April 16, 2021: What TheaterMakers Are Talking About This Week

From the announcement of the first show to open in NYC to top theatres acting to root out ‘system failure’ of racism to Lin Manuel Miranda and Mayor DiBlasio opening up a vaccination center in Times Square. . . here’s what TheaterMakers were talking about this week . . .

 

1 – PERFECT CRIME to Reopen as First Show with Equity-Approved Cast in New York

It has been officially approved and announced by the Actors’ Equity Association that Perfect Crime will reopen. The show is set to open beginning April 17th and will be the first show to open with an Equity-approved cast in New York City.

Read more: broadwayworld.com

 

2 – ‘The heat is on’: top theatres act to root out ‘system failure’ of racism

“The Young Vic and Royal Court theatres have entered into a process that aims to root out systemic racism from their venues. Both London institutions have signed a partnership with the social enterprise Sour Lemons that will interrogate the internal structures that uphold institutional racism, raise awareness and accountability, and listen to staff’s experiences of racism inside the buildings.”

Read more: theguardian.com

 

3 – ‘Bridgerton The Musical’ TikTok Creators Abigail Barlow & Emily Bear Sign With CAA

Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, creators of the viral TikTok smash Bridgerton The Musical, have signed with CAA and Kraft-Engel Management.” The duo first came into the spotlight because of their viral Bridgerton-inspired number in January. They’ve been documenting the journey on TikTok, with their songs and performances reaching more than 165 million views with fans all over the world.

Read More: deadline.com

 

4 – T. Fellowship to be renamed in honor of Hal Prince

The T. Fellowship has been renamed the Prince Fellowship in honor of its founder, the late Hal Prince. The 2021 Prince Fellowship, which will open up applications at the end of April, will run from September 2021 through August 2022. 

Read more: broadwaynews.com

 

5 – Lin-Manuel Miranda, de Blasio open Broadway vaccination site in Times Square

A vaccination center was opened on Monday in Times Square for all Broadway workers. Appointments will be reserved for the community of theatermakers living in NY and working on Broadway. The center will be staffed by fellow community members, including “Wicked” company manager Susan Sampliner.  

Read More: broadwaynews.com

 

Fun on a Friday: The Late Show spoofed Hamilton with a ‘My Shot’ vaccine parody

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April 9, 2021: What TheaterMakers Are Talking About This Week

From Actors’ Equity releasing new protocols for fully vaccinated productions to the first performance in a Broadway theater since March 2020, here’s what TheaterMakers were talking about this week . . . 

 

1 – Broadway Reopened. For 36 Minutes. It’s a Start.

This event showcased the dancer Savion Glover and the actor Nathan Lane, where they performed before a masked audience of 150 scattered across one of the biggest Broadway Theaters, St. James. This event was the first such experiment since the coronavirus pandemic caused to close on March 12, 2020. It’s the first step home — the first of many,” said Jordan Roth. “This is not, ‘Broadway’s back!’ This is ‘Broadway is coming back!’ And we know it can because of this.”

Read more: nytimes.com

 

2 – Wear a Mask, Avoid Intermission: Lessons from the Covid Think Tank Town Hall 

The rapid rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine has increased new and improved ideas and optimism about indoor theater swiftly reopening in the U.S. In addition to the vaccine, testing, enhanced theater ventilation, and continued mask-wearing is also the key to gradually restarting the industry. Their plan for reopening? “Plan now,” Dr. Smith said. “Even if you don’t have a go-live date…There are so many layers. There’s a lot to think about and to talk about.”

Read More: broadwayjournal.com

 

3 – COVID Passports: Entertainment venues air concerns over plans

The government has said Covid-status certificates could be used at theatres, nightclubs, and festivals starting in June. They could be used to prove vaccination or testing. They will be trialing this at events at venues in Liverpool, as well as sporting events. 

Read more: bbc.com 

 

4 – Actors’ Equity releases new safety protocols for vaccinated productions

The new guidelines come after the backlash from the community about previous protocols. Absent from these protocols are the requirements of private transportation to and from theaters, as well as the need for Plexiglas and 12 feet of distance on stage. Those regulations are still included in documents for indoor theater productions without a fully vaccinated workforce.

Read More: broadwaynews.com

 

5 – Neil Diamond Bio-Musical Sets Sights on Broadway

A Beautiful Noise is set to run for four weeks at the Emerson Colonial Theater Boston in 2022, the show’s producers, Ken Davenport and Bob Gaudio announced on Tuesday. They plan to bring the production to Broadway following that run.

Read more: nytimes.com

 

FUN ON A FRIDAY! Josh Groban’s New Song

Bush’s Beans and Josh Groban teamed up to give the bean the ballad it deserves.

 

 

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Yes, my Podcast Is Back! But like everything else . . .

I started my podcast 6 years ago.

And when the pandemic hit, I put it on pause, along with so many other things I was working on.  (The podcasted pivoted to my livestream, actually.  And if you want a real throwback, go back and watch those early episodes – when we had NO idea how long the shutdown was going to be.)

Now, as we start to move our muscles again and get ready for our return, I’m bringing the podcast back!

Buuuuuuuut, in the post-pandemic world nothing will ever be like it was, and neither will our podcast.  Like everything else . . . it’s gonna be different.

I used to have chats with Industry A-listers about their perspective on TheaterMaking.  (And you can listen to the 200+ episodes of that here.)

But now . . . I wanted to do something different.  So once again, I’m pivoting.

So now, I’m going to give you what I think you really want . . . something SHORTER!  🙂

Every Monday, I’m going to deliver a 5-15 minute micro-episode giving you the quick upshot of a timely, topical (and sometimes controversial) subject facing Broadway.  It’ll keep you in the know, and give you an insight into how I make theater.

And these episodes will also be where I answer the questions I get from YOU in my inbox.  So if you’ve got a question, email it to me: ken@theproducersperspective.com.  And you just might hear my answer as well as a shoutout to you on the podcast on an upcoming episode.

The first one is live right now.

Subject?  it’s all about the steps Broadway is going to take towards full operation (because believe me – it’s not going to happen all at once – and every step has a potential disaster.)

 

Listen in on my perspective.

And follow the Podcast on Apple Podcast!

Here’s what I have to say on the Anniversary of the Broadway Shutdown.

Today marks one year.  365 days.  525,600 minutes.  Without a single performance on Broadway.

What a downer, right?

No.

Not from this Producer’s perspective.

How can I look at the last year like it’s a good thing?

Because we’re still here.  I’m still here. You’re still here.  We.  Are.  Still.  Here.

We made it through what will be the longest shutdown in the history of Broadway . . . ever.  Yep, I’ll bet you the capitalization of Spider-Man right now that we will never, ever experience this length of time without a Broadway show ever again.

We may have a shutdown again (as I wrote about here, but this severe?  Nope.  Never again.

Yet we’re still here.

And we did some amazing pivoting over the past year to keep on creatin’, from streaming shows to drive-ins show and more. Never . . . ever . . . underestimate the creativity of a TheaterMaker.  We make art in black boxes, for goodness sake.  You didn’t think we can survive this?

We’re not out of the woods yet.  There is a giant still lurking around.  But we are getting there.  And we will get there.

So as we look back over the past year, and so many websites and social media posts lament our “lost year,” I’m going to celebrate it.

Because we made it.  And if we can make it through this, we can make it through an-y-thing.

And as of today, we made it through a year!  A year without being able to do what we all love to do, whether that’s produce theater, perform in theater, direct theater, invest in theater, etc.

If you’re looking for a community of TheaterMakers like yourself during the shutdown, click here.

That’s it! No more surveys about THIS!

Usually, I love a survey.

I’m a big-time tester when it comes to understanding what our audience wants.

I survey theatergoers about all sorts of things.  I ask if they think a book or movie would make a good musical.  I ask what they thought of Act II. I ask whether a logo makes them want to learn more about a show.  (Side note about this last one.  Note that I didn’t say “whether a logo makes them want to buy a ticket.  Because logos don’t do that – so stop stressing.  But good ones can make people lean in and want to learn more.)

I even got this write-up in the New York Times years ago for being the first Broadway Producer to incorporate dial testing for a developing show. (Shocker – some of the old guard didn’t like this approach.)

So what am I so peeved about a certain type of survey that has been circulating every month or so?

Because it’s a survey in a vacuum.

The offending survey . . . you know the one . . . asks audience members IF they feel comfortable returning to the theater NOW and if they are not comfortable WHEN they will feel comfortable?  (By the way, I’ll admit – even I’ve asked this question every so often . . . so I’m blog-spanking myself here as well.)

I’m sure it does NOT surprise you to hear that a majority of the people in the country are NOT comfortable returning to the theater right now.  And they are not excited about returning anytime soon.

Of course they aren’t!  Because the majority of big theaters aren’t open yet.  Because it’s not safe to open them yet!

We, as human beings, live in the now.  It’s hard for us to imagine in the future feeling a different way than the way we feel right now.  If we are anxious and worried . . . it’s hard to imagine that going away, no matter what someone says (especially if it’s an online survey!) . . .

So these surveys are not realistic attitude-checks on when theatergoers will return.

You want to get a more accurate assessment?  Survey ONLY the vaccinated people.  Ask them how comfortable they are to return.  Something tells me you’ll get a different response.

It’s like . . . well . . . when all those surveys in the fall announced a high percentage of hesitancy for the vaccine.  When the vaccine wasn’t approved yet!  Now?  Websites are crashing under high demand, vaccine sites are overrun when excess supply rumors abound, and more.

Unfortunately, we’re not going to be able to rely on surveys to ease our concern here.  Because everything is changing so fast . . . and it’s literally life and death. We have to give in to the fact that it’s going to be a white-knuckle ride as we get Broadway back up and running.  Will the audience come?  Will they come quickly?

My feeling?

Get them vaccinated.  Put proper protocols in place.  And entertain them like they’ve never been entertained before.

And look out, Telecharge and Ticketmaster, because your websites just might crash under high demand too.


 The Nutshell Technique Workshop for TheaterMakers is Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 10th at 7 PM – 9 PM EST (Live “Nutshelling” from 9-9:30) Sign up here.

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