My 5 Friday Finds: A sneak peek at a puppet and more.

Here are five things that fancied me this week:

  1. Why have one mentor when you can have a tribe. Tim Ferris shook up the productivity world with his Four Hour Work Week and then he went on a podcast tear, talking to everyone from Schwarzenegger to Jamie Foxx to Tony Robbins.

Then, smart biz guy that he is . . . he took key excerpts from all of those interviews and put them in a book called Tribe of Mentors. Yep, he just repurposed his own content. No additional work, but yet it’s super valuable. One sits on my desk. I read a new excerpt a day (they’re a few pages) and learn something new.

  1. The stock market sucked this week. I’m reminded of this Warren Buffet quote:  “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.”
  2. The next Bedlam.

Downtown theater company, Wheelhouse, has been making waves over the past few years and is taking their NY Times Critic’s Pick, Kurt Vonnegut’s Happy Birthday Wanda June, uptown to the Duke starting 10/18. Disclaimer, I’m on the Advisory Board. But there’s a reason. I think they are the next Bedlam.

  1. Speaking of Bed . . . Have you tried the “Bedtime” feature on your iPhone? It’s better than an alarm because it doesn’t just tell you when to get up, it tells you when to go to bed (but nicer than your mom). It got me more sleep this week, which allows me to get more work done, which . . .
  2. Maybe I’m not supposed to say this . . . But the Producers of King Kong invited industry folks to a special behind the curtain, sneak peek of Kong himself this week. That’s right, we get an up close and personal view of the puppet, the thing we’re all curious about. So smart. Taking people behind the ropes, where other people can’t go, is a great way to get them on your side.

Episode 162 – Five Time Tony Award Nominee, Michael John LaChiusa

Here’s something I bet you’d never guess. Of those five Tony Award nominations that Michael John has on his resume, three of them (that’s more than half if you’re doing the math) are for writing the book of a musical, not for writing the score!

That’s right, the guy you know who has given us some of the most uniquely challenging and boundary-pushing scores like Giant, Marie Christine, and Hello Again does a whole lot more than just write show tunes.

In fact, I’d give him (and I’m sure my peers would agree) the musical theater version of the title of “Auteur,” as he’s given us shows like Hello Again, Marie Christine, The Wild Party and more.

Not only did I learn a bunch during this podcast, but I had a blast talking to Michael John about how he became one of the most talked about musical theater artists of his generation, as well as . . .

  • When people say something can’t be made into a musical, that’s when he gets really interested.
  • A type of musical you’d be surprised that he’d want to write.
  • What he tells his students at NYU most often about writing musicals.
  • How he started his career by cold-calling industry heavyweights and dropping by theaters (everything people tell you not to do).
  • How he feels about being a Tony Nominator

For someone who has given us some of our most significant pieces of theatrical artistry over the last couple of decades, after listening to this podcast, you’ll find Michael John more down to earth than most.

This one is one of my faves.

Click above for my podcast with Michael!

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

Download it here.

 

Episode 162 – Michael John LaChiusa

 

Here’s something I bet you’d never guess. Of those five Tony Award nominations that Michael John has on his resume, three of them (that’s more than half if you’re doing the math) are for writing the book of a musical, not for writing the score!

That’s right, the guy you know who has given us some of the most uniquely challenging and boundary-pushing scores like Giant, Marie Christine, and Hello Again does a whole lot more than just write show tunes.

In fact, I’d give him (and I’m sure my peers would agree) the musical theater version of the title of “Auteur,” as he’s given us shows like Hello Again, Marie Christine, The Wild Party and more.

Not only did I learn a bunch during this podcast, but I had a blast talking to Michael John about how he became one of the most talked about musical theater artists of his generation, as well as . . .

  • When people say something can’t be made into a musical, that’s when he gets really interested.
  • A type of musical you’d be surprised that he’d want to write.
  • What he tells his students at NYU most often about writing musicals.
  • How he started his career by cold-calling industry heavyweights and dropping by theaters (everything people tell you not to do).
  • How he feels about being a Tony Nominator

For someone who has given us some of our most significant pieces of theatrical artistry over the last couple of decades, after listening to this podcast, you’ll find Michael John more down to earth than most.

This one is one of my faves.

Click above for my podcast with Michael!

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

Download it here.

My 5 Friday Finds: Percentages Mean Nothing No More.

Happy long weekend for some of you, and enjoy these five finds from the week on Broadway and beyond:

  1. TKTS lists actual prices instead of just percentages.

blogged about this when it was announced, but it went into ‘play’ this week. The TKTS booth, which added 40%, 30% and 20% to its discounts years ago, now will just list actual prices. So no longer will a $100 ticket at 50% off look like the same price as a $50 ticket at 50% off.  This could be one of the biggest changes to the strategy of how Producers price at the booth, as well as how Producers price their full price (it’s common that we often price full price tickets thinking how much we’ll get at half-price) since the opening of the booth itself. (In other TKTS news, the Brooklyn location closed recently due to . . . what else . . . low sales.)

  1. Wicked in concert but on TV.

In another sign of Broadway’s growing footprint on pop culture, NBC agreed to air a special Wicked concert (shot at The Marquis Theater) to air on 10/29 featuring Idina Menzel, Kristen Chenoweth, and superstars such as Ariana Grande (future Elphaba anyone?).

  1. Originals, originals, everywhere.

Netflix started off as a way for you to “rent” movies without going to the local Blockbuster. Now, they invest heavily in originals. Amazon started off as a way for you to buy books, then movies and TV shows . . . now they make ’em. And now Audible (an Amazon company) is on the same strategy train. They recently announced that they’re going to give away original programming with a monthly subscription. What does this say? Content is still king . . . and the success of any business, big or small, is making @#$%. So go out and make something today.

  1. The Measure App on the iPhone.

If you updated your iPhone recently, you probably have seen the new Measure app . . . which is a digital tape measure. Amazing, right? Not if you make tape measures. Seriously. A company like Stanley Tools will see a reduction in sales because of this app. Just like that, something that has probably been a foundational form of revenue will slip away slowly. It’s a great reminder that all businesses can be disrupted . . . so keep innovating.

  1. King Kong starts previews.

The biggest and most expensive musical since Spider-Man starts previews TONIGHT. You know what?  I can’t wait to see it. Whenever you build someone that’s the “biggest,” people are going to want to go.

Wishing you all a great weekend, and hoping it includes lots of theater.

Where do our big hit ideas come from?

Like stockbrokers, or more specifically, private equity investors, Broadway Producers, Broadway Investors, and even creatives are always looking for the next big hit.

You know, the one that will run for years, win Tony Awards, and give the individual the freedom to do a lot more stuff.

Just like in business, I believe the big hits starts with the idea. There are a lot of other factors that go into hit-making, but if you don’t have a good seed, then it won’t even sprout, no matter how much you water it, fertilize it, etc.

That’s why I decided to dig into where the ideas for our big hits come from. Because if we know where they come from, we can seek more of them out. I call this the, “There’s gold in them their hills,” theory.

So, we looked at the Tony Award-winning best musicals of the last twenty years, as well as our longest running musicals, and googled-our brains out to see who conceived them, who started the snowball rolling down the hill . . . or as I like to say, who served the tennis ball. (Entrepreneurs are always responsible for starting the game.)

I don’t think the results below will surprise you, but I bet they get you serving the tennis ball to specific types of people later on today.

 

In the last twenty years, the ideas for the Tony Award Winning Best Musicals have come from:

Writers:  65%

Producers:  25%

Performers:  5%

Directors: 5%

The ideas for Broadway’s Top 20 Longest Running Shows (all musicals) have come from:

Writers:  52.5%

Producers:  42.5%

Performers:  5%

 

Just for contrast’s sake, we also asked the same question for the plays.

 

In the last twenty years, the ideas for the Tony Award Winning Plays have come from:

Writers:  85%

Producer:  5%

Author of Source Material: 5%

Director:  5%

The ideas for Broadway’s Top 20 Longest Running Plays have come from:

Writers:  95%

Producers:  2.5%

Performers:  2.5%

 

My thoughts?

Well, Producers popped up on this list more than I thought, and I love that Performers sneak in with a big one every once in a while.

But the big takeaway is that no doubt, if you’re looking for a big hit, then after you call your Mother today, make sure you call your favorite writer and say, “Hey, got any ideas for a Broadway show?”

Because statistically, that’s where the long-running, Tony Award-winning shows come from.

– – – – –

Got an idea for a show? But need some help getting it out there?  Take our 30 Day script challenge, guaranteed to get your idea on paper, so you can do something with it. Because a great idea never executed can never be a Tony Winner, Long Running Show or anything. Click here.

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