Podcast Episode 204: Tony Award Winning Actor and Artrepreneur, Alan Cumming

Soap.

That’s how this episode kicks off . . . with a conversation about soap.

Not just any soap, mind you.  Alan Cumming’s soap.  Like not his bar of Ivory . . . like his actual branded and sold on shelves, soap.

So you see, Alan Cumming truly has done everything.

And what’s amazing is, as you’ll hear in one of my favorite podcasts of my 200+ episodes, he’s only just getting started.

I knew when I saw him in Cabaret back in 1998 that I was watching something . . . well . . . beyond.  Then I had the pleasure of producing his one-man Macbeth on Broadway and realized that Alan was not just an actor . . . he was a Super Hero of an Artist.  

We talked about Cabaret, Macbeth, and a whole host of things on this podcast about acting, art, getting recognized in public, success, failure, running nightclubs, and yes even those bars of soap (and how you can get them), as well as:

  • How he still gets nervous and how he deals with those nerves.
  • Why he is working on a solo dance piece . . . when he is NOT a trained dancer.
  • How being vulnerable is what gives him confidence.
  • The importance of actors being able to “turn it on.”
  • Why artists feel the need to leave on the edge of fear (and why he wants to do a documentary about it).

This episode is a must for all TheaterMakers out there, because Alan is one of the most successful makers of art . . . his own way . . . that is.

Here’s how to listen!

  • 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 Joey Contreras! Check out his song “Joyride” from his latest EP, “Joyride.” It’s available on iTunes/Spotify/Apple Music. If you like what you hear and want to learn more, check out www.joeycontreras.com or @joeycontreras on Instagram.

This episode is brought to you by Sunlight Studios. With 8 bright and spacious studios for rent, you can rehearse your next Broadway hit knowing you’re in good hands. To book a studio today, please visit www.sunlightstudios.com. Use Code DAVENPORT to receive a 5% discount on bookings until January 2, 2020.

And when you’re done listening to the podcast, go listen to Alan’s cabaret song and story show, Legal Immigrant on Audible!

Our Official 2019 Broadway Holiday Gift Guide

I know what you’re thinking . . . “Wasn’t it just Labor Day?”

The answer?  Yes.  Yes it was.

As if Harry Potter cast a monthus-disappearus spell, here we are on the eve of Black Friday, ready for another mad dash to the end of the year.

Thanksgiving is late this year, which means less time to do your holiday shopping.  That’s why we’ve put together this list of the Top 10 Broadway GIfts to help you as you shop for the Broadway theater lover in your life (or in case you are just looking to put something for yourself in your stocking).   And this year, we’ve made sure we’ve added a bunch under $20.

And now, the overture is over . . . let’s raise the curtain on my 2019 Broadway Holiday Gift Guide:

1. Be A Broadway Star Board Game

Be a Broadway Star was a “shower idea.”  It literally came to me in the shower back in 2011.  And when I dreamed it up and wrote the name on the steam of my shower door, I never imagined it would turn into one of the hottest selling Broadway gifts on the market.  What has been fun to see is people of all ages playing the game, from college kids, to little ones, to senior theater goers!  And even Ben Platt!  (Click here and scroll down to see the photo)

It’s a no-brainer gift for any theater lover in your life, and super fun to play.

This year we have a new, limited-edition Holiday Expansion pack! Download the full 31-page expansion pack for FREE here!

Get the game here now.  It sells out every season, so don’t wait.

2. My Broadway Binder!

We made these as a gift for our Broadway Investors.  And we got such great feedback on them, we wondered if other folks might want to buy them.  

The answer?  Yes.  Yes they would.

So we modified ’em, included some sheet protectors and even came up with a unique design for our binder that prevents the Playbills from falling out.

It’s a must for all Broadway fans which makes it a terrific holiday gift. 

Get the Broadway Playbill binder here.

3. A Broadway Puzzle featuring 20 of your favorite Broadway stars!

Want a great group activity at your holiday gathering?  Or looking for a solo activity?  Make the most of a rainy or snowy day this holiday season and piece together this Broadway-themed jigsaw puzzle featuring 20 of Broadway’s biggest stars!

Get it here.

4. Broadway Coloring Book

Coloring books are in. 

And in this great Broadway gift for under $10, you can color all of your favorite show tunes in this Broadway Lyric Coloring Book! The book features 24 pages of mandala designs and lyrics from popular shows. 

You can bet your bottom dollar this is in my daughter’s stocking this year.  Gotta get her started right!

Get the coloring book here.

5. Musical Theatre themed colored pencils

When I was a kid if you wanted to color, you had one choice . . . crayons.  Now there are . . . wait for it . . . musical-theatre themed colored pencils!  Another great gift for under $20 which makes it an ideal Secret Santa gift!

Get the musical theater pencils here.

6. Books, books, and more books!

I could have a whole Broadway Holiday Gift Guide just for Broadway books! But here are a few of my top picks this season.

The Secret Life of the Broadway musical by Jack Viertel

Written by a true master of the American theater, this book is rich with information and stories to delight any theater fan (or theater maker). 

Broadway Trivia

Test your knowledge of the Great White Way with this 9-chapter Broadway Trivia Book! 

Broadway Trivia includes 9 chapters with easy, medium and hard trivia for Broadway fans of all ages! Test your knowledge about Broadway theaters, history of the great white way, show tunes and more!

Broadway Investing 101

Everything you need to know about how to get started in investing in Broadway Shows.

How To Raise Money For The Arts . . . Or For Anything!

Does the mere thought of asking people for money make you nervous? I sat down and wrote a 100+ page comprehensive how-to guide on the subject of raising money for the theater – the only one of its kind!

Action Journals

Created specifically with artists in mind, these action journals are a 90-day template for success. It helps you stay on track and reflect along the way. (Be sure to share your thoughts using #ActionJournalForArtists. I’d love to hear what you think!)

7. Playbill Frame

When a Broadway binder isn’t enough for your Broadway fan, or Broadway star-to-be, get ’em this Playbill frame to show off that their most prized Broadway possession.  Great for those of you who have seen Hamilton . . . just to rub it in your friends’ faces when they come over.  Get it here.

8. Broadway Momento Box 

And if the frame isn’t good enough . . . well, there’s almost another step up!  Use this shadow box as a unique way to show off your favorite Broadway memories!  If they had this when I was 16, I would have owned 160.  Get the momento box here.

9. The TheaterMakers Studio Membership

TheaterMakers belong together.  That’s why we created a brand-new, state-of-the-art, industry-leading membership community and certification training experience for theater-makers! If you want to create theater – or know someone who does – The TheaterMakers Studio is the best resource for you.

As a member, you’ll have access to our certification courses, monthly group coaching calls with my team of experts, access to our Private Facebook Community, a literal treasure trove of resources, checklists, execution plans, and a ton more!  Check it out here and get it for the writer, actor, director, producer in your life.

10. The Broadway Pop Chart of Costumes

Someone actually gifted this to me last year . . . and in a perfect example of word of mouth at work . . . I’m now recommending it to you.  Check out this unique poster art here.

 

 

And of course, theater tickets, Broadway t-shirts and the latest cast recordings are always great gifts for Broadway lovers.  But whatever you get for your Broadway or Theater Fan, get them something theater related.  It all helps support the art and business we all love!

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.

Top 10 Takeaways from our TheaterMaker Super Conference

In case you haven’t heard, we had a giant TheaterMaker conference this past weekend.

(And in case you didn’t get that joke – you probably aren’t on our email list – because we sent a whole bunch of emails about it.)

The reason why we so passionately encourage all you Writers, Producers, Investors, Directors, Designers and anyone who makes theater to come is simple.  We know for a fact that as a result of getting together in the room with other like-minded TheaterMakers . . . more theater gets made.  Period.  We know this.  Because people who come to the conference tell us.

One of our greatest success stories yet happened DURING this conference!  A TheaterMaker from New Hampshire asked me a question about how to get her middle school musical produced, and I gave her a couple of tips . . . and this action-fueled artrepreneur called someone on the next networking break . . . and boom . . . she got her show BOOKED!  I mean . . . mic drop!!!

The conference included Broadway A-list Producers, Directors, Press Reps, and more on panels like Dramaturgy, Readings, and Diversity (which I am so proud to say was one of the most heavily attended panels AND the longest – what a conversation).

In case you missed the conference, I pulled 10 Takeaway from some of the talks which are below.   And while reading them will never be the same as hearing them live, seated next to more than 400 fellow TheaterMakers, I hope they give you a little steroid shot of inspiration and education to get you to go out there and make more theater.

Enjoy!

  1. “With ‘yes and…’ we get to create what comes next.” – Stephanie J. Block
  2. “You deserve a place at the table.” – Joe Iconis
  3. “Remember to stay calm. Getting angry does not help anyone hear your point. Educate with kindness.” – Arvind Ethan David, Diversity In The Arts
  4. “Casting Directors are in service of the collective imagination of the creative team. They are only trying to help bring your ideas and visions to life.” – Tara Rubin, Casting Superpowers Share How They Cast a Project And What the Right Cast Can Do For You
  5. “There’s never going to be a “perfect piece” so readjust the weight you give critics’ opinions.” – Jamil Jude, Navigating the Collaborative Process
  6. “When it comes to branding, remain consistent. Stay SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely).” – Lori Rosolowsky, How To Market Your Project To Regional Theaters Across The Country
  7. “Don’t be intimidated to introduce yourself to someone in the creative field. We’re all trying to do the same thing – create great art!” – Ken Davenport, Get Your Show Off The Ground
  8. “Know your WHY. Trust yourself. Believe in your material. And be concise in your pitch.” – Larry Rogowsky, Practice Your Pitch Session
  9. “Every play is different. Every playwright is different. In order to have the most productive partnership, it is the dramaturg’s job to know what the needs of the playwright are and how/when to deliver feedback.” – Jill Rafson, What is a Dramaturg and When/Why You Need One
  10. “No more waiting to sit at the table. Show up and take your seat at the table.” – David Caparelliotis, Casting Superpowers Share How They Cast a Project And What the Right Cast Can Do For You

Want to hear and see some of the panels that folks were raving about it?  We recorded them!  Click here to see how you can get them.

And we will see you next year!!!

Podcast Episode 202: The Dramaturg for Disney, Hadestown and more, Ken Cerniglia

I’m gonna be honest . . . I never liked the idea of a dramaturg.  “That’s what a Director is for,” I thought. “And a Producer!”

Then, I realized that my “dislike” of something was based on the fact that I really didn’t understand what the heck a dramaturg was.  (Most things in life that we don’t like (including people, btw) are just because we don’t know what they are really about.)

That’s why I decided to have one of the leading dramaturgs in our business, Mr. Ken Cerniglia on the podcast to help explain to me and to all of us TheaterMakers exactly what a dramaturg does and why they are so important for every show, from a new play in a regional theater to a big ol’ Broadway show.

Listen in and hear Ken talk about:

  • What a dramaturg is and how you become one.
  • The most common note he gives to writers.
  • What his 15 years at Disney taught him about successful storytelling.
  • How Hadestown morphed over the years and how he assisted in the process, without over-assisting in the process.
  • The common elements that all stories for the stage need to be “successful.”

If you’re a Writer, Director, Producer or anyone with a script, this podcast has buckets of tips on how to make that script better.

So listen to the other Ken now!

  • 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.

P.S.  Ken has just agreed to lead one of our Writer’s Groups this year!  Click here to apply today!

This week’s #SongWriterOfTheWeek is Ben Diskant and Sami Horneff! Today we’re playing a song from their musical The Pirate Princess, “We Could Be Pirates”. If you like what you hear and want to learn more, check out www.bendiskant.com and www.samihorneff.com.

My pal Justin Guarini (you may have met him at The Super Conference this weekend) wants to help you nail your next audition! Justin will help you create a unique and memorable vocal performance that blows your competition out of the water. Visit www.JustinGuarini.com for more information!

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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