Stuck somewhere for another 30 Days? (Who isn’t?) Try this.

Even though some areas of the country are loosening their restrictions a touch, it looks like we’re all still gonna be stuck inside for the next 30 days.

Sigh.

I know, I know, believe me.

And while it’s important to feel all the feelings that we’re ALL feeling about not being allowed to live like we used to live . . .

It’s also important to do what Stephen Schwartz said on my very second livestream:

“We can look at this as an opportunity – that we’ve been given a gift of time we might not ordinarily have.”

At the beginning of every month, we always send out a tweet about our 30 Day Script Challenge, the free program we created to help TheaterMakers get those great ideas out of your head and on to a page (because only then can they get on a stage).

But never before has this Challenge seemed more timely.

Because while things won’t be back to “normal” in 30 days, this gift of time is running out. So if you said to yourself, “I’m going to take advantage of this time and finally write that thing I’ve always wanted to write,” but still haven’t written it . . . sign up for the challenge. It’s free. And what’s the worst thing that could happen . . . you still don’t write it? You end up exactly where you are now?

Now, ask yourself . . . what’s the best thing that could happen? Seriously. What could happen when you finish the script?

The answer?

Anything.

So go for it. It’s free. It’s fun. And it works. Our 30 Day Script Challenge has produced more scripts than we can count from past participants.

The next 30 Day Script Challenge starts in just 3 days, on June 1st, so sign up today. And just think – by July 1st, you’ll have a completed first draft.

Take the Challenge here.

(Oh – we recently surveyed past participants on how to improve The Challenge – and we got some fantastic suggestions from “check-ins,” coaching, “what do I do when it’s done” action steps and more – so I hired Eric Webb, added some tech features, and more to create an “Ultimate” version which you can see here.)

BROADWAY’S RECOVERY PART I: What Will It Look Like?

Since the pandemic began, Economists have been obsessing about how quickly the economy is going to bounce back after this sucker is over (or . . . over “enough.”)

Will we have a “V” shaped recovery?  Or a “U” shaped?  Or my favorite . . . a Nike Swoosh shape?

Since the pandemic began, Broadway Producers (including the one composing this hypothesis right now) have been obsessing about how quickly Broadway is going to bounce back.

My prediction . . .

Broadway is going to bounce back . . . and fast.

What’s unique about our industry is that it doesn’t follow any of the typical shapes of recovery because we went from 100 mph to zero in NO seconds flat.  We were grossing $30 million a week on Broadway alone . . . and then we were zero dollars the next week.  We slammed into a COVID-19 wall.

Even restaurants have take-out options.  Bands that can’t give concerts can sell albums.  Broadway shows?  We got nothing.  (Hint for next time – and there will be a next time, as I’ll talk about next week  –  all shows should be captured for potential streaming opportunities.)

So if I had to give our recovery a shape, I guess it would look something like this . . .

(FYI, I spent about an hour trying to figure out what to call that shape.  I tried everything from “Deformed Bucket Recovery” to “The Fishing Hook Recovery” . . . what would you call it?)

You can see that we had that immediate wall-smacking drop off on 3/12 . . . and of course, an immediate and completely 90% vertical BLAST OFF when(ever) our curtains go back up.

Now, the more interesting part . . . what happens AFTER that straight-into-the-sky return.  Well, you’ll see that I’m not predicting we’re going to start grossing $30mm a week like we were when we shut down.  For one, there will probably be fewer shows, which means less of a gross potential, never mind fewer tourists to see those shows.  (PS – That diagram above is definitely NOT to scale)

So we’re going to start off earning less than when we were.

How much less?

That depends on what I call The Three Ts:

  1. Testing
  2. Treatment
  3. TIME (How many weeks/months do we have from knowing when we can come back to the actual day we come back.)

Nevertheless, I do believe we will see a quick upward trajectory after we return.  (The stock market is having that sort of bounce – and believe it or not, we do tend to follow the dow’s chart, as I showed here.)

But my belief in a quick Broadway bounce back is not some hunch.  I have THREE reasons why I think we’re in store for a quick recovery.

What are they?

I’ll tell you tomorrow in PART II!

– – – – –

(Can’t wait to read PART II?  Want it now?  I already wrote it.  Click here to get it to emailed to you NOW.)









Tonight on the Livestream: I’m sitting down with Lynn Ahrens (Lyricist of Once On This Island, Ragtime, Anastasia) at 8pm EDT. You can now watch on my Facebook pageTwitter, Broadway Podcast Network’s Youtube channel, or Broadway On Demand.

THIS WEEK ON THE LIVESTREAM: Lynn Ahrens, Kelly Devine, Adrian Bryan-Brown and more!

We had a week of big laughs on last week’s Livestream, and not just because I can’t seem to get through an episode without screwing something up.  🙂

If you missed any of the industry experts we had on the show, or just want to see my ‘live bloopers’, here are a few replays from last week to catch up on!

  • Mara Isaacs talked about her company Theater For One and how it’s perfect for Social Distancing for theatre.
  • Jamil Jude shared his insight to how regional theaters will bounce back stronger than ever.
  • Michael Greif talked about his relationship with writers Pasek & Paul and Jonathan Larson and how the piece develops when you have great collaborators.
  • The Daddy Long Legs Reunion brought together the entire team for the first in nearly five years and we chatted about fond memories, how the show came together, and what important prop is living in Megan and Adam’s apartment.
  • Des McAnuff shared his insight on

You can see all of the 50+ episodes here.

AND HERE IS WHO IS ON THE LIVE STREAM THIS WEEK:

Tuesday, May 26th – Lynn Ahrens (Composer – Ragtime, Once On This Island, Anastasia)

Wednesday, May 27th – Lisa Kron (Playwright/Bookwriter – Fun Home) with Special Guests Daddy-Daughter YouTube Singing Sensations Mat and Savanna Shaw.

Thursday, May 28th – Kelly Devine (Choreographer – Diana, Come From Away, Rocky)

Friday, May 29th – Adrian Bryan-Brown (President – Boneau/Bryan-Brown: Broadway Theatre Public Relations).

We are going LIVE every night at 8pm EDT (7pm CDT/ 6pm MDT/ 5pm PDT). Follow me on Facebook to get notified as soon as we hit the “GO LIVE” button.

Don’t have Facebook? You can also watch the livestream on Broadway Podcast Network’s Youtube channel.

To see who’s coming up next, visit www.TheProducersPerspective.com/LIVE.

Forget Broadway shows, what about Broadway readings, workshops, and more?

Over the last several months (!), the #1 question for the professionals working on Broadway and the avid fans of the best spectator art on the planet has been . . . “When can we see a show in a theater again?”

But there is another important question to be asked and it isn’t about what will be on Broadway when the lights go back on . . . rather what might fill Broadway theaters in the months and years after!

The best business people I know don’t focus only on what’s happening today . . . but they think about what is going to happen tomorrow.  That’s their job.  This is why stocks of companies that are losing millions of dollars can have exceptionally high values, because investors are betting on what WILL happen, not what is going to happen.

That’s why a company or industry’s health isn’t only measured on what product is being “produced” today (whether that’s diapers, drugs, or Broadway musicals), but what new product(s) are in the pipeline.

Broadway has had a pipeline so full over the last few years that it has been clogged with product.  I heard a rumor that before this whole corona-bologna happened, there were more than 30 (!) plays and musicals looking for a theater on Broadway this spring alone!

Will there be the same log jam now?  Will more theaters be available?

And if there are . . . my question is . . . will there be new plays and musicals ready to fill them?

See, Broadway shows aren’t the only things that are shut down.  So are readings, workshops, labs, and all the development work that goes into the creation of a new piece of theater.  I had four musicals that were set to debut in the next 18 months in February.  I still have four musicals set to debut . . . but they’ve all been pushed back. Not only because we can’t produce theater right now . . . but also because we can’t develop theater.

So the question so many Producers have been asking is . . . where will readings and workshops fit in the phased-reopening of New York City?

I keep thinking that a rehearsal of a reasonably sized musical would be similar to a medium-sized office reopening.  So will we be able to come back when mid-sized companies do?  Then again, there’s often singing involved in our readings.  And also . . . what if we wanted to bring in an audience?  That seems like a no-no.  I guess we could socially distance a reading.  Or work with smaller cast sizes (just work with principals, etc.).

Zoom readings and online development work can only go so far in a medium like the theater.  So while we certainly can’t commence this work tomorrow, I’m hoping that development can find a safe way to come back before our productions do.

Otherwise, we might have an empty pipeline . . . which would mean empty theaters.

– – – – –

Want to hear about what’s in our pipeline?  Click here to learn about the shows we’re developing.

P.S. And if you’re looking to hear directly from people in our industry share what they’re doing to keep creating during this time, tune into my Facebook page every night at 8pm EDT. Tonight, I’m going LIVE with Tony Award-winning Director, Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys, Ain’t Too Proud).

 

 

Why The Grease Sing-along Instead Of The Tony Awards.

Over the past few weeks, there has been a lot of chatter about what CBS might air on Tony Sunday instead of the actual, aborted, Tonys.

I heard about Best Ofs, Tributes, and a whole host of other ideas (including some with some pretty big celebrity hosts).

And at the end of the play, CBS chose Grease.

Ok, ok, I’m not giving them full credit.

They chose a Grease sing-along.

A wop baba loo bop a wop BS.

This was a hard one for us Broadway avids to take.   The Tonys is our Super Bowl, our Masters, our Christmas, and Hannukah rolled into one for some!

And now that night will consist of four chords and three jokes.

Now listen – I actually love me some Grease.  Those four chords and three jokes are some of the most brilliant around when you calculate how many people this show/movie/classic has kept smiling over the past 50+ years (not to mention how much money it has made).

So, I apologize for knocking it.  It’s just I love the Tonys that much.

What happened to all those other ideas?  The Best Ofs and so on?

What happened is what usually happened . . . someone added up the cost of a revised “Tonys” (as well as the time and logistics involved in making it) and compared it to the cost of showing Grease.  Guess what won?

See, it’s not so easy to just pull old Tony Awards footage out of a vault and show it . . . like you can pull an old movie out of a vault and show it.  The Tony Awards telecasts weren’t set up for replays.  And it’s just too expensive to do it.  So our sister-in-show-biz, the movie industry, has a leg up on us here.

But hopefully, this will teach us that we need a mechanism in place for situations like this (as I wrote about here), and our lack of flexibility with what we can do with our content is causing us to lose the battle.

We’ll win the war.  Because nothing replaces live.

And in the meantime, on Sunday, June 7th, I’ll just watch Netflix instead.

– – – – –

If you want something to stream, check out Daddy Long Legs on BroadwayHD.  You can get it for free for 30 days now with the code DLLBHD.

 

 

Ken Davenport
Ken Davenport

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer

I'm on a mission to help 5000 shows get produced by 2025.

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