The 50 Most Powerful People on Broadway

Patrick Lee
, a fellow blogger and member of the ITBA, as well as the guy in NYC who sees more theater than anyone I know, published a byline this AM on BroadwaySpace titled, “The 50 Most Powerful People on Broadway.”


Patrick spoke to a bunch of Bway insiders, in order to determine who really is pulling the curtain on The Great White Way.

Click here to read the article.  It’s fascinating!

The old theater mags, like TheaterWeek and InTheater, used to publish lists like these annually.  They were my favorite columns of the year.  It was always fun seeing who had the juice.

But you know what’s even more fun?

Taking a look at the list one year later, and seeing just who rose in the ranks, who fell, who appeared, and who disappeared completely.

Maybe we can get Patrick to do it again next year.

The real stars get stepped on.

I stepped on Big Bird today. And Thomas Edison. And even Pat Sajak (I enjoyed that one).

Yep, while in LA I took a walk down Hollywood Boulevard on the wondrous Walk of Fame. It’s quite a big deal, you know. They have a big to-do when you get your star. And then people take pictures of it (even if they don’t know who you are). And it gets a wikipedia entry.

And it’s brilliant marketing.

Why don’t we have we have a walk of fame? Anyone out there reading that controls that bit of real estate known as Shubert Alley? Or what about down our namesake street itself?

Seems like the perfect place to put down some permanent markers for our biggest stars, no? (We actually have a theater hall of fame, but it’s at the Gershwin Theater, so only the Wicked audiences get to gaze on the names of the inductees).

I know what you’re saying . . . that most people don’t know our stars like they know Hollywood stars, so it wouldn’t be as exciting since we don’t have an “Elvis”.

But that’s my point. By creating a public and permanent honor we are saying to the world, “Hey, these people are significant, so you should pay attention . . . and take pictures”.

You don’t think that people would? Then try this:

Go out into the streets. Stop on the sidewalk and look up . . . at nothing. Soon enough, someone will walk up next to you, stop, and stare straight up in the air wondering what the heck you’re looking at.

You can’t tell your audience to pay attention. You have to do things that demonstrate that your art form deserves attention.

Do that, and your audiences will pay attention . . . and full price.

I was a Cub scout today.

And here’s my merit badge to prove it.


There are two kinds of stars.

One that sells tickets and one that doesn’t.

And believe it or not, the one that doesn’t sell tickets isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Have you ever wondered why a show cast a certain celebrity?  Have you ever said to yourself, “Why on earth would (insert Producer’s name here) cast someone from an 80s TV series when they have no talent?”

Here’s are the two types of stars in our universe:

  1. There’s the type of star who sells a ticket regardless of the show, i.e. Madonna in Meet Me In St. Louis, or Jim Carrey in Barnum (my casting dream).  Obviously the costs associated with this type of star are high, because guess what?  If you know the star is going to sell tickets regardless of the show, then the star’s agent knows it too.
  2. The second type of star is the one that may not sell tickets right away, but one that gets press, and therefore gets the show editorial content which they may not have otherwise received, i.e. Jason Priestly in Falsettos or a Survivor finalist in The Crucible (my casting nightmare).  This type of star is often used in “stunt casting” to help get a show back in the papers.  They are also intended to be the straw that breaks the customer’s back when the customer is deciding whether or not to make a purchase.  They add value to the show because of their name recognition so the customer can run back to Wichita and say they saw a show with “That guy from that show with the zip code.  You know, the old version of the OC.”  These stars are much more cost effective, since they are not in as high of a demand, and because they usually are looking to use Broadway as a booster rocket for their career.

When you see celebrities in shows, try and determine whether or not they are Star #1 or Star #2.

And when you’re doing a show, try to not use one at all.

More Breaking News About Elaine’s Hair!

My apologies to one of my faithful readers who emailed me about my post congratulating Theater Talk for standing up to Elaine Stritch’s demand for payment of her hair expenses.

It turns out that Theater Talk isn’t the only one who refused to pay for Elaine’s hair.

Here’s the scoop:

In 2002, Elaine appeared at  The Drama League Awards.  She requested payment of her hair bill in advance.  They refused.

So, WDED?  (What did Elaine do?)

She protested the “frugality” of the show by showing up in curlers!  

Pictures below provided by my anonymous tipster: