heartfelt note.

  • Jon says:

    I have had the absolute pleasure of seeing the show and it was a GREAT time. The cast is INCREDIBLE. They live in the wacky world with such sincerity and joy. It’s infectious. I am saddened to hear it is closing TOO soon and enraged by the critics.

  • Cheryl Soper says:

    I just can’t wrap my head around this! Is there something totally wrong with me and all the people I brought with me to see the show? Wth? It was one of the most wonderful experiences! We loved every minute and so did the audience – standing ovation and all? I just don’t get it! I am so sorry about this! I for one would encourage you to keep going but…you are the producer and know best!

  • Ilene says:

    I wish I had been able to make it to NyC this summer to see it, Ken. I know this had to be hard -it was your baby (well, not as important as McKenna, but, I digress). You will find your Hamilton some day – you work hard and are extremely creative. 😢💓

  • Lucy says:

    Thank you for your honesty, Ken, and teaching us why it’s called show – business.

  • Jeannette Paladino says:

    I saw the show in previews and loved it. The audience was totally into it, laughing and clapping and interacting with the performers. When i left, I said to myself, “the critics will hate it.” I’ve been a NY theater-goer for 50 years and “..Band” is corny, not terribly original and full of one-liners. Audiences love these shows but critics don’t. Just look at Neil Simon, and all the criticism he got for his one-liners — which I loved and so did other theater-goers. I think this show could make it regionally. I hope you get the chance to try.

  • Brad Horwin says:

    I am so sorry to hear this Ken. My son and I loved it and told everyone we know to go see it. I do believe the next big hit on Broadway is right around the corner for you. I hope you will give me the opportunity to be with you on it.

  • Ken, all of us here at WFYL1180AM FoxNews Radio are deeply saddened to hear this. For me personally, this was the best show since The Producers. Obviously we understand and respect your business decision. As I have said on my LIVE show many times – you are TRULY the NEW Mr. Broadway! We will miss the show and all the great people in it and who made this show happen. In the end, clearly it is not “showFriend” – it is “ShowBusiness”. We long for the day when art, especially great original art such as yours, can stand on it’s own. So exactly what does happen to a Raisin in the Sun? Does it dry up, or does it explode? You are on Top Sir! Go out with a Bang! And we will see you on the next run. Semper fi!
    Sincerely,
    Sgt. Daniel McCaughan,
    Chief Correspondent,
    WFYL1180AM FoxNews Radio

  • Helene Schneider says:

    Sob! It is so sad.that people read.a review, negative or positive, and take it to be the raison d’etre to support or “dis” a show. ‘Nuff.said.😢

  • Teresa says:

    Oh how sad! I saw the “Band” and recommended it to family and friends who also saw it and we all agreed that this was an extraordinary creation with laughs a plenty. Today society has such depressed tones of violence, death, and this is just what people need, to sit back, relax, and have a laugh fest for a few hours. I hope this show will continue on the regional circuit, and come back to broadway to shove it in the face of critics , who are the biggest bullies of them all!

  • Don’t Do It 😭 says:

    When I saw you there last night I knew it. But don’t do this man! I want to call out you know who from you know what paper. It was an unfair and unjust review. It was nonsensical. He had a bug up his ass and went off on a tangent. That was the most fun I have had at a show in a long time. I want to fight for you guys so bad!!

  • Teresa says:

    Oh wait you change your mind

  • While Gettin’ the Band Back Together is an outrageously hysterical comedy, it’s the warmth and tenderness the book brings to the characters that makes it unique!!

  • Nina Stutz says:

    How sad – my ticket is for after September 16 and I can’t get to New York before that. I feel so sad. People I trust told me to see it and your name on it was a guarantee. Sympathies.

  • KitKat says:

    So sorry to hear this! We had a blast at the show and I still laugh when I think of “like my father always said…” I’ve told lots of people to go see this; I hope it continues to run somewhere so others can laugh as hard as we did. What do the critics know anyway… they panned Wicked!

  • Cormac says:

    I have seen many shows, it was so nice to see a great funny show that the whole family wanted to see!! We completely enjoyed the show, including our two teens!!! Not easy to do!!! I only saw it last week but have been recommending it to everyone! I wish you could give it a bit more time, I think you have a hit!

  • Kate P says:

    The story line was definitely simple, filled with uncomfortable jokes that were not politically correct. With all of this said, I ended up loving the performance by the end. The eclectic bunch of actors were ALL excellent with absolutely incredible voices and movement skills. The second half was a real spectacle, leaving the audience with a feel-good attitude. It is evident that The actors give their heart and soul to this, and that rubs off on the audience. There were some WOW moments with their voices. It is awesome to see them having so much fun on stage. Memorable characters! RECOMMEND!!!

  • Kate P says:

    The story line was definitely simple, filled with uncomfortable jokes that were not politically correct. With all of this said, I ended up loving the performance by the end. The eclectic bunch of actors were ALL excellent with absolutely incredible voices and movement skills. The second half was a real spectacle, leaving the audience with a feel-good attitude. It is evident that The actors give their heart and soul to this, and that rubs off on the audience. There were some WOW moments with their voices. It is awesome to see them having so much fun on stage. Memorable characters! RECOMMEND!!!

  • Randy Zeese says:

    Your amazing passion, talent and energy will ensure many more great productions to come! While they all can’t be critical AND commercial hits, you do so much to educate the industry and the audience along the way with your lessons learned discussions…good for you for shining a light on both the highs and lows of “putting on a show”! (By the way—I happened to enjoy this show very much!)

  • Darrell Mullins says:

    Mr. Davenport-

    I treated myself to a weekend away in NYC during this Labor Day weekend–In fact I’m writing this on Sunday night of the holiday weekend, heading back home tomorrow and work on Tuesday. I saw four outstanding shows–“Gettin’ the Band Back Together” was one of them–in fact it was the last of my four–tonight. Thank you so much. Thanks to you, your creative team and your amazing cast for giving me much needed laughs, not to mention outstanding talent. I read yesterday, after I had already acquired my ticket for tonight, that the show would be closing soon. I worried that I had bought tickets to a flop. Nothing could be further from the truth. Tonight I came back to the comfy Air BnB I rented for this weekend and decided to look up the reviews of the show. I was astounded and some of the jibes, especially from the Times review. I wish critics would stop overlooking one of the most crucial themes of “Uses and Gratifications Theory” of Media. That is, we often turn to media, such as live theatre, to entertain us. That you most certainly did. Tonight’s audience were of one mind and voice, cheering, clapping and on their feet at curtain call–and it was precisely because your show did not bog us down with heavy themes and ambiguous messages. Don’t get me wrong–those too can be wonderful to experience in theatre, but for me, nothing beats good old fashioned heart, soul, and laughs.

    Again–thank you.

  • Anne says:

    It has been a pleasure working this show. No matter how my day was, I come to work and laugh and smile and dance and play my air cowbell. I love this show! So much talent. Thanks Ken & Co.! You will live on in my heart forever.

  • James says:

    I walked out of this show saying to my friend I want to come back tomorrow to see it again. This show was hilarious and fun. Was so feel good I’m still smiling and singing the songs from it. It’s a shame that great feel good shows like this are not recognized. This was truly a great one and I look forward to seeing it again before it leaves us. Mr. Davenport, thanks for brining this show to broadway, and I can’t to see what you bring in the future!

  • Erin Morin says:

    Ken,
    This really stinks. I saw it with the Gateway Players group in August and it was of the best snd funniest shows i have ever seen! I’m sorry it jas to emd so quickly. I hope it can be available for community theater someday.

  • Ken, your unrelenting positivity in the face of this disappointment is so inspiring. You can’t imagine what your final words mean to me. I’m so sorry this didn’t fly after all of your hard work- and that of everyone involved. I hope you make a zillion on amateur rights. Thank you for being forthright with us and telling us how it is.
    You’re the best!

  • Kenneth Drylie says:

    Sorry to hear the show is closing. We went to the last preview and loved it. I’ve been telling everyone who would listen how great the show is. We saw two shows on this trip to NYC and “Band” was far better than the other one.

  • David Spear says:

    We saw this incredible show on Aug 11,; 8p.m. This show was so incredible. It was hysterical, it was emotionally charged, touching, and just really fun.
    The cast, they were all huge. Marilu Henner, who really made this show, was just incredible. I’m, and everybody who’d seen this beautiful show along with me, saddened by it’s closing. It’s created a very special memory.

  • Fred Block of Sayreville says:

    We are extremely disappointed to hear that the show is closing already. My family saw the last dress rehearsal and thought it was incredibly funny with great music. Finally a show that wasn’t like every other show! You should be proud of what you accomplished and I would say the same goes for all of the people involved. I have no idea how something so good could go so bad so quickly. Best of luck in the future trying to find “the one”.

  • Patrick Ryan says:

    Ken, my wife and went to today’s performance and enjoyed from start to finish!!! I am saddened to find out it was the final show. I will recommend to my friends and family with the hope that it will return to Broadway someday. Thanks!!

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