Tonight on the Livestream: Tony Award Winner, Covid-19 Survivor and so much more, Brian Stokes Mitchell

I hear from a lot of people that they are busier than they have ever been during this crisis.

I’ve started saying this in response . . .

“Yeah, but no one is busier than Brian Stokes Mitchell.”

Stokes sprang into high gear as soon as Broadway shut down as the Chairman of The Actors Fund, the institution that is helping so many artists get through.

Then he was diagnosed with Covid-19.

He recovered (thank God) and started singing from his window as a thank you to the first responders.

Then, he sprang into action once again after the murder of George Floyd and co-founded Black Theatre United to help “protect Black people, Black talent and Black lives of all shapes and orientations in theatre and communities across the country.”

Doing one of these would have been plenty.

But that’s Stokes.

We’re going to talk to Stokes about all of the above TONIGHT on my livestream, as well as his incredible career in the biz and a heck of a lot more.

So, set your reminder for tonight’s episode here.

And look who’s joining me over the next few weeks:

Tuesday, August 25th – Patrick Page (Actor – Hadestown, Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark, The Hunchback of Notredame)

We’ll be making a special announcement next week for our September lineup! And you do NOT want to miss that.

You can catch me every TUESDAY at 8pm EDT (7pm CDT/ 6pm MDT/ 5pm PDT) on my Facebook, on my Twitter, on Broadway Podcast Network’s Youtube Channel, and on Broadway on Demand.

To learn more about our guests and the organizations for which we are raising money, visit www.TheProducersPerspective.com/LIVE.

Howell Binkley: He lit up Broadway Stages and every room he was in.

The first time I saw a run-through of “Greased Lightning” from the 1994 revival of Grease was in a rehearsal studio.
 
I was the Production Assistant . . . and would later Stage Manage, Assistant Company Manage, walk dogs, and learn about AOL chat rooms from Rosie O’Donnell – but that’s another story.
 
After the number in that fluorescently-lit room was over, I thought . . . “That was fun.”
 
Flash forward weeks later when I saw it for the first time, lit by Howell Binkley and I thought, “Holy @#$%, that was amazing!”
 
In fact, I decided that I did NOT want to be a Stage Manager ever again after that show . . . because I never wanted to “call it” – it had so many damn light cues!
 
And beautiful cues at that.
 
Almost as beautiful as the kind, departed soul that came up with them.
 
I was an intern when we first met . . . got him coffee, made sure he had his hotel reservation, etc. Yet he treated me like we had been peers for years.
 
That’s why I loved every time our paths crossed over the years. “Hey, buddy!” he’d always say, like not a day had passed since the last time we sat down.
 
In fact, I was talking to him about a new show just weeks ago. And he never knew he was sick, nor did he hint at it.
 
But that was Howell.
 
He was all about light.
 
And all about LIGHT.
 
Thank you, buddy, for your kindness, energy and your passion for our stages. They’ll forever be dimmer without your work and that great bit grin of yours.
 

Is Diana the Musical the first domino in the straight-to-streaming market?

Is Diana the first domino in the straight-to-streaming market?
 
 
And you thought Princess Diana’s actual story was dramatic?
 
In one of the biggest stories to hit the Covid-infused airwaves of late, the Producers of the new Broadway musical Diana announced they’d be doing a performance in the next few weeks . . . for no audience . . . but a ton of cameras.
 
That’s right, Diana is going to Netflix. It will premiere on the streaming network before Diana’s (currently scheduled) May 25th, 2021 Broadway opening.
 
A lot of people have been floating the idea of shooting a show as we wait out the pandemic. After all, the sets are sitting right there in the theaters . . . and the actors are sitting right there at home.
 
It makes sense why Netflix wanted this specific show. Diana is a big brand and a documentary – two things Netflix audiences love. And, Netflix makes decisions on data. I’m sure they know how many people will watch the musical based on how many people have devoured other Diana content on their site. (Ahhh, digital stats – aren’t they great?)
 
Now, the question is . . . will other shows follow? Which ones? And will it happen during the pandemic? Or when Broadway comes back? And will Diana sell more tickets because of this stream?
 
So many questions . . . because it’s such an exciting idea.
 
What’s awesome to me is that Broadway is a business that does NOT like to take risks. But as I mentioned in this blog, now is not a time for a “We can’t” about anything.
 
And major kudos to the Producers and Creative Team and all the unions involved for going for it.
 
Because first, a whole bunch of people are going to get paid. And right now, our artists, musicians, stagehands and everyone needs the work.
 
And second, once one show does something like this, a whole host of others will follow.
 
Yep, a new model just got made. And it’s a good one.
Because it will raise the awareness for a new title before the show arrives on Broadway, which is the hardest thing for any new show to do.  It’s like releasing a cast album before the show opens.  (Waitress did this successfully in recent years, and of course, Jesus Christ Superstar was the first and best example of making a brand before Broadway.)
That’s right, I think streaming is the new cast album.
 
And I’ll predict it right now . . . regardless of how the Broadway show performs (and I’m hearing great things) . . . it will do better on Broadway, on tour, and for the rest of its licensing life, because they made this deal.
 
Now . . . what show will Netflix go after next?
 
– – – – –
We posted a survey about streaming on Monday . . . did you see it? Click here to ask your question about this emerging model for Broadway or for your show!
 

Tonight on the Livestream: TAKE 2!!! 4-Time Tony Award-Winning Producer, Dori Berinstein

Alright, let’s try this again!

Tony Award winner, Dori Berinstein, was all set to appear on our livestream last week . . . until that little brat of a tropical storm played with the power, and she lost her internet! (I could go days without water, but not internet? Forget it.)

The storm has passed, the power is back, and Dori WILL be joining us, if I have to walk to her house in Westchester and socially distance interview her with my phone.

If you don’t know Dori, she’s a producing powerhouse . . . first in movies (yes, that is HER on the Netflix documentary about the making of Dirty Dancing – a must watch) . . . and then on Broadway. We met on Thoroughly Modern Millie, produced a show at NYMF together, and we will be doing something again soon, I know it.

Tune in tonight to hear how she transitioned from film to Broadway, how she is keeping all her projects going, and all about the Broadway Podcast Network (of which I’m a proud member).

Set your reminder for tonight’s episode here.

And look who’s joining me over the next few weeks:

Tuesday, August 18th – Brian Stokes Mitchell (Actor – Kiss Me, Kate; Man of La Mancha; Shuffle Along, or, the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed)

Tuesday, August 25th – Patrick Page (Actor – Hadestown, Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark, The Hunchback of Notredame)

You can catch me every TUESDAY at 8pm EDT (7pm CDT/ 6pm MDT/ 5pm PDT) on my Facebook, on my Twitter, on Broadway Podcast Network’s Youtube Channel, and on Broadway on Demand.

To learn more about our guests and the organizations for which we are raising money, visit www.TheProducersPerspective.com/LIVE.

The Challenge of Creating Theater during Covid-19. Quite Literally.

As the pandemic continues to put a damper on everyone’s theatrical plans, it can be a struggle to, well, plan.  And I get it. Believe me. On March 10th, I said to my staff, “We’re going to have four musicals debut in the next 18 months!”
 
We planned. A virus laughed.
 
But we WILL get the last effin’ laugh when our curtains go back up. I mean, what a celebration it will be!
 
That’s what I say to myself every morning when I fire up my computer and challenge myself with . . . well . . . coming up with things to do to make theater . . . when we can’t make theater.
 
Over the past few weeks, I came up with a whole bunch of daily tasks, activities, and serious ACTION ITEMS to prepare for ‘Curtain Up’ day.
 
And you know what? They are working. They are moving my projects forward when it’s hard to move anything forward.  
 
That’s why I want to share them with you. And I want you to have some fun at the same time.  🙂
So last week, we created The 19 Day “Creating Theater During Covid-19” Challenge.
What the shutdown is that?
  • 19 daily video lessons from me describing a task (that I do) to keep your project moving forward.
  • A forum to post your assignments/homework.
  • Feedback from fellow committed TheaterMakers like yourself.
  • A “Get Produced” Blueprint WHEN you successfully complete the challenge.
  • And a few surprises along the way.
Does it cost something?
 
Yes. $19. (Get it?)
 
And we’re donating the profits to my Dad’s encouragement fund.
 
I guess we could have made it free instead. But I find that you’re much more likely to “show up” for something when you have to pay for it. True, right? (Why do you think personal trainers exist!). 
 
And I want you to complete this mother-chuckin’ challenge because I want your shows out there in the world when this is over. (And with all this vaccine talk – I figure we’re starting to see a glimmer of light down the road – so now is the time to get ourselves ready!)   And this way we give a little boost to the upcoming TheaterMakers at the same time.
Who’s in to make some theater?
 
The challenge starts on August 10th. Absolutely no latecomers.
 
Sign up for it here.
 
And prepare for some coronavirus-kickin’ action.
 
 
 
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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