Podcast Episode 181 — Production Manager of 100+ Productions, Hillary Blanken

 

Ever wonder how Spiderman landed on your seat in the balcony?  Or how the heck they got that King Kong puppet to run across the stage?  Or where we got the sand for Once On This Island?

Hillary Blanken, the founder of Juniper Street Productions, knows all of those answers and more.

Broadway is filled with spectacle, and shows are constantly pushing the envelope, trying to put things on the stage that audiences have never seen before (that’s one of my producing missions, actually).

Who do Directors and Producers turn to when they want illusions and animals and helicopters?  Production Managers.

That’s why I had Hillary on this week’s podcast, to help explain what she does and how she does it, as well as . . .

  • The secret to being a great production manager isn’t knowing how to do it all, it’s this . . .
  • Why sets are so expensive, and what we can do about it?
  • How she works with designers to help realize their vision and keep the show in budget.
  • What the best directors do during the preview process to help make it go smoooooooth.
  • Being a woman, in a backstage world dominated by men . . . so much so, that when you need more labor, someone usually says, “We need another man.”

Click above for my podcast with Hillary.

Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review while you’re there!)

Download it here.

Podcast Episode 180 — Two Time Tony Award Winning, Multi-Faceted Musical Guru, Stephen Oremus

 

Which ONE of these things would mean that you’ve “made it” in our biz?

  1. You’re from the theater and you’re asked to work on The Academy Awards.
  2. You win not one, but two Tonys.
  3. Lady Gaga gives you a shout out during one of her concerts.

Just one of the above would probably make you think, “Ok, I’ve arrived.  I’m good. Check please.”  Am I right?

Well, what if all THREE of those things happened to you?

Because they did for Musical Director, Supervisor, Arranger, Orchestrator, Conductor and more, Stephen Oremus (Avenue Q, Book of Mormon, Frozen, etc.).

Stephen and I chatted about these three career peaks of his, as well as:

  • The job of a Musical Director and what makes a good one.
  • How working with Lady Gaga differs from working with Stephen Schwartz.
  • What makes a “hit” song and how he knows when he’s working on one.
  • His role in the creative process.
  • The frustrating thing about long-running shows on Broadway.

Click above for my podcast with Stephen.

Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review while you’re there!)

Download it here.

Podcast Episode 179 — A view of Broadway through the lens of Tony Winner Joan Marcus

 

Here’s the thing . . .

If you’re a photographer and you get a Tony Award for your work in the theater, then you know you’re a @#$%ing good photographer.

That photographer is none other than my guest this week, Joan Marcus.

The truth is, Joan didn’t just get her Tony for her photos of over 1,000 productions of everything from . . . well . . . just everything.   She received the highest honor that Broadway has to offer for her dedication to and passion for the theater.  See, someone with the skill of Joan Marcus could take photos for any industry . . . including those who pay a lot more than we do.

But she stuck it out here . . . with us . . . as part of the Broadway family and that shows how @#$%ing special she is.

That’s why I was glad to have her on the ‘cast discussing things like:

  • How she turned her insecurity about ever working again into a multi-entrepreneurial hustle . . . including a blue-jean design company!
  • The keys to a great theater photo and how that photo can be used in advertising and marketing.
  • Her unique perspective into what makes a show work . . . or not . . .
  • Keeping up with technology in the arts.
  • What she would change about how photos are taken and WHEN.

Enjoy this podcast as I’m sure you’ve enjoyed her work over the years . . . even if you didn’t know it was hers you were looking at!

Click above for my podcast with Joan.

Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review while you’re there!)

Download it here.

Podcast Episode 178 — Broadway Licensing President, Sean Cercone

 

If you listen to this podcast, in the midst of Sean’s passion for our art form, you’ll hear a lot of data and stats roll off his tongue like he was a baseball nerd talking about the batting averages and RBI stats for the Yankees.

He chats about the # of high schools in the US, the percentage of licensing in the global market, etc., etc.  His approach to licensing is firmly based on market research and data and how he can use that to get more theater into the world.

And it’s working.

Broadway Licensing has only been around a few years, but they are already making their mark and acquiring titles like crazy.  And his data-driven approach is why I gave him the rights to this show, which is already starting to light up the licensing market.

Licensing is such an ENORMOUS part of the Broadway economic model, yet it’s one we don’t think about enough when launching our shows, which is why I wanted Sean on the podcast.

Listen in to hear us chat about . . .

  • The biggest pain points of theaters around the world who want to license properties.
  • Should we release our titles to the subsidiary market earlier than we have been?
  • Can I show make a big splash in licensing that never plays NYC at all?
  • The most important characteristics of a popular show in the high school market.
  • How to market a show for licensing.

And his answer to my Genie question is so unexpected for a numbers guys like him.  Listen in to hear his heartfelt response.

And here’s to your shows getting licensed as often as Oklahoma!

Click above for my podcast with Sean.

Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review while you’re there!)

Download it here.

Podcast Episode 177 – A Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer Who Also Trains Broadway Producers.

 

Tom Viertel has produced some of the biggest hits that Broadway has seen, including The ProducersHairspray and more. 

But what I love about his trajectory is that he got his start producing some of the smallest shows that Off-Broadway had ever seen.

And worked his way up. (If that sounds familiar, it’s what I did too . . . and what I recommend all startup Producers (and startup anythings, actually) do).

It’s fitting that Tom is also the Executive Director of The Commerical Theater Institute, which helps train Broadway Producers To Be.

We talked about how producing has changed over the years as well as . . .

  • What’s wrong with Off Broadway today?  And can it be fixed?
  • How to learn from the shows that don’t work.
  • The most important skill a Broadway Producer must have.
  • The advantages of taking small investors and how he built his database.
  • What real estate and Broadway producing have in common.

Click above for my podcast with Tom!

Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review while you’re there!)

Download it here.

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