10 Ways To Help TheaterMakers on Broadway and off Broadway This Giving Tuesday.

The bad news . . .
 
No other industry is suffering as much as the theater during this pandemic.
 
And as I wrote about here . . . who I worry about most are the TheaterMakers on the bubble. Those artists who are still emerging. Who haven’t had time for their art to take root. Especially those from marginalized communities who haven’t had the same chances as others. Those creators who are putting in the effort, but whose number hasn’t come up. Yet. But it will. If they can keep creating.
 
The good news . . .
 
More people have stepped forward to help TheaterMakers get through this difficult time. Because people know that art not only inspires, but art heals. And boy are we going to need some great theater when this is all said and done.
 
Today is Giving Tuesday. The Black Friday deals are over. (By the way – have you noticed that Black Friday is a month now?). The sun has fallen on Cyber Monday. (By the way, have you noticed that every day is Cyber day? A quick peek at Amazon’s stock price will prove that!)
 
And now we give back.
 
If you’re in the position to help today . . . I’d encourage you to help a TheaterMaker. (And if you’re in a position to buy yourself a Starbucks, you can help – because every few bucks count.)
 
Here is a list of 10 Ways to give to TheaterMakers on this Giving Tuesday. And if you can’t decide which one? Divide whatever the total you want to give up amongst them. $100/10 = $10 each. It all helps. And PS – giving always has a way of coming back.
 
Thank you, in advance.
The Actors Fund fosters stability and resiliency, and provides a safety net for performing arts and entertainment professionals over their lifespan.
The Broadway Advocacy Coalition builds the capacity of individuals, organizations, and communities to dismantle the systems that perpetuate racism through the power of storytelling and the leadership of people directly affected.
 
 A fund established in the name of my Dad who passed this March to encourage TheaterMakers like he encouraged me. He was a doctor who told his son to go into the theater. I mean, how could I not honor that. To see two examples of how The Fund has helped, click here. To read more about The Fund, click here. 
 
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS raises funds for AIDS-related causes across the United States, headquartered in New York City, and helmed by the theater industry.
 
 If giving to an organization isn’t your thing, find a TheaterMaker for a job you need done, and pay ’em directly! You get something and they do to. Click here for a list of TheaterMakers with side hustles looking for extra work right now.
 
The Dramatists Guild Foundation provides necessary funds to writers for the stage facing emergency circumstances, while providing a sense of community, educational support, rehearsal spaces, and more.
 
The Educational Theatre Association – the international association for school theatre.
 
The Drama League advances the American theater by providing a life-long artistic home for directors and a platform for dialogue with, and between, audiences.
The Indie Theater Fund is made up of a consortium of companies, venues and individuals contributing five cents per ticket sold to a pool of money for independent theater.
Co-founded by T. Oliver Reid and Warren Adams, the Black Theatre Coalition aims to remove the “Illusion of Inclusion” in the American Theatre, by building a sustainable ethical roadmap that will increase employment opportunities for Black theatre professionals.

Who I’m having over this Thanksgiving Weekend.

 I couldn’t ask for better guests.
 
They are sweet. They are funny.
 
They are going to sing for their supper.
 
And what’s cool is, they can come to your house too!
 
 
And, of course, it’s a livestream!
 
Mat and Savanna are YouTube superstars. Their videos have racked up 40mm views . . . in only seven months!
 
This daddy-daughter duo recorded a song at the beginning of the pandemic to share their message of hope and love with their friends.
 
Turns out, they have a LOT of friends. Or they do now!
 
But that’s what happens when you have an incredible message and TWO incredible voices.
 
I had them on my livestream last spring (and introduced them to Broadway star, Sierra Boggess, who is directing the concert). And, over the summer, I found myself listening to them all the time. And they always put a smile on my face.
 
Since we could all use a few more smiles these days, I called them and asked if I could have the honor of producing their first EVER concert, and they said yes!
 
And tomorrow night is the big day.
 
I hope you’ll join us. You’ll hear the classic covers that got them fans like Kelly Clarkson and got them on TV shows all over the country. And you’ll also hear some holiday tunes, and yep, some Broadway stuff as well.  (Savanna’s dream is to be on Broadway – and well, I think you’ll see that she’s well on her way.)
 
The concert is TOMORROW night, Saturday, November 28th at 8 PM Eastern. You can get your livestream ticket here.
 
You can’t ask for better socially distanced guests than these two.  🙂
 
Mat and Savannah Shaw
“What The World Needs Now”
Saturday, November 28th
8 PM Eastern
LIVE!
 
 

 

My Official 2020 Broadway Holiday Gift Guide for TheaterMakers and TheaterFans alike!

Usually, I publish my holiday gift guide on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

But since you probably have a little more time on your hands this Turkey Day, I thought you might want to start your e-shopping early.

As always, here are my top ten (pandemic-friendly) Broadway-themed gifts of 2020 that every TheaterMaker and Theater Fanatic will love. 

 

1) Broadway Face Masks

Masks are a thing.  And even with a vaccine coming, they’re going to be a thing.  Even years AFTER this pandemic has been crushed, they will STILL be a thing.  (If you have a cold, you’ll wear a mask – just like they do in other parts of the world.)  So, if you’re going to wear something, you might as well show your Broadway pride.  Here are some great places (including some TheaterMaker small business artisans on Etsy) to pick up a Broadway-themed mask.

 

2) Working On A Song

Hadestown was one of the most exciting, successful new shows on Broadway last year, raking in eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Now you can hear from the creator herself (who also happens to be one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020) as she takes you along on the decade-long journey of bringing Hadestown to Broadway. Get your copy of Working on a Song: The Lyrics of HADESTOWN by Anaïs Mitchell today!

 

3) BE A BROADWAY STAR – The Board Game

Yes, yes, we created this game.  But for those of you who think we’re just stumping for our own stuff, click here and look at all the amazing reviews.  Be A Broadway Star is the ONLY Broadway board game.  It’s a mashup between charades and “Life” and is a ton of fun (and yes, adults, there is also a drinking version).  IMPORTANT:  We sell out of these EVERY holiday season.  And with board games all the rage during the pandemic, we predict we will sell out faster.  Get Broadway’s only board game on Amazon here.

 

4) CAST OF MENTORS: Short Sage Advice from 50 of Broadway’s Best 

Yep, this one is also mine, but it’s the type of gift that I would have wanted under my tree when I was coming up in this biz so I had to recommend it. 

Have you or your special TheaterMaker ever wanted advice from your favorite Broadway mentor? How about 50 Broadway mentors? In Cast of Mentors: Short Sage Advice from 50 Broadway Superpowers you’ll get more than you paid for in this collection of truths from high-achieving Tony winners, Oscar winners and Pulitzer Prize winners (!) including Terrence McNally, Dominique Morriseau, David Henry Hwang, Daryl Roth, Kathleen Marshall, Stephen C. Byrd and more.   Get your copy of Cast of Mentors for your favorite TheaterMaker here.

 

5)  “Will You Light My Candle?” candles and more. 

We can all use a little soothing scent from a sweet candle, not to mention a little ‘light’ to remind us there is light at the end of this tunnel!  A candle from this Etsy shop will transport you into the world of all your favorite shows!

 

6) The TheatreMakers Studio Membership

Know the site Masterclass.com?  TMS is like Masterclass.com but for theater.  It’s a a digital training program and community for TheaterMakers at all stages in the process.  If you’re a writer, producer, director, or actor and you want to get a show on a stage, find a producer, meet other writers, and more . . . this is the place for you.

As a member, you’ll have access to our certification courses, monthly group coaching calls with my team of experts, access to our Private Facebook Community, a literal treasure trove of resources, checklists, execution plans, and a ton more! This is a perfect way to show the TheaterMakers in your life that you’re invested in their careers and want to see them thrive.

Oh, and you also get me once a month on a coaching call, since I founded the place.

 

7) These Work-From-Home Pajamas You Deserve

Okay, be honest. How many days this year have you spent in your pajamas? Pajamas have become the new business casual as many of us have shifted to work from home during the pandemic. Why not bring the spirit of Broadway to your work from home with these festive pajamas from Playbill?

 

8) MY BROADWAY BINDER

With all the free time quarantine has given us, why not organize that Playbill collection like we’ve all been saying we would do for years? This is my personal favorite way to do that, and I’m sure any Broadway lover would feel the same. Start organizing your playbills and memories here.

 

9) A SUBSCRIPTION TO THESE STREAMING SITES

All the cool kids are streaming it. So shouldn’t you?  Check out BroadwayHD and BroadwayOnDemand to get great theater content right on your phone, desktop or big screen tv.  And there are free trials or free content on both!  (And make sure you watch Daddy Long Legs, while you’re there.)

 

10)  SINGULAR SENSATION by Michael Riedel

It’s a real battle between who writes better books about Broadway:  Jen Tepper and her “Untold Stories of Broadway Series” or Michael Riedel.  Michael follows up his first and fantastic book, Razzle Dazzle, with this new one, Singular Sensation, which has his usual flair of history, drenched in gossip.

 

If you’re looking for more gift ideas for the Broadway theater lover in your life, click here to see past years guides.

If you have someone in your life who dreams about being on Broadway or creating shows for Broadway, check out this specialty guide here.

Will “Ratatouille The Musical” make it to Broadway?

Who knew a rat could cause a revolution?
 
Don’t know what I’m TikTok-ing about?
 
Let me catch you up, my over 40-something friend.
 
The latest social media platform to hit the e-waves goes by the name TikTok. It made a name for itself by doing two things:
 
  • Allowing users to post 15-second clips of themselves doing crazy dance moves.
  • Getting accused of espionage by our ex-administration (sorry but not sorry if that “ex” part was a spoiler for anyone).
 
And now it’s getting a new rep . . . for making musicals.
 
A few MONTHS ago, a TikTok-er posted a made-up melody for a hypothetical musical based on the Disney film, Ratatouille.
 
And then, a few weeks ago, another Tok-er added orchestrations like you’d hear in an Act II finale.
 
And boom.
 
Viral sensation born.
 
But here’s where it gets interesting.
 
See TikTok isn’t about viewing content. It’s about MAKING content. So people didn’t just view the video. They added to the theoretical musical by making up songs of their own. Some added choreography. Makeup.  
In other words . . .
An entire musical, created by its fans, is coming together right before our virtual eyes.
(And, I might add, much faster than “real” ones get made!)
 
So now you’re up to date.
 
But what does all this mean? It means a ton, actually, but here are 3 Takeaways from The Ratatouille Musical on TikTok (and a special surprise too).
 
1. TikTok has tipped.
 
The “kids” make social media sites. Adults break them.
 
See, like new musicals, young people can only get a social site so far. Unless the site finds an older audience (i.e. the moms of those early adopting kids), the sites ends up as another MySpace. (Ironically, the kids find the NEW social-site because their moms found the old social-site. And like fleas on a dog, they jump to the new one.)
 
This is why Facebook went beyond its “college-only” membership model, and why it tipped into the big-billionaire-boys-club.  I remember when Twitter tipped in 2008, which I predicted and wrote about here (the Arab Springs had something to do with it).
 
And, this musical is drawing the adults to TikTok, like, well, like a rat to the subway.
I’ve gotten at least seven emails in the last few days from people my age asking me “Did you see that rat musical on “The TickTock?”
 
Yep, TikTok is now officially a thing.  
What does this mean for you?  Get ready to start focusing your promotional efforts on this new platform.
 
(But don’t worry, Twitter is just about dead so you won’t have to manage that one for much longer.)
 
2. TikTok is a great place for TheaterMakers to get discovered.
 
You know who made this musical go viral?  A musical theater writer.  
 
And in this one video (not to mention his previous “Grocery Store” the musical) he’s gotten more attention in a few months than in his entire career.  (I don’t think he’d mind me saying that – and if he does, I’ll apologize to him directly, because I’d love to meet this guy.)
 
It wasn’t too long ago that YouTube was the place for musical theater writers to break out (Pasek and Paul talked about their success being tied to YouTube’s birth here). Now, TikTok looks to be the next place that song writers can get discovered.
(IMPORTANT NOTE FOR THOSE LOOKING TO EMULATE THEIR SUCCESS): They used a big brand to get a spotlight on their stuff. I call this strategy “brand-jacking” and it’s awesome.)
 
3. People effin’ miss musicals.
 
If you EVER thought musicals were losing their relevancy, take a look at the 10 million views these videos have gotten. And take a look at how major media has gotten involved. And Playbill.com. And even Tony-nominated composers.
 
People all over the world are banding together to write a musical. Would this be happening if they could see one? No. That first video never would have been posted in the first place.
And our audience has kept Broadway and musicals top of mind better than any marketing agency could ever dream of doing.
– – – – – 
 
Now the question is . . . will Ratatouille The Musical actually get produced??? Will Ratatouille make it to Broadway?
 
I don’t know. But I know this . . .
 
I want to produce it.
 
 

See my appeal to the writers of Ratatouille The Musical to give me the rights to produce it on TikTok here:

 

It wasn’t right.

The first copy was too big.

The second was too blurry.

The third copy was juuuuuussssst right.

And so went the Goldilocks-like journey of publishing my new book, CAST OF MENTORS:  SHORT SAGE ADVICE FROM 50 BROADWAY SUPERPOWERS.

You can order the “just right” version right here, just in time for the holidays.

One thing I do guarantee . . . the advice in this book, from A-listers like Terrence McNally, Joe Mantello, Mandy Gonzalez, Kenny Leon, Pasek & Paul, and so on is “juuuuuust perfect.”

There’s an answer in this book for every question a TheaterMaker might have, from a college student with a BA in theater graduating in the middle of a pandemic, to a professional producer with awards on his mantle who is still looking for his West Side Story (ok, ok, that might be me.)

Oh, and the hardcover version looks cool on a coffee table.

Get it here.  If it doesn’t help you, let me know.  We’ll give your money back to you.  And you don’t even have to return the book . . . you just have to give it to another TheaterMaker.  Because I know the words of these Mentors will inspire the right people to do great things . . . on and off the stage.

Get CAST OF MENTORS here.

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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