Tonight on the Livestream: Tony Award-winning Director, John Rando!

Big thanks to Tony Award-winning costume designer Paul Tazewell (Hamilton, Ain’t Too Proud, “Harriet”) for joining me on the livestream last week. His convo had me watching that Hamilton stream in a totally different light! I mean, did you see those cuffs on Jefferson’s coat???

If you missed my chat with Paul, go over and watch the replay and learn about Paul’s process to designing some of the most intricate costumes . . . it’s how it’s all in those details!

And tonight, we’ve got a little ol’ A-list Director switcheroo!

Bart Sher had a last-minute scheduling conflict, so we’re working on getting him rescheduled for later in the summer/early fall.

In the meantime, my good buddy JOHN RANDO from Gettin’ The Band Back Together and the Tony Award-winning Director of Urinetown, as well as the Director of the new musical, Back To The Future (expect me to ask lots of questions about that), will join us for a convo about what he’s been up to since the pandemic began.

Also, joining us on the livestream tonight is a very special guest: Michael Merritt, an emerging TheaterMaker and a nurse, who spent the apex of the pandemic on the front lines at an NYC hospital!

I’ve invited him to be our special guest tonight to talk about how the experience impacted him and how it’s affecting his future, both as a nurse and as a TheaterMaker.

Set your reminder for tonight’s episode here.

 

And look who’s joining me over the next few weeks . . .

Thursday, July 9th – Altar Boyz Reunion *****  (Added livestream this week! Note the day!)

Tuesday, July 14th – Tara Rubin (Casting Director – SIX, Sing Street, Ain’t Too Proud, Dear Evan Hansen)

Thursday, July 16th – Sammi Cannold LIVE – Quarantined in Korea!!! (Director – New York City Center’s Evita, Ragtime on Ellis Island)

Tuesday, July 21st – Steven Pasquale (Actor – American Son, Bridges of Madison County)

Tuesday, July 28th – Danny Burstein (Actor – Moulin Rouge, My Fair Lady, Fiddler on the Roof)

Tuesday, August 4th – Norm Lewis (Actor – Phantom of The Opera, Porgy and Bess, Les Miserables)

Tuesday, August 11th – John Cariani (Actor/Playwright – Something Rotten; Caroline or Change; Almost, Maine)

 

You can catch me every TUESDAY at 8pm EDT (7pm CDT/ 6pm MDT/ 5pm PDT) on my Facebook, on my Twitter, on Broadway Podcast Network’s Youtube Channel, and on Broadway on Demand.

To learn more about our guests and the organizations for which we are raising money, visit www.TheProducersPerspective.com/LIVE.

Tonight on the Livestream: Tony Award-winning Costume Designer Paul Tazewell

If you missed the livestream last week, then you missed me sitting down with the #Fearless Mandy Gonzalez. Make sure you go back and catch the replay of that episode to receive a heavy dose of inspiration and motivation from the star of Hamilton, In The Heights and more (and find out what song she’d sing if she could only sing one song every single day!).

And tonight, in honor of Hamilton premiering on Disney+ later this week, I am sitting down with Costume Designer Paul Tazewell (our 60th guest!). Paul is the Tony Award-winning designer of your favorite shows — Hamilton, In The Heights, Ain’t Too Proud, Memphis, and more! 

Costume Design is one of the things about theater-making that I know the LEAST about, so I’m excited to learn how Paul helps tell stories with his art.

Sit down with me and Paul (virtually!) tonight at 8pm EDT. To watch the episode, hit the get reminder button here.

 

And look who’s joining me over the next few weeks . . .

Tuesday, July 7th – Bartlett Sher (Director – My Fair Lady, To Kill A Mockingbird, The King & I) with special guest Michael Merritt

Thursday, July 9th – Altar Boyz Reunion

Tuesday, July 14th – Tara Rubin (Casting Director – SIX, Sing Street, Ain’t Too Proud, Dear Evan Hansen)

Tuesday, July 21st – Steven Pasquale (Actor – American Son, Bridges of Madison County)

Tuesday, July 28th – Danny Burstein (Actor – Moulin Rouge, My Fair Lady, Fiddler on the Roof)

Tuesday, August 4th – Norm Lewis (Actor – Phantom of The Opera, Porgy and Bess, Les Miserables)

Tuesday, August 11th – John Cariani (Actor/Playwright – Something Rotten; Caroline, or Change; Almost, Maine)

Tuesday, August 18th – Brian Stokes Mitchell (The Actors Fund Chairman, Actor – Shuffle Along, Women on the Verge of Nervous Breakdown, Ragtime)

 

You can catch me every TUESDAY at 8pm EDT (7pm CDT/ 6pm MDT/ 5pm PDT) on my Facebook, on my Twitter, on Broadway Podcast Network’s Youtube Channel, and on Broadway on Demand.

To learn more about our guests and the organizations for which we are raising money, visit www.TheProducersPerspective.com/LIVE.

[Announcement] The Dr. Kenny Encouragement Fund Scholarship For TheaterMakers

On March 22nd of this year, just a few months after moving into the city to be closer to me and his granddaughter, my Dad, Dr. Kenny Hasija, had a stroke. And as the sun was coming up on Easter morning, he passed.

It has been an interesting time to deal with this loss to say the least, because my Dad was my coach, my cheerleader, my chief strategist, and my friend. Because boy oh boy, could I have used his caring counsel over the past few months.

And as the corona-crisis continues, I am going to miss having him around over the next several months to do what he did so well, and encourage me to keep on keepin’ on.

My dad has been encouraging me since my earliest memory of him. He urged me to learn more, to try more, to speak up more, to fail more, to fight more, to love more . . . and he sacrificed more than he ever let on to make sure I could take every opportunity I had.

Put it this way . . . how many immigrant Indian Doctors do you know who would say, “Go for it,” when their son said he wanted to give up on law school and pursue a life in the theater???

(He didn’t even blink, by the way.)

His encouragement kept me going then . . . and as I vowed to him in his final few days, I will always keep going.

I also vowed to do everything I could to pass on that spirit of encouragement to my daughter, and to anyone else I met who had a passion for the theater.

So, I started a simple scholarship in his name . . . called The “Dr. Kenny” (as he liked to be called) Encouragement Fund.

I was planning on issuing just one $1,000 gift to someone attending school in the fall and pursuing a career in the theater industry. But after I wrote my blog on Wednesday about the number of artists who may already be out of school but struggling to stay in the city to pursue their dreams, I decided to offer two:

  1.  $1,000 to someone enrolled in or going to post-secondary school.
  2.  $1,000 to any TheaterMaker out there pursuing a career in the business.

If you would like to apply for these scholarships or know someone who would, please click here or share this blog.

Because as I’ve learned from being on the juries for other scholarships, it’s actually hard to get the word out to the folks who could use these funds the most. So please, share this sucker around so we can help encourage folks to keep making theater.

Because we’re going to need TheaterMakers more than ever when this is all over.

I’m hoping to continue this scholarship every year, and I’m hoping that it grows, and that my father’s encouragement to me from above can help me add some zeroes to these amounts.  (If you want to help and join some of my family and my father’s friends who are committed to encouraging others, and learn a bit more about my dad, click here.)

To be honest, I even thought about waiting to start this scholarship until I got that big fat hit I will have someday and I could give more.

But then, on Father’s Day this year, I remembered some of the encouraging advice that my Dad gave me years ago.

“Just start, Kenneth. Begin. A seed can’t grow until it is planted.”

I hope that my Dad’s advice and this gift can help encourage some of you.

To apply, click here.

 

One of the (many) things that worry me most about the Broadway shutdown.

I’ve gotta add one more to the list.

Yesterday, we revealed the top 3 things that are keeping TheaterMakers up at night. And I wasn’t shocked to see that your top 3 were the exact same as my top 3. (See those three things and how we’re going to start talking about how to address them here.)

But there’s something else that has me concerned that I have to add to the ever-growing pile of anxiety-producing issues we’re facing during the Broadway shutdown.

What’s going to happen to our workforce?

I’ll tell you what could happen. We could lose the very bright and creative personnel who we’re counting on to take Broadway to new heights.

The NY Times shared some of my nerve-iness in this article, where the writer talked about how so many NYC residents, especially the younger folks, fled NYC at the beginning the pandemic. And a huge subset of that group was from our very own arts and entertainment industry, since we laid off 78% of our workforce. 

And that doesn’t even count those who consider themselves part of our industry . . . actors, directors, writers, etc. . . who didn’t have a job at that time to be laid off from. (Even super successful artists aren’t employed from time to time, not to mention those waiting for their big breaks.)

So my concern is . . . not will these folks want to return, but will they be able to return?

With it becoming painfully clear that Broadway won’t be back until some time in (crossing fingers) early 2021, and development (readings, workshops, etc.) still in limbo, so many of our theatrical workforce could be out of work for up to a year.

And, as we get closer to the end of the unemployment stimulus package that put an extra $600 in so many people’s paychecks (it ends in July), the ability for these folks to make ends meet is going to be seriously challenged.

Oh, and it’s important to note that when I say workforce, I don’t only mean the Actors, Directors, Stagehands, Musicians, and more who make their living when the spotlights are on.

But what about those people who work in the offices who help keep those lights on?

For example, I was on a Zoom call last week with a bunch of marketing folks, many of whom were millennials.  These are the very groups that I’d usually predict would be the future of advertising and marketing on Broadway.

Now, I’m just praying that we can keep them around.

These doing-it-for-the-passion-not-the-pension peeps, along with the others who manage our shows, book our shows, agent our artists, etc. are not only going to need to find another way to make-a-living, but they are going to be offered other opportunities from industries that are able to get back to full speed, while we sit in neutral.

We have smart, bright, multi-talented people on and off the stage, and they’re going to be tempted to go.

We are going to lose some, no doubt. In fact, we already have. I’ve heard many a story about actors asking to be released from contracts at shows that were coming back. And some admin folks taking this opportunity to go work in the family business, etc.

And @#$% me . . . but I’ve had to lay off people at my own company, which is like sticking needles under your fingernails to an entrepreneur.

Ironically, now is the time when we need these folks the most. And I have even more concerns for the people of color in our industry. Now is the time when we must find MORE opportunities for them . . . at a time industry is constricting.

So what can we do in the short term to make sure our industry doesn’t lose the very people we need to build the new Broadway?

Here are a few thoughts:

  • Call your congresspeople and tell them to support the theater industry in any and all stimulus packages.
  • Donate to the Actors Fund which helps anyone in the theater industry weather difficult times.
  • Donate to the Dramatists Guild Foundation which helps writers specifically.
  • We must figure out how to safely get readings going again. Not immediately, of course, but if NYC can enter Stage III, there has to be a way to make socially distanced development work.
  • If you’ve got any reason to hire anyone here in the NYC area (or even for an online opportunity). . . hire a theater person.  (Oh, and have you seen all the theater people on Cameo?  This is a GREAT way to support them and super fun.)

An industry is only as strong as the people in it. And there is no doubt we’re going to have some attrition during this upcoming year. But we must do everything we can to limit our losses. We’ve got an opportunity to build a new Broadway. We just need the artistic and administrative minds to do it.

Are you a TheaterMaker (Artist or Admin) who has decided or is thinking about leaving the business because of shutdown?  Email me at ken@theproducersperspective.com. I want to hear your story . . . and I have a feeling others do too.

 

 

 

 

[Update] What You Told Us Were Your Top 3 Concerns About TheaterMaking.

A few blogs ago I announced that we’d be taking our Fall conference virtual this year and asked you for a favor – to tell us what two burning questions you had about creating theater in the new world.

We got hundreds and hundreds of very passionate responses (I’m not surprised).  And there were three subjects that were far and away the most important to you TheaterMakers out there right now.

And I was also not surprised to see what they were.

Can you guess?

(I’ll wait while you do . . . go on, guess, and then scroll down.)

– – – – –

– – – – –

– – – – –

– – – – –

– – – – –

– – – – –

– – – – –

– – – – –

The three issues about TheaterMaking in the new world that are top of your mind are:

1. SAFETY. How can we ensure the safety of audiences, actors, and creators going back into theaters?

2. EQUALITY. How do we raise the voices of people of color and other underrepresented minorities not only on stage, but behind the table and in the offices where decisions are made?

3. STREAMING. How can we create a sustainable business model to be able to stream shows worldwide?

 

How’d you do?  Guess them all?

I can’t thank you enough for filling out that survey and for helping us understand what is on your minds so we can make sure that we curate our conference accordingly and feature these three issues (and many more) in our content line-up.

But it was also clear to me from the overwhelming majority of people who mentioned the three subjects above that we shouldn’t wait until November to start conversations about these important issues now.

So, I asked my staffers at The TheaterMakers Studio to develop a 3-part video interview series with an expert on each of the subjects above.

If you’d like access to this special (and free) video series, click here to sign up.

The videos will be released starting on July 7th and will only be available to those who request access – because I don’t want to send you more emails than we already do.  🙂

I look forward to jumpstarting these conversations now, so we can jumpstart the action to improve TheaterMaking for all of us.

Sign up here.

 

Ken Davenport
Ken Davenport

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer

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

Never miss a post or podcast again. Subscribe to the blog and stay in the know.

Free Production Team Database
The TheaterMakers Studio
Featured Product
Be A Broadway Star
Featured Book
Broadway Investing 101
All Upcoming Events

july, 2020

08jul12:00 pm1:00 pmTMS Coaching Call with Valerie Novakoff

15jul4:00 pm6:00 pmJuly Producer Pitch Night (Virtual)

20jul8:00 pm9:00 pmTMS Coaching Call with Eric C. Webb

Featured Webinar
Path to Production Webinar
Advertisement
X