This made me so jealous I could spit.

Forgive me for the deadly sin I’m about to commit.

I’m ENVIOUS OF AUSTRALIA!

Read this article from the NY Times . . . Broadway in Australia has re-opened with productions of Hamilton, Harry Potter, Come From Away and more!

How are they doing it?  Well, you’ll have to read the article but it involves robots and app contact tracing . . . and the hardest-piece-of-technology apparently . . . common freekin’ sense.

This should be us.  We should be back.  Not fully, maybe (our city and our theaters don’t allow for the space that Australians have to spread out – and therefore reduce the spread).  But we should have been able to get something back up by now.

Maybe had we had a mask mandate earlier?  Maybe if it wasn’t an election year?  (Although let’s all be glad that election happened!)  Maybe . . .

Ahhh, enough of that.  I can’t go there . . .

But honestly, my biggest fear . . . is do you think that this will damage the Broadway brand permanently?  Will our status as the theater capital of the world be threatened?

You tell me.  Because I’m too jealous to type.

Read the article here.

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If you or anyone you know has ever thought about writing a movie . . . you gotta tune into this.

How To Build Your Brand For Your Next Show If You Don’t Have One.

When you open a show on Broadway, a pre-existing brand is important and essential.

Because when faced with a high-priced decision in a competitive market, a consumer will always, ALWAYS choose what they are more familiar with.

End of play.

(BIG DISCLAIMER:  a brand helps you build an advance, and gives you a head start against your competition, but it doesn’t guarantee success.  If your show doesn’t generate enough word of mouth to sell enough tickets to meet your weekly expenses, no brand, no matter how big, will survive.)

So, to mitigate your risk, you should either choose projects that have a pre-existing brand or, and here’s the much more CREATIVE APPROACH, develop that brand for your project before you open.

There are many ways to do this.

The easiest, of course, is to adapt something with a powerhouse brand that exists already.  (Think Harry PotterMean Girls, my own Neil Diamond musical, etc.)

But don’t think that’s the only way to get your show to Broadway or build an advance.

The brand could be in your creative team.  (Think Kinky Boots with Cindy Lauper or Last Ship with Sting – a perfect example of a show that built a huge advance but wasn’t something the public was interested in after the advance played off and Sting left.)

The brand could be a social media army that you build (Think Be More Chill . . . or even Ratatouille.)

The brand could be the reviews and buzz from your one, two, or three out-of-town tryouts (Think Dear Evan HansenCome From Away, etc.)

The brand could be the star or stars.  (Think Bette Midler in I’ll Eat You Last.)

The brand could be The Producer (Think Oprah Winfrey with The Color Purple – and notice how they stacked Oprah’s brand on top of the brand of the pre-existing material – a powerhouse parlay strategy!).

The brand can be anything you want it to be.

But there must be something?

Why?

The most important weeks of a Broadway shows lifecycle are the first few . . .  both creatively and financially.  Most new shows lose money.  The key is to minimize those losses.

A brand of any kind can do that.  How much depends on how big the brand is.

So ask yourself today . . . what does my show have that can attract an audience apart from the show itself?

If you can’t answer that . . . start building its brand today.  Because it’s never too early.  And there will definitely be “a too late.”

And if you need help identifying what yours should be . . . shoot me an email . . . I can point you in the right direction.

Why we are going to need more NEW musicals when the Pandemic is over.

If theater was the stock market, I’d sell revivals short.

I know I run the risk of getting a Reddit-like backlash for this blog, but, revivals are becoming more and more a thing of the past.

Literally.

Their business model was challenged before the pandemic.  The recoupment rate for revivals of musicals was LESS than the recoupment rate for new musicals.  (See the full write-up and stats on that truth-bomb here.)

And as a business mentor of mine said to me last March, “If your business was in trouble before the pandemic, it’s going to be even more challenging after.”

It was those words that made me cut bait on two side-businesses of mine . . . and I’m so thankful I did. 

I know that from personal experience that revivals have had a tough go of it recently, having lead produced three. And none of them recouped, by the way, including two that got raves and one that won the Tony Award for Best Revival.

And now . . . after what we’ve gone through in the last year . . . they are going to be even harder to make work.

Because in one year, many of these shows have aged TEN.  Their attitudes towards racial equality, gender equality, etc, are not only out-of-touch . . . but now many of them will be uncomfortable to watch.

Which means they either won’t get done . . . or they’ll have to be re-envisioned.  (And Michael Arden can only do so many per year!)   I guess a 3rd option is that they’ll require such massive stars that the audience won’t even care what the show is.  But how long will that last?  And will the stars want to do them?

So if you’re interested in producing, investing, or performing in a revival (of a musical, especially), understand that the risks have gone up.  That doesn’t mean there won’t be brilliant ones.  But they are going to be harder to find.

 The upside?  Because there’s always an upside . . .

Theaters are going to need NEW musicals more than ever before to fill the holes left by the retired revivals.

And that’s where you come in.

If you’re a writer of new musicals, keep on writing, because the renaissance is coming.

Yep, I’m selling revivals short and issuing a STRONG BUY alert for new musicals and new musicals writers.

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If you’re interested in learning more about the structure of classics and how you can use that to create something NEW, I recommend Jack Viertel’s masterclass here.

Guess what Broadway show is next to be filmed?

Annnnnnnd we got another one!

Come From Away becomes the second Broadway show to be shot during the Broadway shutdown. 

 

Filming will begin this spring and its release to be in September of 2021. But the most fascinating thing about this one is no distribution platform has been announced . . . Which means the smart and savvy producers are keeping it to themselves . . . for now.

This is the same model used by the juggernaut that is Hamilton. They shot it EARLY in their run and put it in a vault. And then they took it out years later and traded it to Disney for $75mm.

Come From Away is taking their downtime to do the same thing . . . and to put over 200 TheaterMakers to work at the same time.

Those kinds of karmic bets ALWAYS pay off.

Congrats to them, and keep your eye out for where this terrific piece ends up. (Can you say bidding war?)

For more on Come From Away’s upcoming shoot, click here.

 

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Interested in learning how to stream your show? Click here for a masterclass-like course on just that. 

THIS is one of the most disruptive moves on Broadway in decades.

Boom.

That sound you heard was an industry shakeup that could change the way Broadway works . . . forever.

There have been two major players in the ticketing space on Broadway for . . . ever.   Telecharge (owned by the Shuberts) and Ticketmaster, a massive publicly-traded company.  (ATG brought their platform to Broadway when they bought two theaters a few years ago.)

Yes, the word monopoly has been used to describe this limited competition for sure.

While Producers have always dreamed about being able to pick their own ticketing platform, and therefore get the data that goes along with it, this is a decision that is with the theater owners.

And then, Jordan Roth, the youngest theater owner on the block, just tossed everything up in the air by canning Ticketmaster and bringing in SeatGeek . . . a more modern platform birthed in the internet era.

 

Read the article about it here in the NY Times.

And then . . . tell me what you think.

Will this give an advantage to Jujamcyn Theaters when Producers are looking for theaters for their big hits?  Or will it force the other Ticketmaster and Telecharge to innovate faster?

Will service fees drop?

One thing is for sure . . . the big winner is our customers.

 

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