It’s official! Rave Theater Festival Coming Back in 2020. Dates are . . .

I mean, you can’t make this @#$% up.

Last year, I announced that my office was finding some scraps of time and money here and there to put together a brand new theater festival right here in the theater capital of the world.  Why?  Because, as I wrote here, festivals have become an endangered species in New York City.

And then, and punch me in the face if me putting that negative thought out in the universe helped make it happen, two weeks ago, the New York Musical Festival, my favorite festival in the world, announced it was closing its theater doors, now and forever.

And while NYMF was the Tiffany’s of musical theater festivals and many folks couldn’t afford to produce their shows at that level even if they got accepted, it still is a devastating loss to the TheaterMaker community.

Now look, we were so inspired by the artists and art that RAVE presented last year, not to mention the incredible response from the press that we received, that we were well on our way to committing to a second year.  But when we heard the news about NYMF, we knew we didn’t have a choice.

And then we added even more shows to this year’s RAVE lineup to try and make up the industry’s loss.

So, yaaaaasssss, RAVE is happening!  From July 24th – August 9th, 2020  And this year, we grabbed Off Broadway’s famous Soho Playhouse as our venue.

Submissions are NOW being accepted through March 1st, with a discount on your submission fee if you get it in by February 2nd.  Click here to apply.

Oh, and if you were one of the submitters to NYMF this year . . . your submission fee is on us.  Check here to see how to get your free entry.

If you made a New Year’s Resolution to get your show or your career into 2nd, 3rd or 4th gear this year, then submit your script now.

If your script isn’t completed yet, or even if you don’t have a script, you’ve got plenty of time to finish it and submit.   You never know what may happen if you do . . . you definitely know what will happen if you do not.  (Nothing!)

We will see you there.

Visit www.RaveTheaterFestival.com for more information.

Podcast Episode 205: Our Season Finale Mashup! In case you missed . . .

And in the blink of a podcast, our fall season has vanished like the leaves on the trees.

It’s been an exciting few months of podcastin’ for us and when I thought about how best to wrap up this season, I thought . . . what would Happy Days do?

Some of my favorite episodes of my favorite childhood sitcoms like Happy Days and Different Strokes and Silver Spoons (I so wanted to be Ricky Schroeder) were the compilation episodes that tied together the best scenes from the best episodes of the series.

So that’s what we did for you!

For this season finale, we mashed-up clips from all of our guests throughout the season!  Listened to them already?  Be reminded of some of the truth bombs and greatest lessons.  Missed an episode? This is a chance for you to get the cliff notes!

You’ll get some of the top takeaways, stories, and maybe even me beatboxing.

Listen in and hear: 

  • Anthony Veneziale’s key to success when starting out 
  • Ali Stroker’s “ninja patience” and how she gets through any challenge that comes her way
  • How building a career outside of Broadway helped Mara Isaacs to see Broadway differently and why she wants to maintain her “outsider status” for as long as she can
  • Why Alan Cumming feels it’s so important to not try to pretend to be perfect all of the time
  • And much, much more!

Enjoy . . . and if you like this mashup idea, let me know and we’ll do it again!

  • 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.

Thank you to Julie Halston, Mark Sendroff, Stephanie Lee, Susan Blackwell, Adam Gwon, Anthony Veneziale, Ali Stroker, Mara Isaacs, Charlotte Wilcox, Ken Cerniglia, Glen Kelly, and Alan Cumming for joining me on the podcast this season!  

If there’s anyone you want to hear from next season, let me know. I want to bring in who the listeners want to hear. Message me your requests on Instagram and I’ll do my best to get them on the podcast next season! And while you wait for us to come back (mark your calendars!) on February 24th, catch up on the rest of the 200+ episodes here!

Thanks, Terry Knickerbocker, for supporting this episode. 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. For more information, visit terryknickerbockerstudio.com

The final #SongWriterOfTheWeek for the 2019 season is . . . Kerrigan-Lowdermilk! And my good friend and Godspell company member, Lindsay Mendez is singing their song called Hand in Hand from their immersive house party musical THE BAD YEARS. If you like what you hear and want to learn more, check out www.kerrigan-lowdermilk.com or @kerrigan_lowdermilk on Instagram.   

Happy holidays and “see” you back on the podcast for the spring season in February!

Podcast Episode 197: No “Ordinary” Composer/Lyricist, Mr. Adam Gwon

One of the super fun parts about being in this biz for a bit is that you get to watch the careers of folks you admire go from someone that no one is talking about to someone that everyone is talking about.

And that someone is today’s guest, Mr. Adam Gwon, who broke through with his musical, Ordinary Days and is about to open Scotland, PA at the Roundabout Theater (which I’m proud to be helping along the way).

Adam is on everyone’s “watch list,” like a financial advisor might be watching a stock, just waiting for it to turn into the next Apple.

We sat down with only a microphone between us to talk about his status as a writer-to-watch, as well as . . .

  • How he transitioned from writing 3-minute songs to 3-hour musicals.
  • Choosing a collaborator:  The true story of the “3 blind dates” he went on before he made the choice to write Scotland, PA with Michael Mitnick.
  • How not having an answer to a question led him to create Ordinary Days.
  • Does Broadway mean you’re a success AKA what it’s like to still be “emerging” despite being produced all over the world?
  • What it’s like being a Tony Award Nominator

Enjoy the podcast, and then, go enjoy Scotland, PA, currently in previews 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.

This week’s #SongwriterOfTheWeek is Anna Jacobs and Michael R. Jackson!  Check out “I Want To Choose” from their musical TEETH at the end of this episode. If you enjoyed the outro music in this episode, go on over to www.annakjacobs.com/ & www.thelivingmichaeljackson.com for more tunes.

This week’s 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. While the conservatory training is based on the Meisner Technique, Terry Knickerbocker Studio offers a holistic approach to actor training with a commitment to nurturing the total actor: Mind, Body, and Soul. For more information, please visit www.TerryKnickerbockerStudio.com.

TREND ALERT: Is the new model for musical revivals on Broadway NOT to be on Broadway?

This past season there were only two musical revivals on Broadway.  And one of the duo was produced by a non-profit.

And next season, I only see one comin’ . . .

Why the sudden lack?  Are we running out of musicals to revive?  Are they so reliant on stars that they’re becoming more difficult to cast?  Is their limited shelf life not as attractive to a theater owner compared to a new musical?  Are Producers shying away from revivals because they’ve just become harder to make a nickel . . . never mind a dime?

Having produced a couple of very critically acclaimed revivals that couldn’t find a path to profitability, including the Tony-winning Once On This Island and the Tony-nominated Spring Awakening, I can say from first-hand experience that the answer is yes to all of those questions.

So is it time for a new model for the musical revival?

Seems like there are now three options . . .

1 – The massive must-see event, like Hello, Dollywith Bette or The Music Man with Hugh (By the way, here’s a Broadway investing tip – if your star only has to be referred to by a first name, it’s a solid bet)

2 – The non-profit production (My Fair Lady or The King and or Kiss Me Kate)

Or, the 3rd model . . . which, is the real shocker . . .

3 – Take it Off-Broadway

!!!

I KNOW!  You never thought Off-Broadway would be a model for anything these days, did you?  But with the man-eating plant sized announcement of the Off-Broadway production of Little Shop of Horrors this week with Jonathan Groff, Tammy Blanchard and Christian Borle, Off-Broadway musicals revivals are now officially a thing.

Trends happen in sets of three, and Little Shop is the third big ol’ revival to forego Broadway for more intimate pastures.  There was the tiny Sweeney that recouped . . . the Yiddish Theatre Company production of Fiddler, still running at the previously cursed Stage 42 . . . and now the revival of the classic Ashman/Menken musical, which I’m sure has musical theater fans all over willing to prick their fingers and bleed for tickets.  (And the buzz on the street is that the announcement of Little Shop sold a @#$%-ton of tickets on its first day . . . maybe even a record for a commercial Off-Broadway production.)

The success of Little Shop could bust this trend wide open.  Already the show is demonstrating that stars (including its Tony winning Director, Michael Mayer) will work Off-Broadway, and that some shows just belong Off-Broadway (the other rumor is that the Authors of Little Shop insisted the show go to the same type of small theater it played when it opened decades ago.)

And maybe, just maybe, high profile Off-Broadway musical revivals could get the Tony Awards paying attention and honoring what happens Off-Broadway.

And maybe, just maybe, Off-Broadway would no longer be a thing and like London, we’d just have Theater in NY.

Wouldn’t that be amazing?

Big props to the Producers of Little Shop for this adventurous move.  Let this be the start of something . . . small.

Get tickets to Little Shop here.


Want to hear more about the pros and cons of Off-Broadway, and how to navigate its challenging waters?  Come listen to Broadway and Off-Broadway A-listers talk about their success stories, and how you can succeed, at our TheaterMaker SuperConference.  Click here for more.  Early bird special disappearing soon.

SPINOFF ALERT: A New Broadway and Off-Broadway General Management Company

People ask me all the time what I look for when I’m hiring an employee.

That’s a complicated question, especially when you need someone with expert knowledge and specific skill sets, never mind someone who will not only hit goals but crush them . . . and fit in with your company culture.

But the simplest answer is . . . I like to hire people who have the same entrepreneurial spirit that I do and have had since I started a candy selling business in my Dad’s doctor’s office when I was seven years old.  (Yes, that’s right, I sold chocolate bars to heart patients.)

In other words, I like to hire people who want to build stuff.

Including their own businesses.

That’s why my Producers Perspective Pro Community Manager has her own photography business, why my Marketing Director has her own custom coloring book business . . . and why when my Davenport Theatrical General Manager, Ryan Conway . . . who helped me bring Spring Awakening to Broadway in 83 days, who helped me figure out how to live stream Daddy Long Legs, and who came up with a workable budget for Once On This Island with its 20 Actors in a theater with only 700 odd seats . . . came to me and said, “I want to run my own General Management Company and take outside clients,” I said . . . “Absolutely, yes.  How can I help?”

Honestly, it’s hard to let go of something you built.  I founded our Management Company with the same style that I used to Company Manage and General Manage shows, thanks to the mentorship I got from folks like Nina Lannan, Wendy Orshan, Charlotte Wilcox, Frank Scardino, and so many others.  So it means a lot to me.

And it’s hard to think about sharing someone like Ryan (I was an only child, after all).  But frankly, I was so supportive of Ryan heading up this endeavor because . . .

1) He wanted to, and he has been so helpful with the many things (some of them nuts!) I wanted to do.

2) He has been so instrumental in getting my shows off the ground, that I know he can help many others do the same.  And by unleashing his industry knowledge, crackerjack negotiating style, and unflappable positive attitude on shows with other Producers, he can help me with my #5000by2025 mission.

So it is my pleasure to announce that DTE Management has been spun off to create a new Broadway and Off-Broadway General Management Company called Architect Theatrical, run by President Ryan Conway.

And they’re open for business.

I took a chance on Ryan years ago when he walked into my office to interview for the Company Management position on Macbeth.  And that chance has turned into one of the most successful business partnerships and friendships I’ve ever had.

If you have a show you’re looking to get on Broadway, Off-Broadway, on tour, or frankly, you don’t know where it should go yet, I’d give him a chance as well.

Because (like he did with me) I guarantee he’ll help guide you to where you want to go.

You can reach Ryan and the folks at Architect here.

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