Podcast Episode #19 – Lessons in Lyrics and Life from the Legendary Tim Rice.

Joseph, Evita, Chess . . . Beauty and the Mother-Humpin’ Beast.

These are just a few of the shows that Sir Timothy Rice wrote the lyrics to (obviously I got a little excited about that last one), so you can imagine he’s got just a few interesting stories to tell, and truth bombs to toss.

So if you’re a writer, a producer, or just a fan of Jesus Christ Effin’ Superstar, then listen in to hear Sir Timothy talk about . . .

  • The secret ingredient needed for a great musical
  • Which comes first, the music or the lyrics, and more importantly, why
  • Tim’s least favorite of his own lyrics
  • How he deals with getting notes (and if he can take ’em, so can you!)
  • And how the sippy cup may mean the end of Broadway as we know it

Oh, and if you don’t hear me talk for awhile, it’s because I was uncontrollably laughing during one of his stories, so I had to put my microphone on mute.

Enjoy the podcast, and special thanks to Hand To God on Broadway for sponsoring this session!

Click here to listen.

Listen to it on iTunes here.  (And give me a rating, while you’re there!)

Download it here.

Click here to read the transcript.

(Oh, and PS, if you want to learn more about Tim, read his autobiography.  Click here to grab it.)

 

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What worries Taylor Swift doesn’t worry me.

In case you haven’t noticed, this Taylor Swift girl is going somewhere.  She’s got a future, that one.  You heard it here on TheProducersPerspective.com first.  Mark my blog.

Taylor has always been a star, but her wattage amplified to the nth power last week when her new album “1989” sold over 1 million albums in 7 days.  That’s a lot of downloads, yo.

She also made news when she yanked her music from the super-streamin’ Spotify music service, which allows users to stream any song they want for free.  Don’t misunderstand . . . the artists do get a few shekels when someone streams their song, but Taylor argued that it was like, totally, way less than it should be.  So she dumped Spot, just like she’s gotten dumped so many times over the years (something tells me those dumpers are regrettin’ it about now).

What Swift and so many musicians (and movie makers for that matter) are worried about is people gettin’ their stuff for free.  Free streamin’, illegal piracy, it’s all the same sort of thing to these folks . . . because what they produce is the exact same whether it’s paid for or not.  Because recorded music or recorded film is the same, whether it’s paid for or not.

See where I’m going with this?

Live entertainment can’t be pirated.

The experience of listening to or even watching a recorded “live” event doesn’t compare to seeing the live event.  So we don’t have to worry about what worries Taylor and all of Hollywood.  That’s why I encourage the telecast of plays and musicals in movie theaters around the country – because we’re not threatened by piracy.  In fact, recording our stuff only encourages audiences to attend it live.  Because it’s not a replacement like it is in the other industries.

So, rejoice and be glad!  Because when you think (or blog) about it, we, in the theater, are the lucky ones.  As more music and movies can be downloaded and streamed and seen through osmosis, the live event becomes more rare, more special and worth more money.

 

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You’re gonna make fun of me for this one.

I love me some Florida Georgia Line.

See, about six months ago I came down with a serious case of country-music-itis – which means I’ve become very familiar with phrases like “dixie cups,” “tan lines,” and Story Warren on Sirius Radio’s The Highway.

And I’ve fallen in sweet southern love with the guilty pleasure music of the duo known as Florida Georgia Line, who, admittedly, is like the Nickelback of country music.

So the other day, I’m on my 17th listen of their new song, “Dirt.”  (Yep, you got that right, it’s called “Dirt.”)

If you ask my trusty sidekick and uber-capable assistant Kayla, she’ll tell you I’ve been blastin’ it after hours, and singing along . . . and gettin’ all the words wrong (actually she wouldn’t tell you that, which is what makes her such a capable assistant).

For listen #18, I decided to shake it up a bit and decided to see if there was an official video.

Interestingly enough, there wasn’t a video.

There were two videos.

One was a typical country mini-movie music video, with a woman who died too soon, a pick-up truck and a corn field.

The other was a lyric video.

That’s right, boot-scootin’ friends – FGL (that’s what their fans like me call ’em) produced two videos: one with a story, and one with some cool cinematic shots and an artistic version of “follow the bouncin’ ball” lyrics.  This way, you can learn the actual words from the song, and your sidekick assistant won’t laugh at you when you sing ’em at the top of your lungs in your office.

It was like this video was made for me!  (Who knew that the lyric was “Elm shade red rust clay you grew up on?”  And all this time I thought it was “Home made bed you threw up on!”)

Of course, it wasn’t made just for me.  It was made for me and the other millions of fans out there, who wanted deeper engagement with a product.

When an audience falls in love with something . . . and I’m talking deep, word-of-mouth-spreadin’-love, just consuming it, isn’t enough.  They want to devour it.  And every single bit of it.  Like those super carnivores out there who eat every part of a pig because they don’t believe in wasting even an entrail.

FGL knows that to keep their super fans engaged, and satisfied, they can’t just serve up a standard dish of content.  They have to give ’em more.  Much more.

And the same is true for you.

Do you have fans?

Give ’em the story of how your show got together.  Give ’em the personal history of your creative team.  Like, did you know that I met Stafford Arima, Director of Altar Boyz, when he was the Resident Director of Ragtime New York and I was the Associate Company Manager?  Give ’em details.

But don’t stop there.  Don’t just give them lyrics, give ’em sheet music so they can sing the tunes.  Imagine if your songs are done by college kids all over the country.  Or at auditions.  Give ’em backstage photos and video.

Drown ’em in content so they don’t even have a chance to listen to anyone else.  I mean, Jason Aldean who?

Your best fans have the power to bring you more fans.  But only if they are stuffed.

I know I risk getting mocked for listening to Florida George Line.  Especially when I admit that to a bunch of smart theater fans like yourselves.

But I’m ok with it.  Because by listening to them, I also learned a lot too.

Oh, and I couldn’t leave this post without giving you a little “Dirt”.

Watch the traditional video here.

And the lyric video here.

And make sure your office door is shut when you sing along.

 

(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)
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Are you Broadway’s Next Big Star?

NextBigStarSQFor the past couple of years, we’ve sponsored 10 Minute Play Contests to encourage all you playwrights out there to keep writing (this year’s announcement is coming soon), and this past winter we sponsored a Songwriting Contest to get all you songwriters out there writing . . . and we had so much fun doing ’em, we thought we’d do another one.

But this time we’d target the one group in our business that we’ve forgotten so far.

The Actors!

If Writers are the Chefs of Musical Theater, the Actors are the ingredients.  Without ’em, we’ve got nothing but a bunch of ideas.

So, we came up with a contest that gave all the potential future Broadway stars out there a chance to be seen here in New York City, on an Off Broadway stage, and win all sorts of cool prizes, including a private work session with a fancy Broadway Casting Director (Cesar Rocha from Telsey + Company), a spot in my Audition Workshop, and, yesiree bob, $500 cash!  What’s a contest without cash!

We’re partnering with the super-cool fanzine BroadwaySpotted.com to run this contest.  And the cool thing is, you don’t have to be in NYC to enter.  To enter, you just need to submit a video!  Finalists will be picked by online vote, and then those finalists will belt it out in person on stage at my theater on May 22nd.  Sheri Sanders (Rock the Audition) will host the live event, and the judging panel includes Cesar Rocha (Telsey + Company) and me, so I’ll see you there!

You can read all the relevant info here.  But video submissions are due by Sunday April 20th.

Enter.  Tell your friends to enter.  And maybe you can be Broadway’s Next Big Star!

 

(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)
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And the Finalists for our 2014 Songwriting Contest are . . .

Hear ye!  Hear ye!

It’s time to announce the 10 finalists for our first ever Davenport Songwriting Contest!

We’ve already had such a blast getting to this stage of the competition.  Because, let’s face it, everyone in my office loves a show tune.  So we’ve been in heaven since the hundreds of submissions started coming in.  It was tough to narrow it down to just 10 . . . which made me so optimistic for the future of the theater.  Cuz let me tell you . . . there are some good songwriters out there.  And they are coming up fast.

Ok, enough with that . . . you want to see who made it, right?  Here’s the list of the 10 Finalists, in absolutely no particular order!

1.  “Our Little Swedish Home” – Music by Zak Sandler, Lyrics by Greg Edwards

2.  “Horizontal Light” – Music & Lyrics by Andrew J. Hanley

3.  “We’re the Only Real Actors in This Show” – Music & Lyrics by Ted Kopulos

4.  “I Could Be a Hero” – Music & Lyrics by Madeline Myers

5.  “Cracked and Broken” – Music by Dave Ogrin, Lyrics by Dave Ogrin & R.C. Staab

6.  “Just Between Us” – Music & Lyrics by David Reiffel & Michael Wartofsky

7.  “Hero” – Music & Lyrics by Joseph Shrand

8.  “Running” – Music by Tidtaya Sinutoke, Lyrics by T. Defoe

9.  “Could It Be Me” – Music by Kevin Cotter, Lyrics by Diane Uniman

10.  “Scared of Falling” – Music & Lyrics by Kevin J. Watson II

Congratulations to all of the finalists!

And now comes the real fun part.  On Thursday, January 30th, at 7 PM, at the theater at 354 West 45th St., those 10 finalists will each present their songs to some wicked cool judges and you, the audience.  And yep, each one of you will get to cast your vote for your favorite song.  And the winner will walk home with $500!

Who are those judges?  Check it out!  We’ve got Actress Natalie Weiss (Wicked, Les Miz, Everyday Rapture), Actor Ryan Silverman (Chicago, Phantom) and a super popular songwriter himself, Ryan Scott Oliver.

Oh, and me.

Get your tickets to the event by clicking here.

And a hearty congrats to all those who entered.  There are a lot of songwriters in this city.  Or a lot of people who think they are songwriters, but they never get around to writing.  You may not have a chance to win this competition, but you won already . . . because you wrote a tune in the first place.  You’ll never achieve your dreams just talking about what you want to do.  You have to do.

 

(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

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FUN STUFF:

– Win two tickets to The RideClick here to enter.

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