My 5 Friday Finds: Just Chillin’

Hello Producer’s Perspective Readers, and welcome to a brand new column here at TPP.

Starting today, and each and every Friday going forward, I’ll post a bullet-pointed blog with 5 Things I Found That Week that I think you’ll find fascinating or could help you in some way.

They could be anything . . . a show that caught my eye, a marketing trend, a book that I’m loving, a songwriter that I can’t stop listening to, a life hack . . . who knows!

But there will be five of them. They will be every Friday. And I think you’ll find they are worth a click or a ponder.

So without further ado, here are this week’s (and the first) Friday Finds:

  1.  Be More Chill Heads to Broadway: Everyone in this biz knew that Joe Iconis would have a Broadway show someday, but no one expected it to be this one. What makes this show a find is that it is the first Broadway show to get a Broadway run solely on the backs of social media.

The people wanted this show. And they got it.

Wait, wait. Did you hear that sound? It’s a revolution beginning.

Read about it here. Visit the Be More Chill website here. See some of the social that got it all started here.

  1. A Book About General Managers by a General Manager: I wrote a blog in 2014 answering the question “What Does A General Manager Do?”  Well, GM Peter Bogyo one-upped me and wrote a whole book about it.

He was nice enough to send me a copy, and I’m enjoying it. Check it out here.

  1. I Cut My Ties To Cable Last Week: I’m an early adopter. So when I make a move in my life, I know that others are doing the same. And last week, I got rid of my Verizon cable and went straight to Hulu. Anyone else?

Why is this a find? Because during the first hour of watching, I immediately noticed how the commercials were so much more hyper-targeted to me (and when signed in under her profile, the ads were hyper-targeted to my wife) than standard cable.

This is “programmatic” television advertising, and our business (which is always a bit behind other industries) has just started to get behind this trend.

Expect a lot more of it in the future, and if you’ve got a show, push for it yourself. (There’s a reason this stock has been killin’ it.)

  1. Al Roker Will Appear in Waitress: No one casts better than Barry and Fran Weissler. I worked on their 90s revival of Grease, which they kept running well beyond its expiration date with celebrities from all different worlds (from Olympic Gymnast Dominique Dawes to Xena\, The Warrior Princess).

And obviously, the casting of Chicago speaks for itself.

This week, they landed everyone’s favorite weatherman Al Roker for their surprise hit, Waitress.

This find reminded me that stars can be found in all different forms of entertainment mediums, and the unlikely of stars can get you the most press.

Read the announcement here.

  1. The Easiest Thing I’ve Ever Done To Save Money: I promised you life hacks. Here’s one:

You shop on Amazon?

Duh. We all do.

Since the birth of my little one, it feels like at least one box with that Amazon swoosh arrives on my doorstep every day.

While I normally don’t do this sort of thing, I signed up for the Amazon Store Card and get 5% off every purchase. And since I purchase everything on Amazon, it adds up to a nice chunk of change every month.

If you shop there, it’s worth the 5 minutes to sign up. They just give you back money that you can use on your next show. 🙂

Hope you enjoyed our first Friday Finds! See you next week, and if you’ve got a find of your own, send it to me and you may just see it here.

One of the BIG reasons why Broadway is booming.

Broadway is in the midst of a gold rush.

And there are a bunch of reasons why.

But one of them is Craig Zadan.

The industry and the world unexpectedly lost Craig earlier this week due to some complications from shoulder surgery (!), and you could hear the gasps echo throughout Shubert Alley when the news spread.

Craig was universally loved and respected, especially since he was the unofficial ambassador for the Broadway Musical on the “left coast.”

As part of the dynamic producing duo of Craig Zadan/Neil Meron Productions, Craig brought the musical BACK to television with live telecasts of The Sound of Music, Peter Pan, and more, including last Easter’s triumphant Jesus Christ Superstar.

Everyone out there in La-La Land thought Craig and Neil were nuts to want to put musicals on a small screen (especially live).  But of course, once those ratings for Sound of Music hit the trades, the other networks scrambled to try to catch up to their pioneering leadership.

And how did that help us here in the city?

Well, put it this way, over 21 million people watched The Sound of Music alone.  To put that in perspective, the attendance for all Broadway shows last season was only 13 million and change.

In one night and one show, Craig put Broadway on the minds of more people than we do all year long.

Since then, he and Neil have continued to push the musical on the small screen, promoting what we do to people all over the globe and helping to create a passion for the musical in a new audience that never would have developed without him.

Oh, and on top of that, he was just a great, great guy.

I just saw him on the street a few weeks ago, and he told me how much he was looking forward to going to see Gettin’ the Band Back Together. He sent me a note after our win for Once on this Island on this year’s Tony’s. He called me first with the idea of Superstar because of my ALW connection and he was so excited by the thought of it, you’d think it was his first production.  And he jumped at the chance to appear on my podcast (a must listen here).

He just loved what he did and loved people who were doing the same thing.

So if you’re working on a show right now, or in any way benefiting from the gold rush that we’re in, say a thank you to Craig . . . who I’m sure is somewhere high above right now, trying to figure out how to get Broadway musicals more representation.

The Top 5 Reasons Why Broadway Grossed Almost $2 billion bucks.

Last week, I wrote about the record-breaking reported Broadway gross of $1.7b (and why I believed it was more like $2b).

And this week, I want to talk about why we’re smashing records like a 1950s preacher who thinks rock-n-roll is the devil.

Broadway has been growing by leaps and bounds over the last few years and, while there are a number of reasons we are where we are, here are my top five.

1. It’s a Family Thing

There are more family musicals on Broadway now than there were decades ago.  This past season we had all the Disneys (including the new Frozen) as well as Anastasia, School of Rock, Charlie, and more.  And when you’ve got a family musical, the average customer’s order is more than 2 tickets.  More tickets = more bodies = more bucks.  And despite the increased number of shows that favor the family, we haven’t seemed to reach an oversaturation point.

2. There is no Top Price anymore

A little over 10 years ago, we introduced the “Premium Ticket,” which was a higher priced ticket for the better seats in the house.  In the past few years, the price of tickets has become fluid, rising (and falling) due to demand, just like an airline ticket.

And one trend that I’ve noticed lately is that most shows aren’t just relying on their General Managers to handle the complex process of analyzing and tweaking prices daily.  Producers are now hiring analysts either inside their ad agencies or independent experts to handle this for them.  Why?  It’s easy to justify the extra expense with the amount of money that could be made with even the slightest tweak up on ticket prices or the slightest tweak down on ticket prices (that moves more volume).

3. He’s The Boss . . . and Events

Certainly one of the biggest gross bumpers in the last season was the surprise long runner, Bruce Springsteen.  While everyone expected him to gross in the millions. . . no one expected him to stay this long!

While some have grumbled that he’s occupying a prime theater when a new musical or a new play could be in his spot, you won’t hear me complaining.  A short-term loss of a theater for the long-term effects of getting new audiences and frankly, just being able to say, “Broadway is so cool, Bruce Springsteen played here,” is worth it.

But The Boss isn’t the only one who has helped spike our numbers over the last few years.  We’ve had a lot of short-term fillers that have popped into theaters in-between bookings and added to our bottom line.  I’m talking shows like The Illusionists and Rocktopia.  Ok, ok, so those shows may not be what we want the world to think of when they think Broadway, but if a theater is dark, something is better than nothing.  (A dark theater is one of the most depressing things there is.)

4. The Hamilton Effect

Hamilton got a @#$% ton of press.  And still does!  A reporter at a local news org told me that her editors instructed her to write about Hamilton every chance she got because the views on each article were off the charts
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Hamilton was a lightning rod to our industry.  People were talking about it all over the world.  And when shows hit juggernaut status and are featured on The Grammys and on the cover of Rolling Stone, etc., that doesn’t just sell more tickets to Hamilton… it sells more tickets to Broadway.  It’s the trickle-down effect, and all of us are benefiting.

So if you see Lin-Manuel, say thanks.

5. We’re creating great content

The most important reason we’re killing it these days is the most simple and also the best way to build any business . . . we’re creating great product. Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, Come From Away . . . we haven’t put this many big-grossers on our boards since 1957-58, when West Side Story, My Fair Lady, and Music Man were all on the boards, or since Les Mis and Phantom opened a year apart.

Don’t let any fast-talking marketing guru sell you on billboards, direct mail, or remarketing as the secret to selling tickets. It is much simpler.  The best marketing in the world is creating a great product.

Yes, we’ve gotten a lot of attention over the past few years thanks to Hamilton, The Obamas attending Broadway shows, Glee, Smash, Live Telecasts, and more . . . but that attention wouldn’t convert to sales unless we were creating shows that people wanted to see.We’re rising to the challenge, and that’s something we should be proud of.

Want more of my analysis of our business?  I write five exclusive articles a month on marketing, our grosses, and more, solely for my Pros.  Click here for more.

Broadway Grosses w/e 4/29/2018: We’re down but does anyone care today?

The following are the Broadway grosses for the week ending April 29, 2018.
The Broadway grosses are courtesy of The Broadway League
Read more here:

Broadway Grosses w/e 4/22/2018: It’s coming down to the wire.

The following are the Broadway grosses for the week ending April 22, 2018.
The Broadway grosses are courtesy of The Broadway League
Read more here:

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