Is Ron Howard right?

First, let me say that Ron Howard may be the best example of the pivot in the history of the entertainment industry.  To go from Opie to Richie Cunningham to one of the most successful Directors in Hollywood is quite the story (a story they wrote into his exit from “Happy Days,” which I always thought was so cool).
I love his career arc so much (not to mention his movies) that I produced the NYU Tisch Gala in 2009 that honored him.
But last week he said something that made me think he had smoked one too many ‘backdrafts.’ (If you’re a Ron Howard fan, you get that reference. If not, sorry about it.)
When talking about the beleaguered movie theater business, Mr. Howard said . . .
“The multiplexes are going to become a little bit like Broadway in a way.  That’s where the expensive projects go.”
Ok, ok, I get what he’s trying to say. There will only be room for the mega hits in movie theaters. The big action flicks. The Disney extravaganzas.
You know, like what makes it on Broadway.
See that’s where Richie C. got it wrong.
Yes, the monster musical, Lion King, is a smash. But that opened in l997. Phantom was in 1988. Maybe he’s thinking about Wicked . . . but even that was in 2003, 17 (!) years ago.
This is a common misconception about Broadway . . . that it’s filled with only giant mega shows that are its biggest hits.  
Well, those mega produced shows get the biggest press.
But they don’t often run the longest or make the most money. In fact, besides Disney shows (which we can’t count anyway, because their business model is unique), no show over $20mm has ever recouped its investment.
The biggest hits of the last few years?
Well, let’s look at the Tony Winners, since my data shows that 80% of Tony winners recoup their investments, instead of the average of 20% of all shows.
Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, Hadestown, The Band’s Visit, Fun Home, Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder.
While the latter three weren’t long runners, they all did make money and spawned national and international tours and productions.
And the first three are giant hits (pandemic notwithstanding).
And what about Jersey Boys, Spring Awakening, Book of Mormon, Kinky Boots, etc., etc.
Were any of those mega shows?
Nah. They were just great shows, done for reasonable amounts of money, that resonated with the public.
That’s what works on Broadway, Ronnie boy. And that’s what will always work on Broadway.
And that’s exactly what we need to focus on as we plan our post-pandemic come back.
What will work in movie theaters?
No clue. It’s literally not my business.
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Are you curious about what Broadway will look like when it comes back? And how we can make it better? If Broadway is your business, or you’re just a fan, you’re going to be interested in this.

What Aaron Burn didn’t understand about “The Room Where It Happens.”

 Aaron Burr made so many mistakes in his pursuit of success.
Playing it safe.  Lack of loyalty.  Shooting one of the founding fathers of the United States.
What a tool.
These mistakes come from a misconception about that famous “Room Where It Happens.”
I WANNA BE . . .
He sings this refrain . . . . seven times in a row. So yeah, he wants it. And he wants it bad.
Aaron. Babe. You don’t get it.
Yes, it’s important to be in “the room where it happens.” You have to surround yourself with the top minds in whatever it is you are pursuing. They’ll inspire you. They’ll motivate you. They’ll educate you. Often they will reach out their hand and pull you along with them.
So no question, get in that @#$%ing room.
But you want to know the real secret to success? The kind of success Hamilton had? Or the kind of success Lin-Manuel Miranda has? Or Tyler Perry? Or Bill Gates?
You have to CREATE the room where it happens.
Be the one to call the meeting. Be the one to bring people together. Be the one to start the game. (Serve the tennis ball, as you may have heard me write here.)
Learn from those who have achieved the success you want to have. Surround yourself with those same types of people.
Then create your own unique world where you can create your own unique thing . . . and watch how fast people are singing a chorus seven times in a row . . . wanting to be in YOUR room.
– – – – –
Want to learn what it takes to create your own room? Learn from the people I’ve learned from here. Don’t wait. This event is 22 days away. And I don’t know when we’ll be able to collect the same number of masters of the theater in the same room again. Click here.

And The 2020 Nominees for the Streaming Theater Awards Are . . .

The Tony Award nominations were last week . . . so don’t you think it’s time for The Streaming Theater Awards?

It is!

Except they don’t exist.  Yet.

Streaming Theater is a thing.  It’s not a fad.  It’s not a phase.  And it’s not a lesser art form.

It’s a thing.

It’s a new form of entertainment that is going to stick around post-pandemic (and let that be soon).

And there has been so much of it already, that these productions deserve their own recognition and their own awards (Which will, of course, market the form, and make it an even bigger thing.  Awards do that – so seek them out for your niche – or create them yourself!)

So if you got excited about the subject of this blog, and opened it hoping to see your name in the list of the first annual Streaming Theater Award Nominations . . . then maybe you’re the one to start ’em.

– – – – –

Want to get into a serious conversation about streaming theater?  Hear from the experts here.

P.S.  The TheaterMakers Summit with Christopher Jackson, Thomas Schumacher, Sonya Tayeh, Stephen C. Byrd, Ben Brantley and so many more is in just 24 days!  Get your ticket here. 


[Take This Survey – Win $500] It’s The “When do YOU think Broadway will come back?” Game!

Yesterday, I announced that I will reveal my predictions for when Broadway will come back, how our box office will respond, and what this means for our Artists and our Audience.  I’ll reveal my opinions in a 3-part video series which you can learn more about here.

But today?

Today, let’s try and have some fun with this very tough topic.

You ready . . .

(Insert my “game show” voice here . . . )

“Who wants to win $500???!!???!!!”

Today, we’re announcing The “When Do YOU Think Broadway Will Come Back” Game! 

And the reader of mine who guesses the date that is closest to WHEN Broadway shows start performing again (and all it takes is ONE show) will win a $500 Amazon gift card. 

To enter, click here.

A few rules:

  • Price is Right rules apply.  The person who gets the closest to Broadway’s actual return without going over wins.
  • Only one show needs to open to indicate that Broadway is open.  However, that show must be open-ended, or have a run of more than 8 weeks.  (One nighters, etc. do not apply.)
  • There is a tiebreaker question.  See the survey here.
  • If there is a tie on the tiebreaker question, the winners will split the gift certificate.
  • Other restrictions may apply.

Ok?  You ready???

Here we go!

Enter The “When Do YOU Think Broadway Will Come Back” Game! now!

P.S. Yes, this is about having a little fun, and putting $500 in someone’s pocket.  But I’ll tell you a little secret.  It’s also about research.  You can bet I’m going to interpolate this data into my first video in my predictions of when Broadway will go back.  Click here to make sure you see the results, because I’m only revealing them here.

When will Broadway come back? And two more burning questions . . . and answers! [UPDATED]

I must hear this question ten times a day.
“So when will Broadway come back?”
And then there are the two follow-ups.
“What will the box office look like when it does?”
“What does all this mean for our Artists and the Audience?”
These are not good questions. They are great questions.
And I hear them from the press. From my investors. From college students.
I hear them from people who don’t even go to the theater!
“When will Broadway come back?”
“When will the theater come back?”
“When will I be able to perform in a show/invest in a show/SEE A SHOW again?”
These questions are on everyone’s mind.
And the ten times I hear these questions a day . . . are on top of the ten times I ask myself the same questions! 
That’s why it’s about time I answered them. And answered them with more specifics, more predictions, and more, no holds barred “this is what I believe and this is how we make it better” takeaways.
But not here.
See, it’s hard for me to write these answers.
First, the answers are going to be longer than my average 200-or-so blogged words.
Second, I need more visuals.
Third, some of the things I say may get me into a bit of trouble.
That’s why I’m going to answer these questions in a three-part private video series. One video for each of these questions:
Video 1: When will Broadway come back?
Video 2: What will the box office look like when it does?
Video 3: What does that mean for our Artists and Audiences?
In these videos you’ll hear me talk about . . .
  • My predictions for when Broadway will come back (and when it should come back)
  • The type of recovery our box office will have (which has changed in the last few weeks)
  • How Broadway’s return affects theater around the rest of the country world, including wherever you live.
  • The stimulus package the theater will need for a successful opening . . . and why we can’t count on the government to give it to us.
  • And some other subjects that I’m still researching.
The first video drops next Wednesday, October 14th. To get it, you have to sign up here. Because this discussion isn’t for everybody. This is only for the folks who care about those three questions . . . and their answers.
If that’s you, click here.
And let’s get into it . . . so we can figure out how to get out of it.
Get my private thoughts on the theater’s return here.
UPDATED AS OFD 10/11/20:  It was recently announced that refunds and exchanges were now allowed through May 30, 2020.  But no return date was announced.  Will Broadway return then?  Or will it return later?  Or sooner????  Could it suprise us with an early recovery?  Find out here.
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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