Podcast Episode #237: New Destination Only For TheaterMakers

ESTIMATED LISTENING TIME OF THIS EPISODE:  12 Minutes

 

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ABOUT THIS EPISODE:

When I was in college at Tisch, I, like every other student at NYU, tried to get into nightclubs on the weekend.

And for some reason, the fancy door people, with their super chic outfits, always turned me away. In hindsight, it might have something to do with my khaki pants from The Gap, white shirt from The Gap and blue blazer . . . from JCPenney.

I did get into one. Once. One of the ladies from my acting class at Strasberg took pity on me, and escorted me past the velvet rope on her arm. (You know who you are, and I’m still thankful.)

When I got inside, well, things got worse. 

Listen to this week’s episode to find out what happened AND how a nightclub inspired me to create a new place for the cool theater people.

 

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My mission is to get more people talking about the theater.  The more people talking about it, the more people who want to make it, perform it, support it, etc.  And that’s how theater not only survives, but thrives.

 

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I thank you and the theater thanks you!

June 11, 2021: What TheaterMakers Are Talking About This Week

Here’s what TheaterMakers were talking about this week . . .

 

1 – Bob Fosse’s Dancin’ Will Return to Broadway Next Season

A ‘contemporary celebration’ of Bob Fosse’s legacy is heading back to Broadway in the 2022-23 season. The show, which features a unique mix of songs (including Neil Diamond), will begin performances following a to-be-announced out of town engagement.

Read more: www.playbill.com 

 

2 – Musicians United for Social Equity Announces Two Mentorship Opportunities

Musicians United for Social Equity has announced two new mentorship programs for early to mid–career theatre musicians of color, aimed at achieving racial equity off stage on Broadway and beyond. Mentors include multiple Tony and Grammy winners that will give emerging professionals personalized programming opportunities. Applications for both programs are open now through the end of June. 

Read more: www.playbill.com 

 

3 – The Broadway League Announces Inaugural Juneteenth Event

The Broadway League is hosting the first ever Juneteenth celebration event, featuring several Broadway fan favorites. The free outdoor event aims to support and celebrate Black artists in the Broadway community and beyond. 

Read more: www.playbill.com 

 

4 – NYC is Planning a Central Park “Mega-Concert” with Producer Clive Davis

New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio is teaming up with legendary music producer Clive Davis to open NYC back up in style. The ‘mega-concert’ will take place on Central Park’s iconic Great Lawn this August with details to follow. 

Read more: www.Variety.com

 

5 – New York’s Beloved Drama Book Shop Reopens at New Location 

The beloved NYC Drama Book Shop is finally reopening its doors at its new location. Shoppers new and returning can make reservations to visit now. 

Read more: www.nytimes.com 

 

Fun on a Friday: 

Jimmy Fallon and Lin-Manuel Miranda sing of excitement for Broadway’s reopening in this star-studded clip.

 

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A politician teaches you how NOT to fundraise for your project

One of a Broadway Producer’s primary responsibilities is to raise money.  It’s what makes us different from Movie Producers, Record Producers, and TV Producers. 

I used to complain about it. But as a mentor of mine said, “Ken, that’s the game. If you don’t like it, go produce movies instead of theater.”

That shut me up big time. Because it reminded me that we have the choice to do whatever we want in this life. I choose the theater, with all its idiosyncrasies. And instead of complaining about what bugs me, I take the serenity prayer to heart. I accept the things I cannot change, and work with a positive attitude to change the things I can.

One profession who has to raise more money than a Broadway Producer is a Politician.

So, I watch how they do it like a hawk watching a hawk.

I learned a couple of things about how they do it pretty quickly:

  • They follow up and then follow up some more.
  • They come at you through email, text, phone calls, direct mail and would send a carrier pigeon if they could.
  • They’d love a big check, sure, they’ll take lots of littles ones too.
  • They’re good at it. Because their jobs depend on it.

 

Which is why I was so shocked when a certain political candidate I follow was effin’ up so badly.

I’m not going to name names, because, well, it makes no difference who it is. And I eff up all the time, and I wouldn’t want someone else pointing it out either. (Let he without a marketing sin, cast the first e-stone.)

So what was this politician (or his team, more precisely) doing to decrease his/her chance of raising money?

This politician sent out emails that described their fundraising efforts as follows:

“pacing behind our goal.”

“not great.”

“we expect to get pummelled . . . “

 

There are more, but you get their drift. And I’m sure you get why this is the wrong approach when raising money.

No one ever wants to throw money at a sinking ship. One of the most powerful marketing strategies is social proof – demonstrating that whatever it is you’re selling is popular with tons of people. Because people want to do what other people are doing. You see a long line at a restaurant or a night club? You want to know what’s going on. You see a lot of people with the same sneakers or handbag? It makes you curious.

So telling everyone that people AREN’T giving you money when you’re asking them over and over? That can drive people the other way!

Now, the exception to this rule would be if this politician was going to his or her inner circle with open and authentic asks for real help. But communicating this way with potential backers who you don’t know that well, is a surefire way to NOT raise money.

(You can bet that I didn’t click “donate now” when I read these emails.)

Remember, when approaching investors, always be honest with where you are with your fundraising. But down-in-the-dumps, negative-marketing, is rarely a solution to raising money.  Or anything, for that matter.

 

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Want more tips on raising money?  Get my book, How To Raise Money For The Arts or for Anything.

June 4, 2021: What TheaterMakers Are Talking About This Week

 

Here’s what TheaterMakers were talking about this week . . .

 

1 – Jordan Fisher Will Return to Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway When It Reopens

The Broadway production will resume its run at the Music Box Theatre on December 11. Jordan Fisher confirmed on Good Morning America that he would once again lead the company as Evan Hansen, alongside the company that was appearing in the show when theaters shut down.

Read  more: www.theatermania.com

 

 2 – Broadway & Beyond: Access for Stage Managers of Color has updated its website to include a contact database for stage managers of color 

Broadway & Beyond: Access for Stage Managers of Color provides opportunities to stage managers of color to learn from people in the industry and provide insights to help stage managers of color start, maintain, and advance a career in the arts through free networking and educational events.

Read more: www.broadwaybeyondaccess.com

 

3- Broadway’s Hottest Marketing Tool: Streaming Shows

The Pandemic has helped normalize streaming theater and it seems here to stay, and there’s a business model there.

Read more: www.variety.com

 

4 – Black Theatre Coalition Announces Paid Fellowship Program for Aspiring Theatre Makers

The application submissions will be accepted for six weeks beginning June 1, 2021 through July 16, 2021 with 12-month Fellowships.

Read more: www.broadwaynews.com

 

5 – New York City to Tie Tourism Campaign to In the Heights

NYC & Company, the city’s official tourism organization, is launching a campaign tied to the film to promote Washington Heights.

Read more: www.wsj.com

 

Fun on a Friday: 

Jordan Fisher performs ‘You Will Be Found’ from Dear Evan Hansen.

 

 


Want to be part of an online community of theatermakers? Join 1,000+ producers, writers, actors, directors, and more here. Best part? It’s completely free.

What I Learned About TheaterMaking From Those “As Seen On TV” Commercials.

I didn’t sleep much in my 20s. And 30s. And whenever I’m in tech.

I worked into the wee hours. It was lonely in my apartment (being an artrepreneur often is, am I right?), so I kept the television on.

And at about 2:30 AM, the late night shopping commercials started. For the Chia Pet, The Flowbee and those famed Ginsu knives.

They were distracting. And I found myself drawn to them . . . even considering purchasing a set of those knives . . . when I didn’t even cook!

Then I realized what worked about those commercials. And now the most successful plays and musicals from Show Boat to Hamilton, used a VERY similar technique.

I wrote about what you can learn about how to make a hit using this same strategy on The TheaterMakers Blog recently. Read it here.  

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