How to Watch This Year’s Tony Awards

It’s Tony Awards weekend!

If you’re like me, and I’m guessing you are, then you’ve been waiting for the 74th annual Tony Awards (which are technically last year’s) for a very long time. 

You’ve probably noticed that the long-awaited broadcast is happening a little differently this year. 

Well have no fear! I’ve put together a step-by-step list for everything you need to do to prepare for the theater industry’s biggest night. 

The main awards ceremony airs Sunday, September 26th at 7pm EDT on Paramount+. To watch, follow these steps:

  1. If you don’t already have a Paramount+ account, sign up for a FREE 7-day trial here.
  2. If you don’t want to keep your account after the ceremony, no problem! Set yourself a reminder to cancel your account before the 7-day trial is up (If you create an account on Tonys day, ask Siri, Alexa, ‘Hey Google’ to remind you to cancel on October 1st. 
  3. When posting on social media, be sure to use these hashtags: #ThisIsBroadway, #Broadway, #BroadwayIsBack, or #BroadwaysBack. 
  4. Tune into the livestream, see if your predictions were right, and enjoy!

Following the awards, a celebration of live theater’s return will air on CBS at 9pm EDT. Follow these steps to watch Broadway’s Back!:

  1. Those with access to live cable can tune into Broadway’s Back! At your local CBS station. Check your local listings here.
  2. Don’t have cable? Well you’re in luck. Several streaming services like Hulu and YouTube have LiveTV packages, all of which offer free 7-day trials when you sign up.
  3. And let me know who your favorite performances are – if you’re not too busy singing and dancing along!

I can’t wait to see so many shows be honored after such a trying year and a half. But if I know anything, it’s that TheaterMakers can make it through anything. And I can’t wait to root alongside all of you this weekend. 

Happy Tonys Weekend!

September 24, 2021: What TheaterMakers Are Talking About This Week

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

 

1 – Hamilton at the Emmys

The era of multi-medium theater is alive and well! With specials like Hamilton on Disney+, Diana on Netflix, and countless others, the time for continued TV and Theater collaboration is now. What theater-movie crossover do you think is next?

Read more: www.deadline.com 

And watch Renee Elise Goldsberry’s beautiful acceptance speech from the Emmys here.

 

2 – NYC Tourism

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the return of tourists will be a driving force to revitalize NYC (and Broadway!). 

Read more: www.nytimes.com 

 

3 – Andrew Llloyd Webber’s Theater Art

It’s one of the basic rules of theater – collaboration is key. So it’s no wonder Andrew Lloyd Webber sought out a partner to help decorate his West End theater. Check out Maria Kreyn‘s art, and the stories behind it, below. 

Read more: www.barrons.com  

 

4 – Inclusive Theater

“There is room for everybody, and we all benefit from working together and appreciating our differences.” And it’s the work that needs to continue. Learn more below about how that work is being done on Broadway and beyond. 

Read more: www.forbes.com  

 

5 – Being Back at a Broadway Show

If you’re anything like me, you are doing everything you can to get yourself back into a theater, whether that’s as a theatermaker or an audience member. Have you been back at a live show yet? What has that been like for you? 

Read more: www.vanityfair.com 

 

Fun on a Friday: 

In honor of the 2020 Tony Awards airing this weekend (finally!), take a look at the latest performance from the cast of The Tina Turner Musical

 

Watch the video here:

 

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Join the Free TheaterMakers Facebook Group Today.

I get asked a lot of questions. But there’s one question I get asked All. Of. The. Time.

“What does a Producer actually do?

And although I do a lot of different things, I’ve narrowed it down to one simple answer.

I get people in a room. No matter what that room looks like.

And for me, there is nothing more exciting than putting passionate people in a room to see what happens next. Because something awesome always does.

That’s why I started a FREE Facebook group for TheaterMakers.

Writers, directors, actors, designers, and more . . . if you want to make theater, on Broadway, Off Broadway, in your hometown or at your high school, this Facebook group is for you.

You can meet future collaborators, get best practices on marketing your shows, and lots more.

And over 1,700 TheaterMakers have already joined!

And boy oh boy are they a lively bunch. Here’s what’s happening in there RIGHT NOW. . .

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If you’re a TheaterMaker or TheaterFan, join. Meet future collaborators. Get advice from peers on how to create a demo for cheap. Find out the best practices for streaming readings.

But join . . . and watch how it helps you do whatever you want to do in the theater.

I’ll see you in the group.

September 17, 2021: What TheaterMakers Are Talking About This Week

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

 

1 – Broadway’s Biggest Reopening Yet

A major welcome home is due for the companies of Wicked, Hamilton, The Lion King, Chicago, and Lackawanna Blues as they reopen for the first time since March 2020. Make sure you get yourselves to these shows and continue to support live theater! 

Read more: www.playbill.com 

2 – Drama League Songwriting Contest

Calling all songwriters! Here’s your chance to be a part of history with The Drama League. Find out all contest rules, regulations, and prizes below. Not a songwriter? Share this blog with a theatermaker in your life who is!

Read more: www.playbill.com 

3 – Experimenting with Is This A Room, Dana H, and PassOver

Us theatermakers know that Broadway has always been the place for creative experimentation. And that’s not stopping any time soon! Get inspired by how Pass Over, Is This a Room, and Dana H are continuing to move that experimentation forward this season.

Read more: www.nytimes.com  

4 – Digital Theater 

There’s no denying that digital theater had a major jump start during the pandemic. From TikTok, Clubhouse, Zoom, there is an avenue for almost any production you can imagine. And its legacy is just beginning. Have you created digital theater before? 

Read more: www.insider.com  

5 – Non-profit Vax Req Database

Not in NYC but want to keep up with COVID-regulations in the arts? Stay up to date with the policies across all arts organizations below so you can plan your trips to the theater accordingly. 

Read more: www.artshacker.com 

Fun on a Friday: 

Watch Lin-Manuel Miranda give the curtain speech at the first Broadway performance of Hamilton in over a year and a half (and grab some tissues while you’re at it!). 

Watch the video here:

 

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Want to be part of an online community of theatermakers? Join 1.8k+ producers, writers, actors, directors, and more here. Best part? It’s completely free.

Why We Keep Watching SVU (And What We Can Learn From It)

If you’re like me, then you have access to over 1,000 channels of television, streaming and more.

And yet, somehow, you always wind up back on Law & Order: SVU  (Insert “dum, dum” sound effect here).

Why is that?  What does Benson (and sometimes Stabler) have that keeps us coming back?  

Here are three reasons why SVU has had a spell on us for over 22 (!) years and how you can apply their tricks to your shows:

  1. The stakes can’t get any higher.

For a drama to be successful, it needs to be, well, dramatic.  That means the stakes need to be high for the hero.  

Well, Law & Order, like all police dramas, is life or death.  Literally.  (So are medical dramas – which is why they also make popular TV shows.)  The highest of high stakes is in the DNA of every single episode.  You know you’re signing up for a heart-rate-racing story when you turn on the channel.

Your show may not be a police drama . . . but whatever the conflict is, it needs to FEEL like life or death for your protagonist, even when it’s not.

  1. The objective is clear.  And the outcome clearer.

“What does your hero want,” is a common note I’ve given to others AND to myself when reviewing scripts.  Well, in SVU, there’s a crime at the top of every episode.  So what does our hero(s) want?  To catch the criminal.  That’s it.  You know what the want is before the show even starts!  

And if that wasn’t enough, at the end of the show, a judge declares the criminal guilty or innocent.  End of story and end of episode.  The audience has the cathartic resolution that it craves in all dramas in one those words or the other.

It’s the clearest arc there is.  There’s no question if the hero got what they wanted.  Or not.  And that clarity satisfies the audience in a way that many shows don’t.

In your plays and musicals, make sure your resolution is as clear as a judge’s verdict.  Your ending doesn’t have to be a happy one, but it has to be clear.

  1. Each episode exists on its own. 

SVU is episodic.  There’s a new plot every week.  It’s like, well, a new play, every single week.  Sure, same main characters.  Same want.  Same resolution.  

But new story.  

It’s both familiar, but brand new.  Every time you tune in.  You don’t need to have watched for 22 years to enjoy the next episode.

Does that mean your play or musical needs to have 22 previous versions to work?  No, of course not.  But the takeaway here is if you do NOT have 22 years of history, then you need to make sure your story hooks your audience deep and FAST.  Otherwise, they’ll wriggle off the hook.  

And if all that wasn’t enough . . .

Here’s a FOURTH reason why SVU captures our attention like Benson captures criminials.

  1. Ripped from the you-know-where.

SVU has a “true crime” feel by using real life stories as its source material.  That’s right, just like so many Broadway shows, SVU is an adaptation.  And not only does SVU benefit from having a factual story as a foundation to build open, the “real life” spookiness of the plot, makes an audience lean in just a little closer and say, “This actually happened!”

When creating plays or musicals, look to see what YOU can adapt – whether’s that’s a movie or newspaper article . . . or even an event from your own life.

So, if you want to create a SVU like “show” just following these simple steps:

  • Make it life or death, even if it’s not life or death.
  • Make the hero’s want clear and whether they get they want or not even clearer.
  • Hook your audience in the first few pages, and don’t let go.
  • Find something to adapt . . . and the more real you can make it feel (even if it’s not real at all), the better.

What are your reasons for watching SVU?  Or your favorite TV show?  Talk about it now in our Facebook group for TheaterMakers.

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