Podcast Episode 18 – Charles Busch

 

I met the award winning actor and author Charles Busch (The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, etc.) just a couple of weeks ago, and immediately asked him to do my podcast.

“So when you get back from dinner just send me a text,” I said.

He looked at me with those eyes that could only mean one thing . . . he didn’t know how to text.

“Ok, no problem.  I’ll send you a text.  Just give me your phone number,” I quickly shot back.

“Uh,” he stammered.  “And where would I find that?”

Yep, he didn’t know his phone number.

Lucky for you, we figured it out (I called myself from his phone and bingo, we were connected), because this podcast is one of the most inspirational yet.  In it you’ll hear how a guy that doesn’t know his own phone number went out and built his incredible award winning career, by sheer willpower and passion.   Listen in to hear . . .

  • Why not getting cast in his college productions was the best thing that ever happened to him.
  • What made him start performing in drag.
  • Why he hates the word “mainstream.”
  • How Vampire Lesbians . . . one of the longest running shows in Off Broadway history, started out as a sketch.
  • And more . . .

I’m a big believer that every successful person, including artists, has an innate business sense, whether they know it or not.  Charles may not know his phone number, or how to send a text message, but he knows the recipe for a successful artist, and after listening to this podcast, you will too.

Click above to listen.

Listen to it on iTunes here.  (And give me a rating, while you’re there!)

Download it here.

Click here to read the transcript.

Podcast Episode 17 – Liz Furze

 

It wasn’t too long ago that there were only two advertising agencies that serviced the bulk of Broadway shows.

Then Elizabeth Furze came to town.

“Liz” is the co-head of AKA Advertising‘s New York City office, having come up through the ranks at the company’s UK office (you’ll love her accent) and who sailed here a few years ago to try what so many others had tried, unsuccessfully . . . to set up a new shop in an industry that doesn’t like anything new.

Flash forward a few years, and AKA now reps a ton of shows including Matilda, Les Miserables, It’s Only A Play, Hand To God, and plenty more.

So yeah, she and partner-in-advertising-crime Scott Moore (who was the first Company Manager I ever assisted back in the day), know what the heck they are doing.

And on this podcast, Liz is gonna share some of that knowledge with you, like . . .

  • Can a Tony Advertising Campaign really win a Tony?  (Timely convo, considering the nominations are announced tomorrow!)
  • The difference between advertising in the West End versus advertising on Broadway.
  • Why print advertising can still be effective.
  • What form of media may be dead in just five years (this will SHOCK you!).
  • What she learned from being the new kid on the Broadway block.
  • And more!

Advertising and marketing is what I spend most of my time on these days.  And if you’re interested in the business side of Broadway,  it’s what you’ll spend most of your time on as well.

So do yourself a favor and take a few moments to listen to Liz.

Click above to listen.

Listen to it on iTunes here.  (And give me a rating, while you’re there!)

Download it here.

(And next week, celebrated author/performer Charles Busch!  Subscribe today to be the first to hear his inspiring chat!)

 

Podcast Episode 16 – Bernie Telsey

 

You might think a podcast featuring one of the most powerful casting directors in the biz is just for the actors out there.

And why sure, if you’re an actor, you’re going to hear about 147 takeaways on how to get a leg up on your competition by listening to this 30 minute sess with Bernie Telsey, Broadway’s casting wizard.

But since casting is one of the most important elements of creating and producing a show, this one is a must for all theater pros out there.

You see, plays and musicals were not meant to be read.  They were meant to be spoken.  Sung.  ACTED.  How those words, lyrics, and notes are interpreted can mean the difference between success or failure.  So it’s imperative that you understand the entire process, from the release of the casting breakdown to final callback.

And who better to explain that mystical process to us than Bernie Telsey, caster of almost everything?

Listen to this podcast and hear:

  • Why a Casting Director is just like a Designer.
  • What it was like seeing Idina Menzel audition for Rent before she was Idina Menzel.
  • How talent has changed in the last twenty years.
  • What Bernie looks for when actors walk in the room.
  • The difference between casting theater and tv/film.
  • And oodles more . . .

Oh, and if you didn’t know, Bernie is also the Artistic Director of MCC (responsible for this season’s Hand to God) so this podcast is like a 2 for 1!  (You’ll also hear what Bernie has in common with Todd Haimes.)

Listen, download, and enjoy.

Click above to listen.

Listen to it on iTunes here.  (And give me a rating, while you’re there!)

Download it here.

Click here for the transcript.

Podcast Episode 15 – Dan Wasser

 

One of the first people that a Broadway Producer hires when he or she sets out to produce a show is his or her attorney.

So, I thought it was about time we heard from one.

It’s a fascinating time in the legal world of Broadway shows, particularly in the area of how money is raised for Broadway shows.  That’s why I picked one of the experts in our industry on financing for this episode, my own attorney, Daniel M. Wasser of Franklin, Weinrib, Rudell & Vassallo!

I’ve worked with Dan for over a decade, and he has given me some fantastic advice over the years.  But one of my favorites is this ol’ chestnut about what an attorney’s actual function is.  “Ken, our job is to protect you in the case of the best case scenario, or the worst case scenario.”  In other words, they’ve got your back if you’re a massive hit or a massive flop (I think he said this to me when I was griping about why lawyer fees were so high – and he got me to shut up for sure, with that one).

Listen to some more of Dan’s advice on this episode, like:

  • When a Producer should hire an attorney.
  • The future of Author Agreements.
  • Could the movie model of paying artists work on Broadway?
  • The most important part of any negotiation.
  • The 3 Ways the JOBS Act could revolutionize Broadway fundraising.
    • This section of the episode is perhaps the most comprehensive explanation of the JOBS Act including crowdfunding and how it relates to us out there.

Broadway attorneys cost about $500+ an hour.  Listening to this episode is free.  Here’s how to tune in:

Click the link above to listen.

Listen to it on iTunes here.  (And give me a rating, while you’re there!)

Download it here.

Click here to read the transcript.

Podcast Episode 14 – David Rockwell

 

I can’t draw.  I can’t decorate.  And the bird house I built in shop class was only valuable for the air rights.

So I’m in serious awe of all designers.  But it’s not just because they can put colors and shapes together that are both pleasing and challenging to the eye.  It’s because in addition to their gifts with aesthetics, designers have incredible scientific knowledge.  The job is an incredible juxtaposition of both the left and right sides of the brain, and the people that do it are their own brand of genius.

And the people that do it in multiple mediums?  Now those guys and dolls are something.

There aren’t too many architects and designers that work in as many mediums as David Rockwell.  As you’ll hear in this week’s podcast, David got bit by the Broadway bug early in life, but then went on the unique path of designing other things, like hotels in Las Vegas, some of the most famous restaurants in the world, airport terminals, and more.

But thankfully for us, he came back to Broadway.  And thankfully for me (and for all of you listeners), he sat down with me on the stage of my theater to talk about . . .

  • How he comes up with ideas for the design of his shows.
  • Why transitions are the most important factor in a design.
  • Who taught him to work in our world, after designing in so many other mediums.
  • How Producers should work with designers (and how he deals with Producers).
  • When designers should be hired for a Broadway show.

And yeah, there’s more (wait until you hear the “transparency” epiphany that David taught me!).

So listen in, and don’t forget to subscribe.  We’ve got lawyers and agents and a couple more Tony winners coming up, so stay tuned.

Click above to listen.

Listen to it on iTunes here.  (And give me a rating, while you’re there!)

Download it here.

Click here for the transcript.

 

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