Should There Be A Ratings System for Broadway?

 

Back in 1968, our sister industry, the cinema, came out with a film ratings system to give parents some at-a-glance guidance as to whether or not a film was appropriate for the whole family.

It has evolved over the years, with added categories (PG13, NC17), and it’s the subject of controversy every now and again over what constitutes one rating over another.

And they’ve even expanded to other forms of entertainment like video games!

As Broadway has become more focused on the family, do we think a theater ratings system is next?

Sure, our ticketing companies ask us for “suggested ages” in our show descriptions.  But should we be doing more?  Would that help biz?  Or hurt?  Are we an art form?  Should it not matter? (We don’t see ratings at museums, do we?)

I do know that one of the most commonly submitted questions to the websites of shows I’ve produced is always, “Is this appropriate for my X-year-old child?”

It’s a tough one for us Producers to answer . . . because every parent is different, and let’s face it, we Producers want the sale.  And in a business that doesn’t like to refund, are consumers holding back on buying tickets to certain shows because they don’t know if it’s appropriate or not?

Should an independent party come in to rate the shows as a service to the theater-going community? Would shows adopt it unless they were forced?

I’m not so sure, but a former box office staffer thinks ratings belong on Broadway and has even built a website with some ratings guidelines to get everyone talking.

Check it out here.

And let me know what you think . . . are ratings good or bad for Broadway?  Comment below.

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Thank you for making Broadway Investing 101, my new book on Broadway Investing, the #1 best seller on Amazon.com!  Get it for only $2.99 until March 15th here.

 

We wrote the book on Broadway Investing. Literally.

Let me take you back in time . . . to when I was a young pup, looking to get into the game of producing and investing in Broadway shows.

I looked everywhere for a guide on how to get involved only to find . . . there was jack @#$% available anywhere on how to do it.

I eventually figured stuff out on my own, through trial (and quite a few) errors, and I vowed that one day when I knew more, I’d go public with the info in the hopes to help of helping folks avoid the mistakes that I made.

In the midst of all this, I crowdfunded my Broadway revival of Godspell in 2011.  Thousands of people expressed interested in investing, which made me realize just how many people out there were interested but had previously been hesitant to start investing.  Not only did they not know the ins-and-outs, but they didn’t know how to get started investing in an industry that has such a high-risk reputation.

Flash forward to today, when Broadway investing has become more popular than ever, thanks to the booming Broadway box office and the lightning rod of press we’ve received from hits like Hamilton,  telecasts like Jesus Christ Superstar, and more.

More people are interested . . . but based on the questions people ask me, there still wasn’t much information to be found.

That made me nervous.

See, while I love that people are interested in investing in Broadway, I want to make sure that when they do invest, they do so with the information they need to invest (combined) with the right expectations and the right strategies to maximize their chance of a positive experience, financially, artistically and emotionally.  (I often say that investing in Broadway is the riskiest investment you’ll ever love to make.)

So I thought . . . there should be a book about Broadway Investing.  I know when I get involved in a new area in my life, be it golfing or parenthood, I read a book about it.

But there wasn’t one on Broadway Investing.

So I wrote one.

And I’m thrilled to say you can pre-order it right now on Amazon.com . . . for only $2.99.

The price will jump up to $19.99 when we’re officially on the “shelf,” on March 15th, but since I think the information in the book is important for anyone even remotely interested in investing in Broadway (and for those of you looking to raise money from investors as well), I wanted to offer a super low opportunity for you to get it now.  In fact, this is as low as Amazon will allow, actually.

So if you want to know . . .

  • What happens to your money after you invest.
  • How does money get returned to you?
  • What are the perks and benefits you MUST ask for when investing in order to maximize your returns?
  • The biggest mistakes first time Broadway Investors make
  • My strategies for picking shows that decrease your risk and increases your chance of finding a big hit.

. . . then click here and grab Broadway Investing 101 for only $2.99.

Oh, and as a bonus, each purchase includes a link to an online appendix that includes tons of free materials including sample documents, budgets, exclusive research from actual investors, and more.  It’s the only treasure chest of information available that is especially for the current or future Broadway Investor.

So grab the only book available all about Broadway Investing . . . and let me know what you think.

I hope it helps you find the next Hamilton.  🙂

Get it for only $2.99 until March 15th here.

UPDATE:  The book has already been put on Playbill.com’s list of books to read this Spring!

Broadway Grosses w/e 2/24/2019: Steady Box Office as Spring Openings Line Up.

The following are the Broadway grosses for the week ending February 25, 2018.
The Broadway grosses are courtesy of The Broadway League
Read more here:

How Theater Can Save The Malls . . . of America.

I spent my teenage years either at the mall, going to the mall, or coming from the mall.  Give me an Orange Julius, a Chess King, and a Spencer Gifts and I might as well have been at Disney World.

Now?  Shoot, my 10-Month-old daughter probably won’t even know what a Mall is unless she watches a future Netflix documentary when she’s 15 called, “What the @#$% happened to the Malls?”

Because they are going out of business.  And fast.

Here’s just one of the tons of articles about the “death of the Mall” and how these giant monstrosities are becoming the drive-in movies of our time.  Just last week, Mall staple Payless shoes announced they were closing all their US stores, another victim to the online retail movement.

All that empty real estate gave me an idea, which honestly I just stole from the successful Storefront Theater movement in Chicago.

That’s right . . . you see where I’m going with this, don’t you?

See, shopping for stuff in stores is out.

Live entertainment is in.

If I were a Mall with a bunch of empty storefronts, I’d invite new emerging organizations in . . . and start a Mall Theater Movement.

Imagine a former Payless that housed a children’s theater company.  Or an ex-Sharper Image store turned into a home for a Shakespeare troupe company.  Or heck, a pop-up haunted house around Halloween, Rudolph at Christmas, or even a “Little Shop of Horrors” in the former pet store.

So many of these Mall storefronts are empty and tons of artists need space for their shows, so why not?

There are probably even some tax savings for the Mall Cos. just for cutting non-profits good deals on rent, never mind all the goodwill these big corps would get.

A Mall Theatre Company is an example of a win-win.  You use what people are excited about these days (LIVE!  EXPERIENCES!) to infuse energy into the areas where they’re not excited (MALLS!).

Like it?

I do.  So here’s what I’m going to do.  I’m going to email/snail mail this blog to all the big Mall companies out there and hope that something takes root.

BUT there’s probably an even better, faster solution for YOU to get a space for YOUR show at a Mall.  Go there yourself.  Cut a deal.  Make something happen.  Be one of our #5000By2025 by taking the Mall into your own hands.

Someone had to be the first theater company in Chicago to move into a storefront. And look at what has happened as a result.  An entire movement!

Here’s to you starting a movement of your own.

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Want to know how to promote your show and yourself in this biz?  Click here for an action plan on how to do get yourself out there, even if you hate the idea of having to!

How to get yourself out there and Promote Urself (even if you don’t want to) and why you must.

If you follow the blog, then you know that last year I set a pretty ambitious of a goal, to help get 5000 shows produced by the year 2025 (#5000By2025).

Things are going along swimmingly with some amazing success stories so far.   But the more Theater Makers I talk to along our journey, the more I realize some of the things holding them back.

And that’s when we kick into high gear to try and come up with a solution to help them break through to the other side.

One trend that I’ve noticed is this fear of promoting oneself or just the lack of knowledge of how to do it.  And who can blame anyone for getting lost in the sea of social media, hashtags, websites, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc., etc . . . and there’s probably a new platform called etc.!

And how the heck do you even find the time to do it all?

But here’s the one thing I know for a fact . . . if you’re not promoting yourself . . . no one will.

And, if you’re not promoting yourself, someone else is certainly promoting themselves, and they will, without a doubt, have an advantage over you in this business.

Period.

How do I know this?

Oh, because I’ve been known to google an actor’s name during an audition to check on the number of social media followers they have (and this is a super common practice in Hollywood).  I’ve come to like the work of a designer through an Instagram account.  YouTube videos from songwriters have gotten me to reach out and find out what show the writers were working on next.

Years ago, before all this stuff existed, everyone was on the same playing field.  Everyone had the same basic marketing tools in their toolbox.  A resume.  A phone.  The mail.  And their work.

Now, that toolbox is ever-expanding, and when you know how to work all those tools, you can get to your goals so much faster.

But you have to do three things . . .

  1.  Acknowledge that marketing is essential.
  2.  Admit what you know and what you don’t.
  3.  Take action today to improve.

Since we’ve got a lot of shows to help get on in the next six years, we decided to put together a conference on exactly this subject.  Introducing PromoteU:  The Marketing and Productivity Conference for Theatre-Makers.

On Friday, May 17th, join me and some superstar speakers including Broadway Star Sierra Boggess, YouTube sensation Tyler Mount, Branding Guru Tony Howell, and more to be announced when we spend a day breaking down how you can get yourself out there, get more gigs, and enjoy it in the process.

We’re going to have sessions all about:

  • Finding Your Brand: Creating Your Branding Toolkit
  • How to Use Social Media to Gain Loyal Fans
  • Creating a Website that Tells (and Sells) Your Story
  • Lightning Round Deep-Dives on Specific Social Media Platforms
  • Productivity and Accountability Tools for Artists
  • And Much More.

And, the conference will also include:

  • Expert Keynotes and Presentations from Marketing, Branding and Creative Experts
  • Valuable Networking Opportunities in Our Private Facebook Group AND at Our 2-Hour Networking Open-Bar Party
  • 3 Months of Follow-Up Accountability Training from Our Team of Experts

You’ll leave armed with a specific plan of attack and all the tools necessary to build your own marketing campaign for whatever kind of Theatre Maker you are . . . Writer, Director, Actor, Producer, and more.

And we’re even adding in three months of accountability check-ins after the conference to make sure you stay productive and focused.

You can learn more about it and register here.  Just do so quickly, as we’re in a theater half the size of our Super Conference, so the seats won’t last.

I hope you’ll come.  Because I know what we’re going to share with you is going to work.  Because marketing always works.

And everything and everyone requires marketing to get ahead in 2019.  And the unfortunate truth is, if you’re not marketing your brand, then you’re not just standing still . . . you’re falling behind.  Sorry to have to say it like that.

But this conference will help.  In fact, here’s a promise for you . . . if you’re not in a better position with your career after the conference and the built-in coaching, just drop me a note, and I’ll refund you the price of your conference ticket.  Simple.

Register here.  And prepare to be a productive promoting machine . . . without even looking like you’re promoting anything.

See you at PromoteU on May 17th!

 

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