Unlike Hollywood, we DON’T do it this way.

Some say Broadway and Hollywood are sister industries.

Eh.

Stepsisters with the same hair color that often get confused for real sisters, maybe.  But I’m not so sure we’re related by blood.

One of the primary differences between the two sort-of-siblings is how things get purchased (aka produced.)

I was reminded of this the other day when I was talking to a Hollywood screenwriter of mine. I caught her on the phone while she was celebrating the sale of a pilot.

“Wow,” I said. “How did that happen?”

“What do you mean, Ken? I went into a meeting.  I pitched the idea. They’re paying me for it.”

That’s right. She sold it on a pitch. And lots of folks in Hollywood have similar stories.

Now, imagine going into a Broadway Producer’s office and pitching a play or musical . . . and someone buying it right there!

It doesn’t happen.

Because on Broadway as opposed to Hollywood, we don’t buy on pitches.

So what does that mean for you if you’re a TheaterMaker looking to get produced?

First, remember that when you make a pitch, no one is going to produce your show based on only that pitch. Remove that possibility and you’ll remove some of the stress about it.

Your goal at a pitch meeting is to get the Producer impressed about the idea, and more importantly, impressed with YOU. Your goal is only to get them to want to read your script or attend a reading when something is on its feet.

This is the same advice I gave when I spoke to a group of actors a few weeks ago. Don’t go to the first audition trying to get the part. Get the callback first. THEN we’ll figure out how you can get the part.

Second, and related . . . if we don’t buy on pitches, how does Broadway “buy”?

Well, it’s baked into the above, but the truth is . . .

Broadway doesn’t buy on pitches.  Sometimes we buy on pages. But more often than not, we buy on what we see PERFORMED.

That’s right . . . the fastest way to get someone like me to produce your show is to get it up. In some way shape or form.

It doesn’t have to be a full production.  It doesn’t even have to be a reading. Tony Winners Pasek and Paul got their first show on by putting songs on YouTube.  Pulitzer Prize finalist Lisa Kron wrote and starred in short plays of her own. Lin-Manuel was performing in the basement at the Drama Book Shop (which he now OWNS).

If you want to get produced, yes, prepare your pitch. And yes, perfect your pages.

But figure out how you can get show your show performed.

(Oh, and before you run to Hollywood because you want to sell some stuff just based on your idea, let me break it to you . . . sure, they buy stuff on pitches, but there is no guarantee they’ll ever make it.)

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10 Inspiring Books By TheaterMakers To Read Right Now (And how to win them all!)

So, who doesn’t need a little inspirational pick-up right now?

And who better than to inspire you than some of the most successful TheaterMakers?

Below is a list of 10 Inspiring Books written by your favorite TheaterMakers, that will help inspire, entertain and educate . . . at the same time. 

And get this – we’re going to give away ALL TEN to one lucky person!  Keep reading, and at the end of the list, I’ll explain how.

I hope you’ll support the incredible hard of these TheaterMakers by picking up a copy.  Or two (I like to buy two copies of books – one for myself and one to give to someone who I know would enjoy it.)

  1. Take You Wherever You Go  by Kenny Leon
  2. A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stage by Kristen Chenoweth
  3. Born Standing Up by Steve Martin
  4. Failing Up: How to Take Risks, Aim Higher, and Never Stop Learning by Leslie Odom Jr.
  5. Fearless by Mandy Gonzalez
  6. The Chance to Fly by Ali Stroker
  7. Too Much Is Not Enough: A Memoir of Fumbling Toward Adulthood by Andrew Rannells
  8. They Called Us Enemy by George Takei
  9. Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You by Lin-Manuel Miranda
  10. The Backstagers and The Ghostlight by Andy Mientus

 

Ok, to win this basket of books, here’s what to do!

  • Head over to my Instagram post about the books.
  • SHARE this post to your story and TAG me @kendavenportbway.
  • I will BUY all 10 of these books for the winner (to be announced tomorrow on my Instagram).

 

Good luck and happy reading!!!

 

UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to Anne-Lise Koyabe for winning this collection of books by these incredible theatermakers.

 

April 16, 2021: What TheaterMakers Are Talking About This Week

From the announcement of the first show to open in NYC to top theatres acting to root out ‘system failure’ of racism to Lin Manuel Miranda and Mayor DiBlasio opening up a vaccination center in Times Square. . . here’s what TheaterMakers were talking about this week . . .

 

1 – PERFECT CRIME to Reopen as First Show with Equity-Approved Cast in New York

It has been officially approved and announced by the Actors’ Equity Association that Perfect Crime will reopen. The show is set to open beginning April 17th and will be the first show to open with an Equity-approved cast in New York City.

Read more: broadwayworld.com

 

2 – ‘The heat is on’: top theatres act to root out ‘system failure’ of racism

“The Young Vic and Royal Court theatres have entered into a process that aims to root out systemic racism from their venues. Both London institutions have signed a partnership with the social enterprise Sour Lemons that will interrogate the internal structures that uphold institutional racism, raise awareness and accountability, and listen to staff’s experiences of racism inside the buildings.”

Read more: theguardian.com

 

3 – ‘Bridgerton The Musical’ TikTok Creators Abigail Barlow & Emily Bear Sign With CAA

Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, creators of the viral TikTok smash Bridgerton The Musical, have signed with CAA and Kraft-Engel Management.” The duo first came into the spotlight because of their viral Bridgerton-inspired number in January. They’ve been documenting the journey on TikTok, with their songs and performances reaching more than 165 million views with fans all over the world.

Read More: deadline.com

 

4 – T. Fellowship to be renamed in honor of Hal Prince

The T. Fellowship has been renamed the Prince Fellowship in honor of its founder, the late Hal Prince. The 2021 Prince Fellowship, which will open up applications at the end of April, will run from September 2021 through August 2022. 

Read more: broadwaynews.com

 

5 – Lin-Manuel Miranda, de Blasio open Broadway vaccination site in Times Square

A vaccination center was opened on Monday in Times Square for all Broadway workers. Appointments will be reserved for the community of theatermakers living in NY and working on Broadway. The center will be staffed by fellow community members, including “Wicked” company manager Susan Sampliner.  

Read More: broadwaynews.com

 

Fun on a Friday: The Late Show spoofed Hamilton with a ‘My Shot’ vaccine parody

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3 Reasons Why Crowdfunding Did NOT Take Off on Broadway

It has been 10 years (!) since I crowdfunded Godspell. It remains one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done in this business.
It took two years to put together. It took three law firms. I had to pass a securities exam. Oh, and let me tell you when this SEC slaps your wrist in the midst of your offering, you lose some sleep.
But, like most difficult things, it was also one of the best things I ever did for my business. And my life.
Not only did we fund the production, and help launch the careers of some superstars, but I’m also still friends with many of “People of Godspell”, which is what we called our Producers and Investors (we had over 730 of them!).
We created a family. And it still exists. (That’s pretty common with Godspell, actually, as anyone in it can attest.)
After we successfully crowdfunded the show, using an old regulation called a “Reg A,” Congress passed The Jobs Act . . . which made it MUCH easier for businesses to crowdfund. (Bad timing on my part!)
Everyone predicted an explosion of this type of microfinancing in all industries . . . Broadway and Off-Broadway included.
And it didn’t happen.
I don’t know of ONE Broadway or Off-Broadway production to utilize the new “Regulation CF” since it was passed.
Why?
There are three reasons why.
1. The max money you can raise
Regulation CF was designed for small businesses, so there’s a $5mm cap on how much you can raise. That immediately knocks out 99% of Broadway musicals, leaving only Broadway plays.
Now, ALL Off-Broadway shows are (or should be) well under $5mm. So, this regulation should be in “play” for any commercial producer looking to crowdfund an Off-Broadway show. Still, I don’t know of anyone who has done it. Yet. See below for why.
2. It ain’t cheap to raise small amounts of money.
In our business, there are a limited # of vendors in each area of expertise. There are 3-4 advertising agencies. 2-3 accounting firms. And there are more, but still a limited number of lawyers.
And our lawyers don’t specialize in this . . . which means you’ll need to hire another attorney who does. And that adds to your budget. And smaller businesses don’t want to add to a budget that they were concerned about raising in the first place.
3. You have to work even harder to raise less money.
I remember a consulting session I had once with a writer who launched a Kickstarter campaign. He wondered why he hadn’t raised all this money in the first five days. When I asked him what he had (added) done to promote it, he said, “Nothing. Don’t people just find it in Kickstarter?”
Like anything, just because you build it, doesn’t mean ANYONE will come. You have to spread the word about your offering. And when you’re raising small amounts of money at a time, you have to spread the word every further. We spent a ton of time and money marketing the Godspell offering. That, plus the press we get (that’s where the SEC got saucy), plus my own network, is what led to a successful raise.
Most people don’t want to work that hard. Because it’s true, it IS easier to raise bigger money from fewer people. (That’s why the point of crowdfunding shouldn’t be to raise the money – it should be to raise a marketing army – because all those investors with skin in the game, will shout your show’s name from their e-rooftops!)
(By the way – I gave Kickstarter guys some marketing nuggets and the good news is – he reached his total with three days to spare.)
Wait. Was that three reasons already? But I’m not done. So here’s a BONUS reason why crowdfunding hasn’t taken off on or Off-Broadway.
4. Producers think it makes them look desperate.

This is the one that we need to get over. By not allowing the small investor to participate in the making of theater, we’re ignoring a huge portion of the theatergoing population. Small donors are what got Barack Obama elected. Small investors are what brought down giant hedge funds with the GameStop saga.

And by embracing small investors, whether through crowdfunding or by Producers dividing up $50,000 units into more reasonable numbers, we could launch more new shows, more new voices . . . and market them as well.
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If you’re looking for tips on crowdfunding, check out our 8 Tips for a Kick A$$ Kickstarter here, or get my book on How To Raise Money For The Arts Or For Anything.

April 9, 2021: What TheaterMakers Are Talking About This Week

From Actors’ Equity releasing new protocols for fully vaccinated productions to the first performance in a Broadway theater since March 2020, here’s what TheaterMakers were talking about this week . . . 

 

1 – Broadway Reopened. For 36 Minutes. It’s a Start.

This event showcased the dancer Savion Glover and the actor Nathan Lane, where they performed before a masked audience of 150 scattered across one of the biggest Broadway Theaters, St. James. This event was the first such experiment since the coronavirus pandemic caused to close on March 12, 2020. It’s the first step home — the first of many,” said Jordan Roth. “This is not, ‘Broadway’s back!’ This is ‘Broadway is coming back!’ And we know it can because of this.”

Read more: nytimes.com

 

2 – Wear a Mask, Avoid Intermission: Lessons from the Covid Think Tank Town Hall 

The rapid rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine has increased new and improved ideas and optimism about indoor theater swiftly reopening in the U.S. In addition to the vaccine, testing, enhanced theater ventilation, and continued mask-wearing is also the key to gradually restarting the industry. Their plan for reopening? “Plan now,” Dr. Smith said. “Even if you don’t have a go-live date…There are so many layers. There’s a lot to think about and to talk about.”

Read More: broadwayjournal.com

 

3 – COVID Passports: Entertainment venues air concerns over plans

The government has said Covid-status certificates could be used at theatres, nightclubs, and festivals starting in June. They could be used to prove vaccination or testing. They will be trialing this at events at venues in Liverpool, as well as sporting events. 

Read more: bbc.com 

 

4 – Actors’ Equity releases new safety protocols for vaccinated productions

The new guidelines come after the backlash from the community about previous protocols. Absent from these protocols are the requirements of private transportation to and from theaters, as well as the need for Plexiglas and 12 feet of distance on stage. Those regulations are still included in documents for indoor theater productions without a fully vaccinated workforce.

Read More: broadwaynews.com

 

5 – Neil Diamond Bio-Musical Sets Sights on Broadway

A Beautiful Noise is set to run for four weeks at the Emerson Colonial Theater Boston in 2022, the show’s producers, Ken Davenport and Bob Gaudio announced on Tuesday. They plan to bring the production to Broadway following that run.

Read more: nytimes.com

 

FUN ON A FRIDAY! Josh Groban’s New Song

Bush’s Beans and Josh Groban teamed up to give the bean the ballad it deserves.

 

 

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