Episode 206 – The President of Disney Theatrical Group, Thomas Schumacher

Did you miss me?

Ok, maybe not.

But did you miss my guests???

That’s what I thought!

Well, the wait is over.  Welcome back to the brand new season of The Producer’s Perspective Podcast!

(Insert confetti cannons here)

Believe it or you-know-what, over the break, we celebrated five years of podcasting. Five freakin’ years. When I first started out, with my portable microphone and no idea of what I was doing, I never imagined we’d have over 200 episodes and that so many of our industry’s leaders would be so willing to sit and share their wisdom.  The generosity of theater folks is beyond.

And a perfect example of one of those folks is today’s guest . . .  Mr. Thomas Schumacher, the President and Producer of Disney Theatrical Productions, who oversees the development, creation, and execution of Disney’s legitimate stage entertainment worldwide.  Yeah, we’re talking the guy responsible for getting The Lion King to Broadway, not to mention Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Frozen and everything else under the Disney brand.

Tom and I sat down to talk about the role Disney has played in the building of the modern Broadway as well as . . .

  • How the film version of The Little Mermaid gave musicals back their voice
  • How theatre and Disney become part of your family heritage
  • What Broadway definitely needs to learn about diversity from Disney’s Mulan.
  • How Disney’s purchase of the New Amsterdam Theater helped revitalize Times Square.
  • A hint of what might be next for Disney on Broadway.

A lot of folks think that Disney is a big corporation.  Well, in this podcast, you’ll hear why its success is because it’s not run like a big corporation.  It’s run by one of the best independent producers in the business, who just happens to be backed by one heck of a big investor.

 

  • Click here to listen on our site!
  • Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review while you’re there!)
  • Download it here.

And this week’s #SongwriterOfTheWeek is Grace McLean! If you enjoyed the outro song in this episode, go on over to www.gracemclean.com or check her out on Instagram & Twitter @thatgracemclean.

Something I haven’t done in awhile.

For those of you new to the blog, one of the first things I did on Broadway that got some national (and even international) attention was my crowd-funded Godspell

One of the reasons I chose that massive legal and logistical undertaking was because, well, Stephen Schwartz told me that Godspell was about a community of people coming together . . . so I wanted to bring together the largest community of Broadway Investors ever (I’m a big fan of marrying your marketing message with your artistic message).

And the other reason I did it was because I had this theory.  See, I believed there were thousands and thousands of people out there who were interested in investing in Broadway shows, but . . .

1) They didn’t know who to talk to about it.

and . . .

2) They didn’t know how it worked!

The response to the Godspell offering was overwhelming, to say the least, and it proved my theory correct.  Investing in Broadway shows has, in the past, been for a very select group of folks, and often we kept more people out than we invited in.  And even when new folks got into the ‘club’ they often didn’t know what was happening after they wrote the check!

Since then, Broadway has gone through one of the biggest booms in its history and interest in Broadway Investing has skyrocketed.  Because when any industry posts numbers in the billions as we have, people come from all over hoping to find “the next Hamilton.”

And whenever you rush into anything, you can often make mistakes.

That’s what led me to develop a workshop on Broadway Investing several years ago, and eventually publish this book, Broadway Investing 101, a best seller on Amazon.com and the only book on Broadway Investing on the market.

But books are no substitute for the live, in-person, experience, right?  (We all love the theater, don’t we?)

That’s why, we’re reviving the Broadway Investing Workshop!  And we’ve got TWO dates coming up . . .

Tuesday, March 10th at 7 PM

Monday, April 6th at 7 PM

In this Broadway Investing workshop, you’ll learn

  • The myths of Broadway investing, and how exactly the money flows
  • Who to talk to and where to find Broadway investment opportunities
  • How to decide if an investment opportunity is right for you
  • Simple strategies to mitigate your risk and increase your chances of profitability
  • How to maximize the perks of Broadway investing

If you are interested in learning more about Broadway Investing, whether you’re thinking about investing yourself or if you’re just curious about how shows like Hamilton are funded, click here to join us for either date.

The seminar is $99 and we’re keeping the group small to make sure I can answer all your questions.

Oh, and everyone who comes will get a free copy of my book.

So grab your seat now.

 

(Interested in learning about Broadway investing, but can’t attend the live seminar on March 10th or April 6th? Click here to get your copy of my book “Broadway Investing 101: How to Make Theater and Yes, Even Make Money” on Amazon.)

Our Official 2019 Broadway Holiday Gift Guide

I know what you’re thinking . . . “Wasn’t it just Labor Day?”

The answer?  Yes.  Yes it was.

As if Harry Potter cast a monthus-disappearus spell, here we are on the eve of Black Friday, ready for another mad dash to the end of the year.

Thanksgiving is late this year, which means less time to do your holiday shopping.  That’s why we’ve put together this list of the Top 10 Broadway GIfts to help you as you shop for the Broadway theater lover in your life (or in case you are just looking to put something for yourself in your stocking).   And this year, we’ve made sure we’ve added a bunch under $20.

And now, the overture is over . . . let’s raise the curtain on my 2019 Broadway Holiday Gift Guide:

1. Be A Broadway Star Board Game

Be a Broadway Star was a “shower idea.”  It literally came to me in the shower back in 2011.  And when I dreamed it up and wrote the name on the steam of my shower door, I never imagined it would turn into one of the hottest selling Broadway gifts on the market.  What has been fun to see is people of all ages playing the game, from college kids, to little ones, to senior theater goers!  And even Ben Platt!  (Click here and scroll down to see the photo)

It’s a no-brainer gift for any theater lover in your life, and super fun to play.

This year we have a new, limited-edition Holiday Expansion pack! Download the full 31-page expansion pack for FREE here!

Get the game here now.  It sells out every season, so don’t wait.

2. My Broadway Binder!

We made these as a gift for our Broadway Investors.  And we got such great feedback on them, we wondered if other folks might want to buy them.  

The answer?  Yes.  Yes they would.

So we modified ’em, included some sheet protectors and even came up with a unique design for our binder that prevents the Playbills from falling out.

It’s a must for all Broadway fans which makes it a terrific holiday gift. 

Get the Broadway Playbill binder here.

3. A Broadway Puzzle featuring 20 of your favorite Broadway stars!

Want a great group activity at your holiday gathering?  Or looking for a solo activity?  Make the most of a rainy or snowy day this holiday season and piece together this Broadway-themed jigsaw puzzle featuring 20 of Broadway’s biggest stars!

Get it here.

4. Broadway Coloring Book

Coloring books are in. 

And in this great Broadway gift for under $10, you can color all of your favorite show tunes in this Broadway Lyric Coloring Book! The book features 24 pages of mandala designs and lyrics from popular shows. 

You can bet your bottom dollar this is in my daughter’s stocking this year.  Gotta get her started right!

Get the coloring book here.

5. Musical Theatre themed colored pencils

When I was a kid if you wanted to color, you had one choice . . . crayons.  Now there are . . . wait for it . . . musical-theatre themed colored pencils!  Another great gift for under $20 which makes it an ideal Secret Santa gift!

Get the musical theater pencils here.

6. Books, books, and more books!

I could have a whole Broadway Holiday Gift Guide just for Broadway books! But here are a few of my top picks this season.

The Secret Life of the American Musical by Jack Viertel

Written by a true master of the American theater, this book is rich with information and stories to delight any theater fan (or theater maker). 

Broadway Trivia

Test your knowledge of the Great White Way with this 9-chapter Broadway Trivia Book! 

Broadway Trivia includes 9 chapters with easy, medium and hard trivia for Broadway fans of all ages! Test your knowledge about Broadway theaters, history of the great white way, show tunes and more!

Broadway Investing 101

Everything you need to know about how to get started in investing in Broadway Shows.

How To Raise Money For The Arts . . . Or For Anything!

Does the mere thought of asking people for money make you nervous? I sat down and wrote a 100+ page comprehensive how-to guide on the subject of raising money for the theater – the only one of its kind!

Action Journals

Created specifically with artists in mind, these action journals are a 90-day template for success. It helps you stay on track and reflect along the way. (Be sure to share your thoughts using #ActionJournalForArtists. I’d love to hear what you think!)

7. Playbill Frame

When a Broadway binder isn’t enough for your Broadway fan, or Broadway star-to-be, get ’em this Playbill frame to show off that their most prized Broadway possession.  Great for those of you who have seen Hamilton . . . just to rub it in your friends’ faces when they come over.  Get it here.

8. Broadway Momento Box 

And if the frame isn’t good enough . . . well, there’s almost another step up!  Use this shadow box as a unique way to show off your favorite Broadway memories!  If they had this when I was 16, I would have owned 160.  Get the momento box here.

9. The TheaterMakers Studio Membership

TheaterMakers belong together.  That’s why we created a brand-new, state-of-the-art, industry-leading membership community and certification training experience for theater-makers! If you want to create theater – or know someone who does – The TheaterMakers Studio is the best resource 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!  Check it out here and get it for the writer, actor, director, producer in your life.

10. The Broadway Pop Chart of Costumes

Someone actually gifted this to me last year . . . and in a perfect example of word of mouth at work . . . I’m now recommending it to you.  Check out this unique poster art here.

 

 

And of course, theater tickets, Broadway t-shirts and the latest cast recordings are always great gifts for Broadway lovers.  But whatever you get for your Broadway or Theater Fan, get them something theater related.  It all helps support the art and business we all love!

BOOK PRESALE ALERT: This one answers the question I’m asked the most.

Last spring we released the only book on the subject Broadway Investing . . . and now we’re releasing a brand new book about the subject I’m asked about more than anything else . . .

Early Hungarian cabinet making!

No, no . . . jk, jk.  (By the way, that cabinet making quip is a European Vacation reference.)

The topic I’m asked about more than anything is . . . how to raise money for Broadway or Off-Broadway shows.

So, in an effort to help those of you out there producing or self-producing shows (and as part of our #5000By2025 mission), this summer I wrote the only book about raising money specifically geared towards the theater.

And it’s available now for presale on Amazon.com for only a fraction of what it will cost when it is officially released.

What’s it called?

It’s a continuation of our “How To” series.  The first was, How To Succeed in the Arts . . . or in Anything.  And this is, yep, How to Raise Money in the Arts . . . or in Anything. (There will be one more in the series, by the way – I’ll let you guess what that “How To” is.)

This book covers . . .

  • The different legal structures for raising money for the arts.
  • Where to find investors for your specific project.
  • How to script your ask in order to increase your chance for success.
  • The most important part of raising money that most people forget (do this and you’ll raise the money you need 10x faster at least).
  • How to enjoy raising money (it is possible – truly).

The book is gonna list for $19.95 . . . but you can get it via the Amazon presale for only $5.99 (Jeff Bezos likes when self-publishers give his customers a super-duper entry-level price for new books . . . and what Bezos wants, Bezos gets – and you benefit).  Just do me a favor, after you finish it, give it a good review so that more people can find it.

Because the truth is, after Bezos takes his chunk, this book doesn’t make us any money.  But it could find money for a lot of people’s projects.

And that means there will be more theater in the world.  And that means the world will be that much better of a place.

Get How To Raise Money For The Arts . . . Or For Anything first here (or get it for a friend).

#5000By2025.

Forget 15 Minutes a Day to Flatter Abs. Use Those 15 Minutes to Do THIS Instead.

A long time ago, in a galaxy very close to Times Square . . . I was in deep you-know-what.

See, I had made a bad business assumption.

Actually, that’s redundant. Any assumption is a bad one.  Because when you assume, you make an a$$ out of yourself . . . and only yourself!  And now what the @#$% are you going to do?

So, I had made this business assumption. And I found myself in a very, very deep hole.  With very limited time to get out of it.

Now look, I had been in holes before.  Life, and even more so the pursuit of success in the arts, is like a street in New York City.  It’s filled with potholes, and you’re going to hit one every once in a while.

But this time?  I hit a doozy.  I was in deep.  Deeper than the one I had been in years before that had me in tears on my therapist’s couch, wondering how I was going to get out of it.

So yeah, things were bad.

And I needed a plan.  Because there was no choice.  I had to dig myself out.  No matter what.

There were no tears this time.  I woke up at 4:45 AM (partly on purpose and partly because I couldn’t sleep) and went straight to my office to begin putting a process in place to get me over, under, or straight damn through the obstacle I was facing.

That morning, I Googled everything I could about getting back on track.  I learned about eating better and morning routines and meditation and positive thinking and . . . journaling.

I had always laughed at journaling before.  “Isn’t it like keeping a diary?”  “Why reflect or describe what’s happening when I can just do something with that time instead!”

But since so many successful people I looked up to swore by this 15-minute a day exercise and since I was so @#$%ed I was ready to try anything to get myself in the right mindset . . . I bought one.  (Actually, I bought three – but more on that later.)

And the next day, I took that journal, which I had one-day shipped from Amazon Prime, and held it.  And instantly I felt like I had control over what was going to happen next in my life, instead of “the hole” taking control of me.

Day after day, I started going through the exercises in that journal, from goal-setting, to mind-setting, to gratitude-feeling, and so on.

Two weeks later, my problem was gone . . . four weeks earlier than the deadline.

Boom.

And journaling has been a part of my life every single day since.  And without a doubt, it has helped me focus, take action, stay calm (when I’ve faced more potholes), and achieve the ambitious goals that I had set for myself.

It’s one of the simplest secrets to success I’ve ever seen.  Which is why I think you should start one today.

You can use anything to journal.  A blank composition book.  A blog.  A word doc.

Or one of the many journals available on the market.

And as of today, you can also get one specifically for Artists, Art-trepreneurs, and other people like you.  Check them out here.

See, in order to make my journaling more efficient, I tried over seventeen (!) different types from seventeen different companies.  And while all of them had elements I liked (special shout-out to Michael Hyatt, SaltWrap, Rachel Hollis, and all the others who helped inspire me with their versions), none of them had the perfect combination of what I believe true Art-repreneurs need.

So we made our own!  🙂  Click here to see ’em.

The journal consists of a daily checklist of the things I believe every person should start their day with in order to get the most out of the next 24 hours and to get closer to their goals.

We have three versions, with three unique covers, inspired by some of our favorite motivational lyrics.  🙂  I think you’ll like ’em.  Click here to see if you can guess which lyrics we chose!

With the cost of publishing these hardcovers, never mind what Jeff Bezos takes on Amazon, these are really a wash for us.  But we made them because we believe it can help you get your shows, your projects, your anything off the ground, which as you know, is part of our #5000By2025 mission.

So grab one and give it a shot.

Because I think you’ll find those 15 minutes a day much more fun and MUCH more rewarding than a bunch of crunches.


Get our Action Journal for Artists here.

It will work.

Happy journaling!

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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