The 2012 Off-Broadway Preview: Something is Missing

A few days ago, ran a great feature on the upcoming Off-Broadway season (which you can read here).  But I have to admit, there was something about the article that I hated.

There were 33 plays and musicals mentioned for the coming months.

And only 2 of them were commercial.

And neither of those 2 are plays.

Both Bare and Forever Dusty (the two commercials) are musicals, set to open this fall at New World Stages, and the rest of thirty-something entries into our theatrical atmosphere are non-profit productions.

I also think the article missed one . . . Falling, the new play by Deanna Jent, which opens in October, starring Julia Murney.

But still . . . that’s one.

Now, as the Editor’s note in the article states, “The Off-Broadway universe – like the actual universe – is wide, unknowable and ever-expanded,” so there may be a few that pop up or have been missed . . . and I do know there are a few 1-3 performance a week type shows opening in the fall that weren’t a part of this preview (which actually makes this trend even more interesting).

But as of now, there is just that 1 for-profit, eight show/week, play opening this fall season.  And only 2 musicals.

The challenges of producing Off-Broadway have only increased exponentially over the last years, and that’s no good for Producers . . . or Actors . . . or Designers . . . or Theater Owners . . . or Writers . . . or Audiences . . . or anyone.

There has to be some sort of commercial Off-Broadway stimulus package to get the for-profit productions pumping again.  It’s too vital.

Off-Broadway should be a place where artists and producers can take more risks, not a place where they run from them.


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My reaction to the 2012 Tony Nominations. How were my predictions?

First of all, grrrrrrr.

Ok, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way.

Grrrrrrr . . .

Sorry, one more snuck in there.

Ok, on to it.

I scored a 75% again this year, missing the wildcard spot in all four categories.

– For Best Musical, I went with the critically adorned Fall musical, Lysistrata Jones.  I thought the reviews, plus the “original-ness”, plus Douglas Carter Beane, would add up to a nomination for LJ.  But nope . . . instead, in comes the more recently opened Leap of Faith to snag the spot, once again proving that late Spring openings are definitely more advantageous to Fall openings (expect an even greater Spring opening crunch next year than this year).

– For Best Play, I went with Seminar over Venus in Fur.  I had a feeling that One Man, Two Guvnors would be left out (partially due to the controversy over it being a New Play or a Revival, I think).  In the end, I think Venus got the edge thanks to the powerhouse performance of Nina Arianda.  A great performance can make a play even greater than it already is.

– For Best Revival of a Musical, I went with my own, Godspell, instead of JCS.  And frankly, I still think I was right, and I’m confused, concerned, and yeah, a little bit angry.  Nope, scratch that, a whole lot angry.  The creative team and the incredible cast on that stage deserved some recognition for the work they’ve done.  And I’m disappointed that the tremendous number of people that supported that show won’t be able to root for it on Tony Night, but I’ll listen to the advice of the composer of Godspell and try not to let it “weeble” me.

– For Best Revival of a Play, I got the Wit right!  But missed on the Master Class nod, which replaced my Streetcar.  I’m surprised that the Nominators stretched their minds back that far, but good for them.  It can’t be easy keepin’ all these shows straight.

Other surprises?

LJ and DCB did get a nomination for Best Book (which probably is in lieu of the big nom that I thought it would get).

– Two PLAYS got best score noms!  Peter and the Starcatcher and One Man, Two Guvnors.  What does that say about the future of original scores for the theater?  Or maybe in the future more plays will add scores to try and steal another nom?

– It was no surprise that Audra was nominated again.  It’s just fun to think about her winning a fifth . . . at only 41.

– Thrilled to see the great talents of Chris Gattelli, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Norm Lewis and Danny Burstein on the ballot this year.  Great people and great talents.  Go get ’em, guys.

So I got a 75%.  How did you do?  What were your reactions?  And yes, please feel free to express your disappointment about Godspell here (and all over social media) as well.  🙂

For a complete list of this year’s nominations, click here.


(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)



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My 2012 Tony Nomination Predictions are . . .

When this blog goes live, 35 very smart and very fancy men and women of the theater will be holed up at the world famous Edison Cafe, deciding who and what will be nominated for a Tony Award this year.

Don’t believe me?  Take a stroll by the Cafe on Monday . . . you’ll see the windows covered up, and you’ll see bouncers at the door, only allowing those that have earned the right to be an all-powerful Tony Nominator.

It’s one of those cool theatrical traditions that make our industry interesting and fun.  We’re not an industry of conference rooms.  We’re an industry of dining rooms.

Very few people will ever know exactly what goes on behind those papered walls.  But that doesn’t stop people from trying to predict what the outcome will be.

Including me!

I post my predictions every year, but only in the big categories of Best Musical, Best Play, Best Revival of a Musical and Best Revival of a Play.

Ready to hear what I think will happen?

Best Musical

Nice Work If You Can Get It

And . . .

Boy this fourth spot is always the tricky wicket.  While Spider-Man has proven itself to be a juggernaut, crushing bad press and lawsuits in its path with its $1mm (and sometimes $2mm) grosses, I think its success will cause some Nominator backlash, and they’ll leave it off the list.  That leaves Ghost, Leap of Faith, Lysistrata Jones and Bonnie and Clyde.  A week ago I was going to say Ghost.  But, I’ve changed my movie-to-musical tune.  I think that the Nominators are going to go with the non-star driven, original American musical and give it to . . .

Lysistrata Jones

Best Play

There are 15 suckers eligible for this award this year (who said new plays are dead?), and only 4 slots (can we say, “expand the category to five, please?”).

Clybourne Park
Other Desert Cities
Peter and the Starcatcher

And another tough call for the fourth position.  Since One Man Two Guvnors is now a “new play” instead of a revival, it really mucks up the waters.  But at the end of the “play”, my money is on another home grown piece of work . . .


Best Revival of a Musical

Alright, well, this one is close to my heart, so let’s hit it:

Porgy & Bess

And . . . honestly, I wouldn’t be objective (which is such a big part of being a producer) if I didn’t admit that the fourth spot was a battle between the two Jesus musicals. 🙂  Godspell versus Jesus Christ Superstar.  Godspell has been a bit neglected by the other Awards committees, which has me a bit confused and concerned for tomorrow’s announcement.  But Superstar has been done before, and Andrew Lloyd Webber already has a show on the slate above.  And, objectively again, I believe that the Godspell creative team deserves some kudos for their incredibly inventive updating of a forty year old musical.  So, I’m going to follow the advice that Mrs. Puccio gave to me my junior year of high school when I was running for Student Council Vice President (“Don’t be stupid.  Vote for yourself!”), and I’m going to say . . .


Best Revival of a Play

This category has only one nomination lock in my book, which is also most likely the lock to win.

Death of a Salesman

So what will fill the other three slots?  Tough to call, but I’m going to go with:

The Best Man
A Streetcar Named Desire

What do you think?  Do you agree?  Disagree?  What do you think are going to be the big nominees tomorrow?  Comment below!  And tune in on Tuesday to see how both you and I scored!


(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)



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Musical Director / Asst. MD – Weathervane Theatre

WHO: Weathervane Theatre – Whitefield, NH

SEEKING: Musical Director / Asst. MD

RESPONSIBILITIES: musical direction of the Patchwork Players, which is the children’s theatre. This position also acts as an AMD for the mainstage for a few productions throughout the summer. EMC points available.

WHEN: This season’s employment starts
around June 18 and ends Sept. 1


HOW TO APPLY: email a resume and cover letter to
Colin Keating at

New Plays-Urban Stages

WHO: Urban Stages

SEEKING: New Plays

REQUIREMENTS: All Plays must include a biography and/or author’s history of the play, character breakdown, and brief description or synopsis of the play.  All Plays may have been developed elsewhere, but never produced in New York City. There is no limit to submission. Subject matter and character variations are open.

WHEN: All pieces must be postmarked by May 4th, 2012

HOW TO APPLY: All submissions must be sent via mail (ABSOLUTELY NO EMAILS!):
Urban Stages
555 Eighth Avenue, RM 1800
New York, NY 10018

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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