Podcast Episode #244: What TheaterMakers Can Learn From Simone Biles

ESTIMATED LISTENING TIME OF THIS EPISODE:  7 Minutes

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If you’ve been following The Olympics this year, or if you’re on the internet, you probably heard Simone Biles withdrew from an individual all-around gymnastics competition at the Tokyo Olympics in an effort to focus on her mental health and well-being, a decision which came one day after she removed herself from the team final.

Tune into my personal reaction of this news and then how I believe we can apply this lesson to all of our lives as we look to reopen the live theater industry.

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My mission is to get more people talking about the theater.  The more people talking about it, the more people who want to make it, perform it, support it, etc.  And that’s how theater not only survives, but thrives.

The biggest compliment you can give me is by sharing this podcast.

I thank you and the theater thanks you!

If you’re raising money for theater, read this . . .

TheaterMakers around the world have had a LOT to worry about over the last 18 months.

And when one worry passed, another one popped up. Am I right? 

(You don’t have to answer that. Because I know I’m right . . . because I’m making theater right along with you. And I know how I’ve felt at times through all this!)

I’ve been tracking a lot of these worries and concerns over the pandemic. And one keeps coming up . . . especially now that shows are getting ready to go back to the rehearsal room.

That concern?

It’s everyone’s favorite thing to do. You know, the reason why people got into the theater. To raise money.  😉

Because this keeps coming up in anxious emails and mentions in my Facebook group, I want to do something to help. If I can.  

I’m digging into some research right now. And asking my Broadway peers what they are experiencing with their investors. (And of course, I’m raising money for my shows as well).

And I’ll have a report for you in a few weeks right here on this blog. (From what I’ve found out so far, it’s going to be pretty fascinating – with some surprises).

But since I’m asking a lot of people, I thought I’d also ask you . . . you who are raising money or thinking about raising money, for your show or for other people’s shows.

Is raising money in a post-covid theater world something you’re concerned about?  

If you’ve got any concerns, questions, etc, click here. I’ve got a 10-second, one-question survey that will help me with my research.

Thanks for your participation, and your passion for doing what you do!
Click here to take the survey about raising money for the theater in 2021. And beyond.

July 30, 2021: What TheaterMakers Are Talking About This Week

Here’s what TheaterMakers were talking about this week . . .

1 – CDC Recommends Continued Mask Wearing Indoors

By now we know that our “new normal” looks different almost every day. And next week (!) Broadway will open Pass Over, the first play back after almost 17 months. But to be required to mask or not to be required to mask? That is the question! NY State and Andrew Cuomo are still debating whether the new CDC recommendations will apply to theaters as well.

Read more: www.broadwaynews.com

2 – TLP Announces Company Management

Attention Company Managers! The Theatre Leadership Project has announced its latest initiative for BIPOC Company Managers. The program will provide financial support to five Company Managers and assistants currently working on Broadway shows. Read below for more information about program details and application deadlines. Not a BIPOC company manager? Send this post to them and spread the word.

Read more: www.playbill.com

3 – Making Broadway Anti-Racist

A great reminder from arts journalist Ruthie Fierberg and Bway Advocacy Coalition that Broadway can’t go back to “business as usual”. It needs to go back better. Read more below for ways you can be part of the progress moving forward.

Read more: www.medium.com

4 – Live Theatre Can Make You a Better Person

The science doesn’t lie! New research says that experiencing a live theater performance has the ability to impact an audience’s empathy and actions in the real world (though, as theatermakers, we already knew that!). Bravo to The Public and Artists Repertory Theatre for allowing the world to (officially) see the impact our work has on the world.

Read more: www.psypost.org

5 – Show Must Go On Documentary

The show really must (and will) go on! Thank you, Sammi Cannold and Dori Berinstein for documenting the theatermaker’s experience through this unimaginable time. I cannot wait to see the documentary. Find more details about how you can support the film and The Actors Fund below.

Read more: www.playbill.com

Fun on a Friday:

Get an inside look at the first rehearsal back for The Lion King on the West End (and grab your tissues!).

 

Watch the video here:

 

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My Revised Look At What Broadway’s Recovery Will Look Like

Things have changed since May of 2020.

Shoot, things have changed since yesterday!

But since May of 2020, when I first posted my “What The Broadway Recovery Will Look Like” series? Well, dang it, can any of you have imagined that we’d only have one Broadway show running a year later?

Not me. Not me.

Now that we’ve been through the great theatrical drought of 2020 (thanks, Covid!), I thought it was time to revise my prediction.

Because, in case I didn’t mention it. Things have ch-ch-ch-changed.

If you click here, you’ll see that last May, on this very blog, I predicted a “fishing hook recovery”, as opposed to a V-shaped or U-shaped recovery.

Here was my analysis in bullet point form:

  • Prior to the pandemic, things were going along gangbusters.
  • Then we slammed into the Covid wall and Broadway went from 60 to zero in zero seconds flat.
  • And we stayed there . . . and are still there . . . 
  • I then predicted a supersonic rise the moment that Broadway turned its lights back on.
  • After that, we’d have a continual upward trend, getting us back to where we were before in due time.
  • See here for the visual.

So what has changed?

It’s those last two bullet points that could use a rewrite.

Broadway is going to roar back to life when the big shows open back up. The pent-up demand, the support from locals, and the incredible amount of press that Broadway’s reopening is going to generate, is going to sell tickets. (If I had a show running, I’d be working hard to get as early an opening as possible, so I could be part of those press stories.)

And oh the word-of-mouth!

As I’ve been saying since the start of the shutdown, close your eyes for a moment and imagine what it’s like to be at the first performance of Hamilton . . . the first performance of Mrs. Doubtfire . . . Hadestown, or whatever your favorite Broadway show is. I mean, the ovation, the tears, and yeah, the word-of-mouth that’s going to sizzle through the city later that night. (Makes you want to buy a ticket right now, doesn’t it? Here’s a link! Do it!!!)

That said, I’m now predicting that we’ll have a fantastic fall and an even better holiday season.  (Of course, this comes with a big “Delta Variant” asterisk – with hopes and prayers that the unvaccinated begin to understand that they have the power to stop this thing.)

But, after the holidays? Well, that’s where the big change in my thinking is.

Am I doomsdaying?  No, no . . . NO.

Broadway will return to its pre-pandemic glory days. Thankfully, the economy is still roaring along, unlike in 2008. Our ticket buyers still have disposable income to spend on entertainment (and our tickets will also be cheaper – so maybe they’ll see more shows with the same money!)

The recovery is going to take longer, however. And more specifically, in January, I expect a big dip.  

In other ‘doodles,’ here’s how I think Broadway’s recovery is going to look now.

Why?

Well, it’s simple. January/February is always a difficult time. And while New Yorkers and locals will support our shows in the fall . . . the winter is something altogether different. Many aren’t even in the city!

Second, and this is the big one . . . NYC tourism, especially international tourism, which makes up a little of our usual winter-slack, will not have returned yet.

See, last May, we never thought we’d be down this long. And the longer we’re down, the longer it takes trends like tourism to restore to previous levels.

Here’s a prediction from NYC & Company from the NY Times:

New York attracted a record 66.6 million tourists last year and was expected to break that record again in 2020, according to NYC & Company, the city’s tourism promotion agency.

The virus upended those expectations, and the city may reach only a third of last year’s total. NYC & Company has forecast 38.2 million visitors in 2021, rising to 69 million by 2024. Still, it predicts that the number of international visitors will take even longer to return to pre-pandemic levels.

With one-third fewer tourists going into 2022, we’re definitely going to have a smaller audience.

Broadway’s demographic is about 65% tourist. And 18% international.

And they’re not going to be here right away. And definitely not in January. Unfortunately, that means, we may have a little thinning of our herd come winter.

So, we’re coming back, people. But like everything in life, from the Dow Jones Industrial Average, to your own personal career trajectory, it’s not going to be a straight line up, like I had hoped (and should have known).

Broadway’s recovery is going to go up, take a step back, and then start to climb again . . . and just take a little more time than any of us would like. 

But, with hard work, great shows and even better marketing, we will get there. (I do think Summer of ‘22 will see a nice surge – and the good kind.)

And I can’t wait until the YEAR that we once again celebrate a new yearly Broadway box office record.

I’ll be around. You?

For more conversations on the state of the industry, you can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Come say hi!

Have you seen what’s happening in here?

Check this out . . .

It has been 140 days since we opened up the TheaterMakers Facebook Group.

And we now have 1,400+ members in this group!

We 10x-ed, baby! Grant Cardone would be so proud!!!

As you can imagine, when you get THAT MANY TheaterMakers in one place, some DRAMATIC stuff happens.

Like this!

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TheaterMakers have been meeting collaborators, talking about marketing strategies, supporting each other’s development opportunities, making friends, and so much more.

In other words, the passionate peeps in this group have been making theater.

Join ‘em.  
It only takes a click.

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