Tonight on the Livestream: Broadway Veteran and Change Agent, Asmeret Ghebremichael

We are back, people!

Tonight, we kick off the new weekly format of The Producer’s Perspective LIVE! with my friend and uber-talented theatermaker, Asmeret Ghebremichael. For the last 20 years, Asmeret has been performing in shows on Broadway like Legally Blonde, Wicked, Elf, SpamalotThe Book of Mormon (on Broadway and in The West End), and more. (I first became aware of her super skills in the late-night improv hit, Don’t Quit Your Night Job.)

I’ve even been lucky enough to have her in a few readings of mine over the years.  And I’ve always known she has a fantastic voice.

But in the last few weeks, she has used that voice to sing out some of the most authentic, emotional, and important thoughts about the issues facing Black people and Black performers.

Click here to watch her Instagram Live interview with Josh Gad, and click here to read her opinion piece for Broadway News titled, Opinion: I’m tired of being the token Black friend.”

Tonight at 8pm EDT, she and I will talk about how she got to Broadway, what it was like when she got here, and what she sees for the future.

And this week, all proceeds will benefit the Broadway Advocacy Coalition.

So click here to join us TONIGHT at 8pm EDT!

And look who is joining us over the next few weeks! (Stay tuned for the Altar Boyz reunion, which will get sandwiched in between the super gets below soon!)

Tuesday, June 23rd – Mandy Gonzalez (Actor – Hamilton, In The Heights)

Tuesday, June 30th – TBD

Tuesday, July 7th – TBD

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

Tuesday, July 21st – Brian Stokes Mitchell (The Actors Fund Chairman, Actor – Shuffle Along, Women on the Verge of Nervous Breakdown, Ragtime)

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

 

You can catch me and a Broadway superstar 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, visit www.TheProducersPerspective.com/LIVE.

[Guest Blog] What We Can Learn From Korean Theatre on Theater Safety

There is an upside to opening up last.

As I wrote here, Broadway is actually in the enviable position of getting to watch what theater companies, sports franchises, and other mass gathering events are doing to make sure their patrons and company members are safe and comfortable as they open their doors again.

When I started to look around at which theaters to watch in this country, it was no surprise to me that Tom Gabbard, the CEO of the Blumenthal Arts in North Carolina and one of the leading Broadway touring presenters in the country, has been out in front of this issue for both his theaters in Charlotte and our entire industry.

I asked Tom to share his learnings with me and all of you, so you can get an idea of what the theaters outside of the city are planning . . . since I’d bet money that Broadway returns to Charlotte before it returns to New York City.

Take it away, Tom!

 

– – – – – – – – –

Blumenthal Performing Arts manages/presents in 7 venues in Charlotte, as well as producing outdoor events. Many jobs are dependent on the shows and programs we offer, not just arts jobs, but those at restaurants, hotels, and bars.

With the suspension of all our shows, we’re focused on learning any strategies to help us safely re-
activate our venues and put people back to work.

On April 30, The Stage published a piece from producer Richard Jordan with the headline, “We can learn from Korea”. Richard explained that big shows in Seoul, like The Phantom of the Opera, continued to play throughout the crisis. The shows run without social distancing and major reductions in capacity.

Serin Kasif, VP of Production at Really Useful Group, who is on point with Phantom in Seoul, accepted my invitation for a group Zoom call. With only a few days’ notice, 90 peers from New York and the road logged on to learn from her.

She explained that while this is unprecedented for us, it’s not for the Koreans. They’ve been through similar crises before. Government, business and the public have learned to manage through these situations and avoid widespread lockdowns.

Serin explained that every region of Korea is different and requires different responses.
There are many elements to their success in Seoul, but here are my Top 10, all of which we hope to
replicate.

  1. Universal masking. Everyone wears a mask at all times. Exceptions are for those actors playing that day and wind musicians in the pit.
  2. A simple questionnaire completed by ticket-buyers, staff, and cast prior to entering the building each day.
  3. Strict control over backstage access.
  4. Temperature checks in the lobby and stage door.
  5. Medical grade cleaning of the venue twice a week.
  6. Daily disinfectant cleaning of props, backstage hallways, and dressing rooms.
  7. Hand sanitizing stations everywhere.
  8. Limited food and beverage service to avoid lifting your mask.
  9. Fast access to testing for all company members.
  10. Close cooperation with public health officials.

The call confirmed that we indeed had a lot to learn from Korea that could help us reemerge earlier,
safer, and stronger.

Beyond studying and embracing the Seoul model, in North Carolina we created NC Live, a consortium of major theaters, arenas, and amphitheaters to work directly with the state in developing safe, viable plans for our venues.

Our officials have been eager to hear from us. They have encouraged us to submit detailed plans for their review rather than wait for them to tell us what to do.

Even if it’s taking small steps first, like doing small outdoor concerts, it’s important that we find ways to move forward. Our communities have never needed us more.

 


Tom Gabbard has been CEO of Blumenthal Performing Arts since 2003. The Blumenthal’s 110 employees manage six theaters in Charlotte, hosting over 1,000 performances annually, as well as extensive education programs. During his tenure, the Blumenthal became a Top 10 market for touring Broadway shows in North America.

A member of the Board of Governors of the Broadway League, he serves on the Executive and Finance Committees and has been a voter for Broadway’s Tony Awards since 1997.  In 2012 the League awarded him the Samuel J. L’Hommedieu Award for Outstanding Achievement in Presenter Management.

He serves as co-chair of The Jimmy Awards, the National High School Musical Theatre Awards held annually on Broadway.

He has co-produced/invested in several Broadway, Off-Broadway, national tour, and West End productions including for Monty Python’s Spamalot, Thoroughly Modern Millie, La Cage aux Folles, RED, Pippin, Kinky Boots, The Color Purple Revival, Hello Dolly, Dear Evan HansenThe Band’s Visit, Oklahoma!, Hadestown, Moulin Rouge, Ain’t Too Proud, Frost/Nixon, Jagged Little Pill.

Tonight on the Livestream: Broadway Choreographer, Kelly Devine

I’m still riding the wave of positivity after last night’s episode. Big thanks to Mat and Savanna for joining us last night, and for Sierra Boggess for being our ultimate surprise guest!  And of course, I’m grateful to Lisa Kron for coming on and sharing her tips for writing new stories – even sharing her favorite lyrics and lyricists on Broadway. If you missed this jam-packed episode, make sure you check it out.

And don’t forget, you can go back and replay all your favorite episodes here!

Tonight, I’m sitting down with Kelly Devine, Broadway Choreographer who was in the middle of previews for Diana on Broadway when Broadway shutdown. I’m eager to find out what Diana’s creative team is doing with the show during this ‘extended intermission’.

Tune at 8pm EDT tonight to find out what Kelly is working on. And click here to set your e-reminder.

 

To see the full line-up of guests for the next few weeks visit www.theproducersperspective.com/LIVE.

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(If any of you are interested in streaming your concert, workshop, reading . . . or even starting your own livestream series, I highly recommend the platform we’ve been using – StreamYard.  Click here to check them out.)

Tonight on the Livestream: Lisa Kron with Special Guests Mat & Savanna Shaw

Big thanks to Lynn Ahrens for joining me last night. I’m still thinking about the moment when Lynn pranked me . . . LIVE, and in front of everyone! If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, catch the replay here.  (And you’ll also get a master class in lyric writing – Lynn told me how I could become a better lyricist in the next 30 days – curriculum and all!)

And don’t forget, you can go back and replay all your favorite episodes here!

Tonight, I’m sitting down with Playwright and Bookwriter, Lisa Kron (Fun Home, Well), and chatting about writing new works during these challenging times.

And we have a special treat for all of you tonight. I’ll also be sitting down with Daddy-Daughter Duo, Mat and Savanna Shaw. If you watched last Monday’s episode with Mara Isaacs, you’ll recognize these Youtube sensations . . . and as soon as I saw they were Broadway fans, I knew I wanted to get them on the livestream and we made it happen in less than 10 days!

Tune at 8pm EDT tonight and hang out with me, Lisa Kron, and the Shaw’s. And click here to set your e-reminder.

 

To see the full line-up of guests for the next few weeks visit www.theproducersperspective.com/LIVE.

———–

(If any of you are interested in streaming your concert, workshop, reading . . . or even starting your own livestream series, I highly recommend the platform we’ve been using – StreamYard.  Click here to check them out.)

BROADWAY’S RECOVERY PART I: What Will It Look Like?

Since the pandemic began, Economists have been obsessing about how quickly the economy is going to bounce back after this sucker is over (or . . . over “enough.”)

Will we have a “V” shaped recovery?  Or a “U” shaped?  Or my favorite . . . a Nike Swoosh shape?

Since the pandemic began, Broadway Producers (including the one composing this hypothesis right now) have been obsessing about how quickly Broadway is going to bounce back.

My prediction . . .

Broadway is going to bounce back . . . and fast.

What’s unique about our industry is that it doesn’t follow any of the typical shapes of recovery because we went from 100 mph to zero in NO seconds flat.  We were grossing $30 million a week on Broadway alone . . . and then we were zero dollars the next week.  We slammed into a COVID-19 wall.

Even restaurants have take-out options.  Bands that can’t give concerts can sell albums.  Broadway shows?  We got nothing.  (Hint for next time – and there will be a next time, as I’ll talk about next week  –  all shows should be captured for potential streaming opportunities.)

So if I had to give our recovery a shape, I guess it would look something like this . . .

(FYI, I spent about an hour trying to figure out what to call that shape.  I tried everything from “Deformed Bucket Recovery” to “The Fishing Hook Recovery” . . . what would you call it?)

You can see that we had that immediate wall-smacking drop off on 3/12 . . . and of course, an immediate and completely 90% vertical BLAST OFF when(ever) our curtains go back up.

Now, the more interesting part . . . what happens AFTER that straight-into-the-sky return.  Well, you’ll see that I’m not predicting we’re going to start grossing $30mm a week like we were when we shut down.  For one, there will probably be fewer shows, which means less of a gross potential, never mind fewer tourists to see those shows.  (PS – That diagram above is definitely NOT to scale)

So we’re going to start off earning less than when we were.

How much less?

That depends on what I call The Three Ts:

  1. Testing
  2. Treatment
  3. TIME (How many weeks/months do we have from knowing when we can come back to the actual day we come back.)

Nevertheless, I do believe we will see a quick upward trajectory after we return.  (The stock market is having that sort of bounce – and believe it or not, we do tend to follow the dow’s chart, as I showed here.)

But my belief in a quick Broadway bounce back is not some hunch.  I have THREE reasons why I think we’re in store for a quick recovery.

What are they?

I’ll tell you tomorrow in PART II!

– – – – –

(Can’t wait to read PART II?  Want it now?  I already wrote it.  Click here to get it to emailed to you NOW.)









Tonight on the Livestream: I’m sitting down with Lynn Ahrens (Lyricist of Once On This Island, Ragtime, Anastasia) at 8pm EDT. You can now watch on my Facebook pageTwitter, Broadway Podcast Network’s Youtube channel, or Broadway On Demand.

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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