My 5 Friday Finds: A sneak peek at a puppet and more.

Here are five things that fancied me this week:

  1. Why have one mentor when you can have a tribe. Tim Ferris shook up the productivity world with his Four Hour Work Week and then he went on a podcast tear, talking to everyone from Schwarzenegger to Jamie Foxx to Tony Robbins.

Then, smart biz guy that he is . . . he took key excerpts from all of those interviews and put them in a book called Tribe of Mentors. Yep, he just repurposed his own content. No additional work, but yet it’s super valuable. One sits on my desk. I read a new excerpt a day (they’re a few pages) and learn something new.

  1. The stock market sucked this week. I’m reminded of this Warren Buffet quote:  “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.”
  2. The next Bedlam.

Downtown theater company, Wheelhouse, has been making waves over the past few years and is taking their NY Times Critic’s Pick, Kurt Vonnegut’s Happy Birthday Wanda June, uptown to the Duke starting 10/18. Disclaimer, I’m on the Advisory Board. But there’s a reason. I think they are the next Bedlam.

  1. Speaking of Bed . . . Have you tried the “Bedtime” feature on your iPhone? It’s better than an alarm because it doesn’t just tell you when to get up, it tells you when to go to bed (but nicer than your mom). It got me more sleep this week, which allows me to get more work done, which . . .
  2. Maybe I’m not supposed to say this . . . But the Producers of King Kong invited industry folks to a special behind the curtain, sneak peek of Kong himself this week. That’s right, we get an up close and personal view of the puppet, the thing we’re all curious about. So smart. Taking people behind the ropes, where other people can’t go, is a great way to get them on your side.

My 5 Friday Finds: Percentages Mean Nothing No More.

Happy long weekend for some of you, and enjoy these five finds from the week on Broadway and beyond:

  1. TKTS lists actual prices instead of just percentages.

blogged about this when it was announced, but it went into ‘play’ this week. The TKTS booth, which added 40%, 30% and 20% to its discounts years ago, now will just list actual prices. So no longer will a $100 ticket at 50% off look like the same price as a $50 ticket at 50% off.  This could be one of the biggest changes to the strategy of how Producers price at the booth, as well as how Producers price their full price (it’s common that we often price full price tickets thinking how much we’ll get at half-price) since the opening of the booth itself. (In other TKTS news, the Brooklyn location closed recently due to . . . what else . . . low sales.)

  1. Wicked in concert but on TV.

In another sign of Broadway’s growing footprint on pop culture, NBC agreed to air a special Wicked concert (shot at The Marquis Theater) to air on 10/29 featuring Idina Menzel, Kristen Chenoweth, and superstars such as Ariana Grande (future Elphaba anyone?).

  1. Originals, originals, everywhere.

Netflix started off as a way for you to “rent” movies without going to the local Blockbuster. Now, they invest heavily in originals. Amazon started off as a way for you to buy books, then movies and TV shows . . . now they make ’em. And now Audible (an Amazon company) is on the same strategy train. They recently announced that they’re going to give away original programming with a monthly subscription. What does this say? Content is still king . . . and the success of any business, big or small, is making @#$%. So go out and make something today.

  1. The Measure App on the iPhone.

If you updated your iPhone recently, you probably have seen the new Measure app . . . which is a digital tape measure. Amazing, right? Not if you make tape measures. Seriously. A company like Stanley Tools will see a reduction in sales because of this app. Just like that, something that has probably been a foundational form of revenue will slip away slowly. It’s a great reminder that all businesses can be disrupted . . . so keep innovating.

  1. King Kong starts previews.

The biggest and most expensive musical since Spider-Man starts previews TONIGHT. You know what?  I can’t wait to see it. Whenever you build someone that’s the “biggest,” people are going to want to go.

Wishing you all a great weekend, and hoping it includes lots of theater.

My 5 Friday Finds: Indie Streaming, Something for Actors, and more.

TGIF, y’all, and welcome to my weekly wrap up, when I let you know about five things that caught my eye during the last five days.

1. Streaming goes independent.

Composer/Lyricist Paul Gordon, who wrote Daddy Long Legs (which was the first Broadway or Off-Broadway show to be live-streamed) has taken streaming into his own hands and formed a company called Streaming Musicals to do just that.

And right now you can catch his beautiful production of Emma online for less than the cost of a movie.

What has me interested in this model is that Emma has never played NYC. Yet something like Streaming Musicals could give it the same type of exposure, if not more. Paul could be on to a whole new world of debuting musicals to audiences, theaters around the country, and more.

2.  Need to get to a celeb?

Gatekeepers abound in this business, which is why this little tool comes in handy for tracking down agents, managers, lawyers, and even some direct contacts. Check out the aptly named if you want to make sure a star gets your offer or invite. I’ve used it. And it works.

3.  A New One Man Show Called The New One

Mike Birbiglia’s first show, Sleepwalk with Me, played Off Broadway. His new show, The New Onewill play ON Broadway. That’s not just because Mike is a bigger name now, who can sell out a run Off-Broadway on the announcement,  sell books, and star in TV shows.

It’s because Mike’s audience is easier to find with modern marketing methods, and as the Hello Again guys proved a couple of years ago, these half stand up/half theater pieces can make money and make it fast.

Expect more of ’em. And go see The New One. I saw a reading and was laughing out loud. At a reading.

4.  Required Reading for Non-Musical Actors Who Want To Do Musicals

Andrew Gerle music directed the first reading I ever did in this city. And what he did with those actors and the arrangements amazed me.

He’s written a musical fundamentals book for Actors that I wish I had when I was singing and dancing. Because I’m sure I would have done it a bit better.

5.  The Ford-Kavanaugh Crisis Made Me Think . . .

Of course, it made me think a lot of things, but the one positive takeaway I had was . . . is there anything more gripping than a courtroom drama? Aren’t we ready for a new one on Broadway?

Or is someone out there prepping Oleanna for a revival?

My 5 Friday Finds: Learning from the Masters (and you won’t believe what they say).

Hello folks! Another Friday is upon us, which means 5 more finds from the theater and beyond you may have missed or that I think you should check out.

Here are my faves:

  1.  Did you see that proposal on The Emmys?

Everyone was talking/tweeting about Glenn Weiss’s surprise proposal to his girlfriend Jan Svendsen on this year’s Emmys. You may know that Glenn is the Producer of the Tony Awards. What you may not know is that Jan was the Marketing Director at The Broadway League for years. The industry gave them a huge standing ovation.

  1. David Mamet is teaching me how to write.

Online education is blowing up. In fact, there’s a theory that the cost of a college education may come DOWN in 20 years (!) when more and more people decide they don’t need to pay $130k a year when they can get so much info online. (That $130k is the real expected cost of Harvard in 2036, by the way – can you tell I have a newborn?)

In the meantime, there’s a ton of stuff out there for theater lovers. I’m loving I’ve taken the Aaron Sorkin class, and am currently on David Mamet’s. And get this, not only does David school you on the rules of Drama and how not to @#$% them up, but in episode 2 he comments on the Mike Pence/Hamilton controversy! It was worth it for that.

  1. Dim ’em all for Marin.

If you didn’t hear the tragic news, Marin Mazzie passed away this past week at the tender age of 57.

I worked with Marin on the original company of Ragtime and with her husband-to-be (at the time) on Candide, and let out an audible gasp when I heard the news while at an ad meeting.

They were going to dim just the lights of the marquees at the theaters where Marin worked, but after a social media revolt, all the lights went off yesterday to honor this incredible talent and incredible person.

  1. My New Flowers

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for unique “congrats” gifts to send folks instead of the usual flowers or chocolates.

SendABall is a great one. But if you’re looking for food, a neighbor turned me on to the best cookies I’ve binged on in a long time. Check these bad boys out (go for the almond shortcake).

  1. One of our last theaters goes bye-bye.

I was working for Garth Drabinsky when he announced he was buying the Times Square Theater. And then he went bankrupt. And went to jail.

Now, one of our last theaters that could be renovated is going to be a retail space. Boo.

Where’s Garth when we need him?!?

Next week? 5 More Finds. And if you like these, or have an idea for one (a show, a life hack, an app or whatever), please share ’em.

My 5 Friday Finds: Willy Wonka ain’t got nothing on this.

Thanks for all the great feedback on my first Friday Finds blog from last week. I’ll keep ’em coming!

Here are the five things I found fascinating this week.

  1.  Candytopia

Part exhibit, part art installation, part giant merchandising extravaganza, this event is one of the hottest (sweetest?) tickets in town. And they can do more than 8 shows a week. The “exhibit” market is a huge one these days. Hamilton is even getting in the game. What’s next? (I bet you can come up with an idea.)

  1. Press Agents Know All The Gossip

My very first press agent was the one I called to find out anything about everything and everyone. This week, story-spinner and veteran wag, Susan L. Schulman, published her 2nd Volume of Backstage Pass to Broadway: True Tales From A Press Agent. Find out what a PA does and read lots of good dish here.

  1. A Guide to Theater Etiquette

Candy wrappers, kids, cell phones and more are covered in this read from Time Out New York. Not sure I agree with everything, but it made a fun read as it has the usual snobby snark I associate with Time Out.

  1. The Band’s Visit Recoups!

If Vegas bookies took bets on TBV recouping its $8.5mm capitalization two years ago, they would have lost their shirts on paying out those long odds. But recoup it did, proving that once again there are no sure things and there are no non-sure things. And its success furthers my belief that we’re in the independent theatre era.

  1. Table Top Shakespeare?

Forced Entertainment brought their unique “Complete Works: Table Top Shakespeare” to the Skirball Center this week, capturing my eye for two reasons. One, they’ve taken Bill’s classic plays and condensed them, giving us more content in less time (sounds like watching YouTube videos, doesn’t it? See where I’m going?) and two, they put the audience onstage. How many shows will have audiences in actual theater seats twenty years from now? (Table Top performs through Monday if you want to check it out. More here.)


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