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’, 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!

My 5 Friday Finds: Insta, Mags and More.

Here are five things that made me think this week.

  1. Broadway’s First Instagram Agency

Influencer marketing is all the rage. Get yourself the right mention by the right Insta Star and your brand could skyrocket. It’s happening in the “real” world of fashion and beauty. Could our Broadway stars lend a post? A new agency known as “The Cast” believes our stars have bankable social media value and have created a company to rep ’em. Watch their feeds to see what pops up.

  1. Print is dead, right?

I won’t buy a newspaper or subscribe to one if they paid me! But why is it that I still like a good magazine (see this Insta post to see what mag I was reading recently)? In fact, I advertise in magazines too, but not so much in newspapers. I know their $ are down too, but I’d bet they’d stay in fashion longer than the newspaper. Anyone else agree?

  1. An old advertising rule that blows my mind every time.

The 80/20 rule (or Pareto’s Principle) is one of those things that can make your mind explode when you dig into it. And, as Perry Marshall proves in his book 80/20 Sales & Marketing that I’m reading right now, it can also make your bottom line explode. Average marketers know the rule. The best marketers apply it.

  1. What to do on a snow day.

It snowed this week on Broadway. And people stayed home. The only upside is that if you’re in the city, or a local or tourist already here, snow days are the best days to get seats to sold-out shows. So the next time it snows, put on your snow boots and get to the box office of Hamilton, Springsteen, etc. and enjoy . . . maybe even for less.

  1. Black Friday is one week away.

I’ve never thought Broadway has done a great job in marketing its shows on the biggest shopping day of the year. Except for some stuff from my shows, but I think the industry has to come together. Just like Amazon promotes all of its items in its store, our industry should promote all of our shows in a big ol’ campaign.

Enjoy the weekend!

My 5 Friday Finds: The Biggest Dramatic Event of the Year is Coming Up.

Here are five things that fancied me this week:

  1. The most dramatic event of the year.

Tuesday, November 6th. Election Day. I don’t care what your politics are. But I do care if you vote. Put it in your calendar now. Book it like a doctor’s appt and you’ll show up. And it might even be more important than a doctor’s appt.

  1. The title makes me laugh.

Big congrats to our client, Leo Schwarz, on his Off-Broadway opening and being one of our #5000By2025 with his show . . . Book of Merman(Told you.) And if you think the title is funny . . . wait until you see this mashup.

  1. Something is happening in the city.

The stock market has been funky. NYC Real estate is down. Broadway grosses are off. I don’t know what’s going on, but there’s some economic weakness. My thought? See #1. Elections always get people jittery. Let’s see what happens this holiday season.

  1. Only 22 Seats Left!

My SuperConference, the only conference of its kind, is dedicated to empowering theatrical art-repreneurs (writers, directors, producers, actors and more) is 8 days away and there’s only a football team’s worth of tickets left. Join me, Itmar Moses, Steven Sater, John Cariani and a whole bunch of movers, shakers and dream makers at this action-oriented weekend. Click here to get one of the last few tickets.

  1. It’s a Jukebox musical on film.

This weekend, Bohemian Rhapsody, the story of Freddie Mercury and Queen, opens in movie theaters around the country. Think we’ll see it adapted for the stage? I know I would have liked a bio concept much better than the Queens-ical We Will Rock You.

Enjoy your weekend!


My 5 Friday Finds: Guess what show is immersive now?

Happy Fall Friday and welcome to my 5 Friday Finds of the week! Here is what was on my radar this week, and what I think should be on yours.

  1. Immersive Theater Coming to a Car Dealership Near You.

The short-lived but well-reviewed musical Hands on a Hardbody (based on this fascinating documentary about a car dealership that gives away a truck as part of a promotion) will get a new production at an actual car dealership. There are three things to pick up from this:

1. A unique presentation of lesser known material will always get attention.
2. The immersive revolution is only expanding.
3. The barrier to entry for theater companies and writers is getting lower because theater rental costs are typically the biggest line item on a budget.

  1. Fringe is back, baby!

After a year off, the NYC Fringe festival is back, in a much different format and at a different time of year. One thing that remains the same? The crazy titles and adventuresome productions like James Franco and Me: An Unauthorized Satire and Simple Math: Solving for the Neurobiology of AssaultCheck out all the shows here.

  1. Hamilton Charges a Hamilton for Halloween.

One of the worst nights of the year for Broadway shows, and all live entertainment, restaurants, etc. is Halloween. While I’m sure Hamilton would have been just fine, they’re choosing to take this box office-spooking holiday and offer a $10 ticket promotion. Learn how to pick up that treat by clicking here.

  1. Real Estate in NYC is . . . down.

Last quarter, real estate sales were off in NYC over 11% from a year ago. Seems odd for me to be talking real estate, but since everyone assumes real estate in NYC always goes up, this article that mentioned the “correction” jumped out at me. Whenever something so rock solid shows a crack, something has to be up. How does that affect us on Broadway? And is it a coincidence that the stock market took a couple of nosedives this month as well, including yesterday?

  1. We’re getting younger.

The Broadway league demographic study for last year was released this week and once again, we saw an increase in our guests under 18. Obviously, this is a result of our increase in family fare on Broadway, from Mean Girls to Spongebob, and it means wonderful things for those of us who will be in the business 25 years from now because those kids are more likely to be theatergoers and theater patrons in the future. I did hear a cynic say at a meeting the other day that when they heard we had more teens and tweens, “Told you we were becoming more like a theme park.”

Enjoy your weekend and comment below if anything jumped out at YOU this week!

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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