Want a job in the theater? Join our TheaterMakers Studio Production Team Database!

The theater is a collaborative art form.  Even one-person shows can’t be done on their own.  (At the very least, you need at least one person in your audience!)

The cool thing about meeting the right collaborator is that your energy to make something happen doubles, triples, and increases exponentially with each person you add.  And then one day, you’ll find yourself sitting in a Broadway theater teching your show, looking around at the hundred people working on it with you. . . and remembering when it was just you, in your room, with an idea (yes, I’ve had this moment several times).

This is why we encourage TheaterMakers to meet other TheaterMakers and get them signed up on their show, or simply just meet for coffee and brainstorm!

And, believe it or not, one of the most common questions I get asked is . . . “Ken, where can I find a Director/Designer/Composer/Orchestrator/Actor, etc.”  Shocking, right?  Because we all know how many people are desperately looking to work as a Director/Designer/Composer/Orchestrator/Actor, etc.

That’s why we’ve started a TheaterMaker Production Team Database . . . so when you need someone for your show . . . or if you’re a TheaterMaker looking for a job on a show . . . you know where to look.

Post your profile if you’re a Director of plays or a Choreographer of musicals.  Or a Writer, Investor, Designer or whatever.

Search through the profiles if you’re looking for any of the above, or are just looking to meet someone who shares the same passion of making shows as you do, and see what you can cook up together.

Whatever you’re looking for, it’s in our brand new, free TheaterMaker Database. And it’s now open for your submission and browsing pleasure!

Click here to check it out and create your free profile now.

And do it now.

Ask yourself.  What do you have to lose by signing up?  And putting yourself out there?

Only a possible collaboration that could take you exactly where you want to go.

It takes 30 seconds.  Sign up and start working (with someone else) today.

Sign up for the TheaterMaker Production Database here.

 

It’s official! Rave Theater Festival Coming Back in 2020. Dates are . . .

I mean, you can’t make this @#$% up.

Last year, I announced that my office was finding some scraps of time and money here and there to put together a brand new theater festival right here in the theater capital of the world.  Why?  Because, as I wrote here, festivals have become an endangered species in New York City.

And then, and punch me in the face if me putting that negative thought out in the universe helped make it happen, two weeks ago, the New York Musical Festival, my favorite festival in the world, announced it was closing its theater doors, now and forever.

And while NYMF was the Tiffany’s of musical theater festivals and many folks couldn’t afford to produce their shows at that level even if they got accepted, it still is a devastating loss to the TheaterMaker community.

Now look, we were so inspired by the artists and art that RAVE presented last year, not to mention the incredible response from the press that we received, that we were well on our way to committing to a second year.  But when we heard the news about NYMF, we knew we didn’t have a choice.

And then we added even more shows to this year’s RAVE lineup to try and make up the industry’s loss.

So, yaaaaasssss, RAVE is happening!  From July 24th – August 9th, 2020  And this year, we grabbed Off Broadway’s famous Soho Playhouse as our venue.

Submissions are NOW being accepted through March 1st, with a discount on your submission fee if you get it in by February 2nd.  Click here to apply.

Oh, and if you were one of the submitters to NYMF this year . . . your submission fee is on us.  Check here to see how to get your free entry.

If you made a New Year’s Resolution to get your show or your career into 2nd, 3rd or 4th gear this year, then submit your script now.

If your script isn’t completed yet, or even if you don’t have a script, you’ve got plenty of time to finish it and submit.   You never know what may happen if you do . . . you definitely know what will happen if you do not.  (Nothing!)

We will see you there.

Visit www.RaveTheaterFestival.com for more information.

Podcast Episode 203: The Score Whisperer, Glen Kelly

Ever wondered how to arrange a big Broadway score like Spamalot

Ever wonder what “arrange” a big Broadway score actually means?

This week’s guest has the ability to take a score and blow it up into a big Broadway musical that we all know and love. Maybe you’ve even heard of a few he’s done like, oh I don’t know, The Book of Mormon, The Producers, Beauty and the Beast

He’s extremely well-known, yet a bit of a mystery . . . which is why I like to call Glen Kelly . . . “The Score Whisperer.”  (insert spooky music chords – arranged by Glen, of course – here)

So, if you want to listen in and hear us discuss:

  • What is “Musical Dramaturgy” and how he does it.
  • How he taught himself the piano and musical theory without ever having any musical training 
  • The most common thing he adjusts when he first gets a score
  • The importance of adding space and giving the audience a chance to process during a song
  • What is was like to work with Mel Brooks on The Producers

If you’re looking for a master class in how a Broadway score is “made,” this is it!

Enjoy!

  • Click here to listen on our site!
  • Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review while you’re there!)
  • Download it here.

This week’s #SongWriterOfTheWeek is Angela Sclafani! Today we’re playing a song called “I’ll Save You the Waltz” and it is from Angela’s musical The Other Side of Paradise. If you like what you hear and want to learn more, check out www.angelasclafani.com or @angelasclafani on Instagram.

This episode is brought to you by Terry Knickerbocker Studio. Terry Knickerbocker Studio offers a two-year acting conservatory, workshops, studio rentals, one-on-one coaching, beginner acting classes, and the best actor training in New York, period. For more information, visit terryknickerbockerstudio.com.

What this Tracy Chapman song has to do with your show.

I wrote a letter to singer/songwriter Tracy Chapman in the mid-90s.  It was on early in my career and I was looking for popular artists who might have an idea for a musical.  And her 1988 hit, “Fast Car”, told me two things . . .

1 – She had a gift for melody.

2 – She wrote story songs.

Broadway wasn’t cool then, so my inquiry hit a wall (also known as a manager who couldn’t see that one day Elton John, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Sara Bareilles, Sting, and more would have shows on Broadway).

Tracy had another hit song, that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, as I’m crotch deep in the development of six new musicals.  The song?  “Talkin’ About A Revolution.”

Why?

The biggest hit that Broadway has ever seen and may ever see is about a revolution:  The American Revolution (If you don’t know the show I’m talking about, then you should get out more . . . or just read this blog more.)

One of the other biggest hits that Broadway and the world has ever seen is also about a revolution:  The French Revolution.

And there’s another musical that’s coming back to Broadway in 2021 (in a very buzzy all-female version directed by Diane Paulus) that’s also set in Revolutionary times.

What makes revolutions such good settings for shows?

Revolutions are started by groups of the super passionate people who are willing to put their lives on the line (literally) to achieve their goal of rewriting history.

Can the stakes be any higher?

Like medical dramas or legal eagle shows on TV, revolutions just make a writer’s job a little easier, since the setting already has the baked-in requirements of a successful musical (passionate heroes and high stakes).

Am I suggesting you find an actual revolution to write about or produce?

No.  (Although it wouldn’t hurt – I still think there’s a good Civil War story to be told on a stage.)

What I am suggesting is that you find the revolution IN your story.

Doesn’t Billy Elliot start a revolution inside his household and in his town when he wants to dance?

Belle’s relationship with the Beast has the townspeople picking up arms against her new furry friend.

West Side Story, The Lion King, Little Shop of Horrors, Beautiful, etc, etc. all have revolutionary characteristics if you look closely enough.

And the shows that I’m working on . . . Joy (a single mom who starts a revolution when she fights to get herself on QVC to sell her own invention, after it failed with someone else, and changes the face of retail for herself and for women worldwide), Harry Belafonte (a singer who used his popularity to work with MLK, JFK, RFK, Eleanor Roosevelt, Malcolm X, Mandela, and more and fight for equality in this country and the world), Ma Vie En Rose (an 8-year-old child born a boy, who is a girl, and fights against his family and community who deny who he really is), and Harmony (about a singing group fighting starting a revolution against a revolution), etc.

When you are looking for shows to adapt for the stage, find a revolution, and your job will be that much easier.

Oh, and Tracy, if you’re reading this, the offer still stands.  You’ve got a musical in you.  I know it.

– – – – –

If you want to hear what several Tony Award-winning writers look for when they adapt stories for the stage, click here.

 

Why I’m producing Harmony by Bruce Sussman and Barry Manilow.

If this is the first you’re hearing about this musical coming to New York, then you gotta follow me here . . . because that’s where I announce a lot of the fun stuff.

But let me recap . . .

On Friday night, at about 9:15, Barry Manilow announced from the stage of his Broadway residency that Harmony, the musical he co-wrote with Bruce Sussman, would make its New York debut at the famed NYTF (the same theater that birthed the current and magnificent Fiddler revival) in February of 2020.

And I’m thrilled to be the Commercial Producer partnering with the NYTF to make this happen.

Barry teased this in Vegas a few months ago (which we also caught on video here), but I’m so excited that it’s finally public . . . and you can even get tickets for it now.

So what got me “singing” Harmony?  I’ll tell you, as I always do when I sign on to a show . . .

First, if you saw Gettin’ The Band Back Together, then you know I’m a big Barry Manilow fan, and always have been.  (Someday I’ll tell you the story of how Gettin’ The Band led me to Harmony, which is one for the books, and one of the greatest lessons of my life.)

Second, I am a fan of all-guy harmony groups.  Having been a performer in the musical Forever Plaid 4x and having seen the success of my own Altar Boyz, as well as Jersey Boys (and the boy-band/harmony genre in general), I’ve always known that audiences have a thing for seeing groups of guys sing and dance in groups.  (In fact, we now manage this killer group that knocks ’em dead all over the country.)

Third, the score to this sucker is outstanding.  But it’s Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman . . . are you surprised?  They write the songs.  Literally.  So when you come to Harmony, one of the things I will guarantee are some effin’ melodies and rich lyrics that will crawl into your ear and never come out (like that thing in Wrath of Khan, for you Trekkies out there).

Lastly, I signed on to this show because of the story.  That’s the most important thing in musicals, even if the music gets all the attention.  Without a roller coaster ride of a well-told story (as we talked about on Friday), you can forget me (and most audiences) ever getting involved.

Harmony is about a little known group called The Comedian Harmonists . . . one of the most successful musical groups in Europe in the years leading up to World War II.  Why is so little known about them?  Well, they were from Germany.  And the group was half Jewish and half Gentile.  And most every permanent “record” of their existence was destroyed.  Purposefully.

It’s a musical that tells the story of the rise of a guy group from a street corner to big stages all over the world, performing their big ol’ comedic production numbers with a sound you’ve gotta hear to believe – only to be broken apart in one of the most horrific times in the world’s history.

It had me laughing, singing along, and yeah, shedding more than a few tears . . . just after reading it.

And honestly?  It’s a story and a time and a place and a people that a guy with the last name of Davenport isn’t as familiar with as he should be.  But I want to be.  So once again, I’m producing something that I don’t know, on purpose.

And I’m thrilled to be partnering with the NYTF to bring this important and entertaining musical to downtown Manhattan . . . where you can see The Statue of Liberty from just outside the theater.

Barry, Bruce, and I hope to see you there.

Get tix now.

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