Two words that should no longer exist in our business or any business.

There has never been a more challenging time to work in the theater than right now.
 
While all industries have gotten a punch in the face thanks to this pandemic, the theater got rope-a-doped. (That’s why the theater’s workers need more help than most. But more on that in a note to Governor Cuomo and others later this week.)
 
But we will get through this. And, in fact, there are some TheaterMakers who will come out even better than they went in. (Need an example? Look at how Laura Benanti’s generous gesture to high school students turned into a TV deal. Or how about John Krasinki’s sale of his “Some Good News” show – which I still feel a little weird about.)
 
 
Others, won’t be so lucky. And for many of them, it won’t be their fault.
 
And then there are the people like the ones I spoke to the other day. And, to be honest, if their Broadway-related business fails? It will be their fault.
 
Here’s the story . . .
 
I called this company with an idea. Nothing too radical. But something different that I knew would work for them if they gave it a shot. And I knew they were struggling just like me. So what better time to try something new?
 
Then they said those two words that no one should say anymore:
 
“We can’t.”
 
Uh. What? You can’t?
 
They said that they never did anything like that before.
 
“Yeah, that’s the point, because you and me . . . we’ve never been in a situation like this before, ” I said, not being able to hide my sass.
 
“Sorry. We can’t.”
 
End of convo.
 
And that attitude could be the end of their business.
 
Look, my business has its back up against a wall like so many out there. I’ve laid off valuable employees. I’m in difficult negotiations with my landlord. All of it. And until people can gather in rehearsal studios and theaters, I’ve got to come up with other solutions.
 
That’s why you won’t hear me say, “I can’t.” And you shouldn’t either.
 
If we want to come out of this better than we went in, we must “I can” everything. This is the time to do things we haven’t done before, because, well, what do we have to lose? If it doesn’t work, what will be the worst that could happen . . . they shut down the theaters?
 
Six months ago, your business might have been able to get away with ignoring new ways of doing things. But if you do so now, you might as well start looking for a new business.
 
– – – – –
Did you forget to sign up for the 3-Part video series about the three things that NEED TO CHANGE in order to make great theater in the new world?  The first video dropped on Tuesday and comments are pouring in:
“As a total fan of Broadway and all things theatre (and a community theatre actor myself), I found the conversation fascinating and enlightening. ” – Tim
And
“Great conversation and I look forward to the next one.+ – Lynne
Don’t miss the next one. Sign up here. Join the conversation. Through conversation comes change.
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Comments
  • Renee says:

    Thanks for this positive piece!! You totally caught me off guard as to what “two words” we should never use. I direct one musical a year; my day job is elementary Music teacher. Many of my peers have been told they cannot sing this fall in their classrooms. So, we are totally trying to figure out how “we can.” Anyway, thanks. PS why is Mr. Levi’s pic at the top?? 😊

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Ken Davenport
Ken Davenport

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer

I'm on a mission to help 5000 shows get produced by 2025.

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