My 5 Friday Finds: Hello Trello

Happy last working Friday of 2018!  (I know we’ve got another Friday to go, but it seems like the entire world is taking off next week, so if you’ve got business to do before the end of the year, I’d pick up that phone!)

  1. Hello to Trello

I love productivity tools.  I love them so much, that sometimes researching them and implementing them gets in the way of my productivity.  🙂

But not this one.

Trello is a like Basecamp but cooler.  It’s a visual way to keep all your projects in front of you on “boards” and “cards.”  And if you collaborate with folks, you can assign tasks and keep track of what everyone is up to.

I’ve got boards for my creative projects, my biz projects, and more.

Takes a beat to set up, but already it’s helping me make sure nothing falls through the cracks, and that I get more done towards my goals.

  1. Are your New Year’s Resolutions set yet?

Setting a good set of resolutions is a science.  Did you know that 80% of resolutions fail by February?

That’s why we’re doing something about it.  Click here to learn more.

  1. Fosse/Verdon

Everyone’s buzzin’ about the next attempt at a TV show about our world, especially since it contains so many Broadway peeps, from Norbert Leo Butz to Laura Osnes to Gettin’ The Band Back Together’s Kelli Barrett.

No release date yet for the FX show, but anything on television that has the word Broadway in it is good for the industry.  #ContentMarketing

  1. Someone at the NY Times actually LIKES jukebox musicals.

Interesting article from a female reviewer about a jukebox musical about a female.  Read here.

  1. Another show goes from Broadway to Off.  And it’s one of mine!

In the tradition of Avenue Q (now closing on April 28th), The Play That Goes Wrong, which I produce, will close on Broadway on January 6th and then REOPEN Off-Broadway at New World Stages on Feb 11th.  See here!

Happy to see this model continue (I blogged about it way back here) and hope it goes all WRONG.

Enjoy the weekend, folks, and your week off as well.  If you’re looking to see a show this coming week, remember, it’s the busiest time of year on Broadway, so get tickets now.  Especially to THIS ONE.

Oh, and fyi, this Blog will be on vacation next week as well, so don’t get all worried if you don’t see a post 🙂

My 5 Friday Finds: A hiring tip that saved me time.

Happy Freezing Friday for those of you in the Northeast!  Here are a few finds to keep you cozy.

  1. A hiring hack.

I recently posted a classified ad looking for a new CFO (although the folks are big investments for small companies, a great CFO should pay for himself/herself and then some . . . so how can you NOT invest in one?).

Knowing I would get a hundred-plus resumes (177 to be exact), I needed a way to weed out some of the folks that didn’t have the attention to detail I needed.

So, in order for a potential candidate to get to the 3rd round, they had to answer 10 questions ranging from what show they saw last, to what software they were proficient in, to whether or not they ever owned their own business.

But it wasn’t the questions that made it easy for me to filter the responses into keep or trash.  In addition to the 10 Q’s, I also asked the candidates to respond to my email by replacing the subject with “CFO – 2nd Round [LAST NAME]”.

You would be AMAZED as to how many people didn’t do that simple task.  The responses fell in three buckets:

1)  People who did it perfectly right.
2)  People who did it half-right.
3)  People who didn’t even pay attention at all.

And not coincidentally, the 1’s were the best qualified . . . and they got interviews.

If you’re looking for a CFO or an intern, try this trick. Saves you OODLES of time.

  1. BroadwayCon is about the Business of Broadway too!

BroadwayCon isn’t just for people who want to dress up like Elphaba.  If you want to learn about the biz of Broadway check out “Industry Day” at this year’s BwayCon on Friday, Jan 11th.  The day is curated by Broadway Thought Leader, Damian Bazadona of Situation Interactive (and my TEDxBroadway co-founder), so expect smart things.  Get tix here.

  1. Avenue Q is only “for now.”

Back in 2008 (!), years before Avenue Q downsized from Broadway to Off, I blogged about the concept.

I just blogged about it.  But it took courageous Producers like Kevin McCollum, Jeffrey Seller, and Robyn Goodman to actually give it a shot.  (Thankfully they allowed us to General Manage it.)

Boy, did their guts pay off.  Q ran longer OFF Broadway than it did on Broadway.

Other shows have tried this move and it didn’t quite work.  Why? Was it because we GM’ed it?  Haha.  I’d like to think that’s part of it.  But I’m going to blog about the three reasons why this worked so well next week.  Sign up to make sure you don’t miss the blog.

In the meantime, get your tickets now.

  1. The Coat.

This year’s in-demand Christmas gift isn’t a toy.  It’s a coat.  Seriously.  If you google “The Coat,” it’ll come up.  That’s some powerful buzz.  Why is it such a thing?  Cheap.  Fashionable.  Useful.  I bought one for my wife.  Check it here.   DON’T TELL HER!  😉

  1. I sent Christmas cards this year.

Want one?  Email me and I’ll send you one.

Not too late to get your holiday gifts.  “The Coat” may be out of stock but this and this are, and they’re perfect for the Broadway fans on your list.

My 5 Friday Finds: Cash isn’t king.

It’s Friday y’all.  Celebrate with these Friday Finds.

  1. Being “Fit” is not just about looking good, it’s about getting ahead.

Two years ago, I made a pretty big lifestyle change and left Coca-cola, McDonald’s and sugary Frappucinos behind.  Add some meditation and other mindfulness practices to that, plus an early morning wake-up call, and I got a crap ton more done.  And I’m not passing out at my desk.

I can’t believe in my search for a more “fit,” lifestyle I hadn’t run across FitForBroadway.com before.  I don’t want you to miss it either.  Check it out here.  And listen to what super smart founder and art-trepreneur, Jane Jourdan, has to say.  She just wants to help you succeed.

  1. Who needs cash anyway?

I did it again.  I’m now 10 out of 10.  During my last TEN trips to international destinations, I have refused to exchange any currency.  And I didn’t need it.  I paid with apple pay, credit cards, and apps.  With no problem.  How long before cash disappears?  (It’s why I invested in a  “cashless currency”  stock – that is the only stock in my portfolio that is currently up, amidst this big pullback this week).

  1. Torch Song Announces A Quicker Than Expect Closing.

That’s four Broadway shows now . . . including my own Once on this Island that are closing in the next 30 days.  And School of Rock follows, and Kinky Boots in the spring and even long Off-Broadway runner Marvelous Wonderettes.  Yes, shows always close this time of year . . . but something feels different.

And I hear rumors that at least a couple more announcements are coming.

  1. Finish your shopping yet?

Need some ideas for the theater lover in your life?  Or do want to send someone a few hints on what to get you?  Click here for some great Broadway gift ideas.  There may be 18 days until Christmas, but you really only have about 14 shopping days left.

  1. Simple solutions make millions.

It was cold this week. So I put these on.  And I thought, “Wow, here’s something that I didn’t have when I was a kid.  And then someone saw a problem, and fixed it with a simple solution, and made a fortune.”  Takeaway?  Keep your eyes open for problems that others or YOU are having . . . and hack a solution.  Then sell it.  Then take the millions you make and produce shows.  🙂

Enjoy the weekend. Go see a show!

My 5 Friday Finds: Zoom a zoom zoom.

Here are my five favorite things that caught my eye this week, theater-related or not!

  1. Watch out Skype, there’s a new kid in town.

Have you Zoomed, yet?  If you’re tired of Skype updating itself every time you log on or just think it looks a bit like MySpace, check out Zoom.  I just changed all my video conferencing to this platform and I’m never going back.  In fact, I even paid for it. It’s a private company that I expect will get bought out or go public someday soon.  I’d invest, that’s how good of a product it is.

  1. I paid $125, for this book.

I went to a marketing conference recently and got such a strong word of mouth recommendation on this book that I bought it for $125.  And that’s not even on Amazon.  On Amazon, it’s going for this much! (Go ahead guess and then click.)  Why was I willing to pay that much?  First, the WOM was that good.  Second, $125 is less than the cost of one ticket.  Certainly, I will learn enough from the book to sell one more ticket.  Too often we don’t like at the potential ROI of something we purchase.  We just think, “It’s too expensive.”  But is something that costs $1,000 too expensive, if it could earn you $100k return?  I’m 10 pages into this book, and I feel it has already helped me sell 100 more tickets.

  1. We keep pulling Magicians out of our hat.

Another magician in residence was enough for the city this week.  I count about a half dozen in the last couple of years, not to mention The Illusionists, currently making buckets of money on Broadway (again).  This is no longer a phase, no longer a trend, and it’s not going to “disappear” anytime soon. Is it time for Copperfield to return?  Where is David Blaine when we need him?

  1. A lesson in inspiration and entrepreneurship from a Broadway Star.

I instagrammed these little note-card nuggets from Sierra Boggess this week, but they deserve another mention here.  Not only because I find them helpful, but also because I love when artists follow their passion and become entrepreneurs.  Get yours here.

  1. You’ve got 44 chances left.

Once on this Island, one of the most unique, exciting and theatrical Broadway shows I’ve ever seen, not only produced, has 44 performances left on Broadway before we close on January 6th.  Go see it.  We won a Tony over two GLORIOUS productions of other classic musicals.  There’s a reason.  Click here to get your tickets now.

Happy holiday shopping!

The Best Broadway Black Friday Gifts 2018 (aka our Official Holiday Broadway Gift Guide).

Happy Black Friday everybody! (And please excuse this interruption from my usual 5 Friday Finds, but this is gonna be oh so much better.)

That’s right, today is the #1 Shopping Day of the year . . . except on Broadway. Seriously . . . I had at least three rants at meetings over the past two weeks about how Broadway doesn’t take advantage of this one day of the year when people are sooooo ready to spend money. (In fact, you’ll see this show of mine go big with a Black Friday deal that came as a result of one of those rants.)

Part of the challenge of Black Friday shopping and Broadway as a holiday gift, in general, is because it’s just hard to give a ticket . . . since you have to pick a date and a time, yada yada yada. So, until we get much better at gift cards (shouldn’t all shows have them???), we’re going to have to find better holiday gifts for the Broadway lover in your life.

So, just like we have in the past, we put together this updated holiday gift guide with non-ticket theater gift ideas to make your shopping easier.

Without further you-know-what, here are our 10 Best Broadway gift ideas for you and your friends and family!

1. Be A Broadway Star Board Game

Yep, this is my game, and the only Broadway board game of its kind (it’s like “Life” and “Charades” had a board game baby.) Be A Broadway Star continues to be one of the best selling Broadway gifts on the ol’ Amazon.com, with a ton of reviews with a four-and-a-half out of five-star rating.  Oh, and Ben Platt plays it (as you can see on his Instagram here), so yeah, we’re cool. A tip . . . Amazon has gotten real tricky with their inventory so we can’t keep as many on their shelves as we used to. Which means it could sell out earlier this season than usual.

2. A Playbill Binder For Your, Yep, Playbills!

Playbills are probably the one thing on the planet that is given away free, yet is priceless to a Broadway fan (especially a NEW Broadway fan). Protect them in this binder that includes free sheet protectors!

3. A Broadway Puzzle of your favorite Broadway Stars!

If you’re like me, then holiday times at the parents’ house includes puzzles. So forget about the ones with windmills and skylines, how about one featuring Broadway stars!

4. Broadway Nail Decals

Need a stocking stuffer or a Broadway Secret Santa gift? This is it because it’ll come in under ANY budget.

5. Playbill PJs

These adorable pajamas make me long for my days of sleepovers. And just look who they got to model them! (Can you name the Broadway star and her husband?)

6. Anything from The Drama Book Shop

This classic NYC haunt for the serious theater student (and where Lin Manuel Miranda was “discovered” according to local lore) recently lost its lease (again) and is looking for a new location. So get anything from them and you’ll be helping keep this legendary brick and mortar alive.

7. A Ticket to BroadwayCon

This one is for the real Broadway fanboy or fangirl in your life. It’s expensive, but it’s the only Broadway convention out there, and it’s pretty awesome.  It’s the kind of thing I dreamed about when I was just a fan. Give this and it’ll be like giving a Broadway fan a ticket to Disney World.

8. A Broadway Walking Tour

Like BroadwayCon you gotta be here for this one, but a walking tour certainly ranks high on the unique list. Hear juicy backstage stories about what happened and where, as a Broadway expert (and actor) walks you through Times Square.

9. Anyone of these Great Broadway Books

Broadway books could have taken up this whole list! Here are my quick fave gift options: Hamilton The Revolution, Through The Window (The Dear Evan Hansen “making of”), The Untold Stories of Broadway, and Razzle Dazzle.

10. A Membership to Pro for your Pro!

If your Broadway fan wants to be more than a fan, then check out our membership site, which will teach him or her how to get from an idea to the page to the stage.

Of course, tickets are always great gifts, as are cast recordings, iTunes gift cards, Broadway coloring books, playbill frames, and more. But if you need other ideas, you can check out our previous lists or see what Amazon has on its Broadway shelves here.

Happy holidays!

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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