Podcast Episode 33 – Theresa Rebeck

 

In the time it took me to write this blog post, Theresa Rebeck probably finished another play.

And I’d bet you my blog subscribers, it’s a good one.

Theresa Rebeck is one of the most prolific writers we have in our business.  And I don’t just mean the business of Broadway.  I mean in the entire business we call show!  See, Ms. Rebeck is one of those few writers who writes for the stage, the screen, the small screen, the novel . . . and I wouldn’t be surprised if she told me she wrote some supreme court decisions and greeting cards in her spare time.

So tune in to hear the writer of Seminar and Smash talk about . . .

  • How the heck she writes so much and where she gets her ideas.
  • The differences between writing for the Stage and the Screen, and how she switches hats in an instant.
  • What happened with Smash, and could we ever see another Broadway-themed TV show?
  • How she and I became friends, and why that’s important to your career.
  • What all young writers should be doing.

. . . and a heck of a lot more . . . because we packed a lot of stuff into this 30 minute podcast, which is punctuated with Theresa’s infectious positivity and incredible passion for what she does.

Enjoy Theresa!

(Oh, and one production note – Theresa and I recorded this podcast over Skype, like the fancy-techno-geeks we are, so you’ll notice that she doesn’t sound like she is in the same room as me.  Because she wasn’t.  She was in Vermont.  Where she probably finished three plays, two movies, and a research paper on early Hungarian cabinetmaking.)

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 32 – Kristin Caskey

 

Kristin Caskey was part of the producing wonder team behind Thoroughly Modern Millie (along with Hal Luftig and her partner Mike Isaacson) that grabbed the Tony Award away from Urinetown, and now the show is one of the most produced musicals across the country.

And this year, Kristin (again along with her partner Mike Isaacson, co-producer Barbara Whitman and more) did it again . . . grabbing a Tony Award for the big time underdog Fun Home

I’ve known Kristin since the Millie days, when I was a Company Manger, and she was a first time lead Producer.  As the President of Fox Theatricals, she’s produced a ton since then, including Legally Blonde, Caroline, or Change, Bring It On, and more.

I was so thrilled when she agreed to jump on the ol’ podcast so she could talk about her career since Millie, as well as . . .

  • How she saw huge potential in Fun Home when so many (including myself) were scared by its subject matter.
  • Why relationships with Authors are such important things for Producers to develop.
  • For once and for all . . . is there a “road-block” of Tony Award voters?
  • What she wishes she knew about Broadway Producing when she started that she knows now.
  • Do you want to be a producer?  And are you not in NY (just like she wasn’t when she started)?  Here’s what you should do.

Listen in!

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.

(Oh, and after you’re done hearing how Fun Home won the Tony and you want to hear how she and her team did it on Millie, click here to listen to Hal Luftig tell the story.)

Podcast Episode 31 – Al Nocciolino

 

After I recorded my podcast with Booking Agent Steve Schnepp, I knew I wanted to chat with a Broadway Tour “Presenter.”  I asked a few of my peers which Presenter they thought best repped the road, and had the experience, intelligence and all around good-guyness to be a great guest.

Every single person I asked answered, “Al Nocciolino.”

And after you listen to this week’s episode, you’ll understand why.

Al is one of the Independent Presenters out there that helped build the modern touring market.  And his passion for what he does is evident in every single one of his answers in this episode, where we discuss everything from . . .

  • What exactly is a “Presenter” anyway?
  • The process of how shows get booked on the road (Do they need a NY run or not?).
  • Why a Touring Presenter is like an Artistic Director.
  • Does non-union touring have a place in the market?
  • The Independent Presenters Network, and how it’s changing the touring landscape.

Broadway isn’t just a ten block radius in Times Square.  It’s all over this country . . . and now, all over the world.

Producers would do well to study the road . . . and there is no better Professor than Al Nocciolino.

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 to read the transcript.

Podcast Episode 30 – Kurt Deutsch

 

What do Tower Records, Colony Records and Footlight Records all have in common?

They were all some of my favorite places to shop for cast albums in the 90s.

And now they’re all gone.

The past 20 years have wreaked havoc on the music industry, and cast albums have become an endangered species as a result.  Luckily, one guy saw this change coming.  And back in the early part of the millennium, Kurt Deutsch struck out on his own, and with Broadway actress Sherie Rene Scott he founded the independent label Sh-K-Boom Records.  Its mission?  Save Broadway music, one cast album at a time.

Since then, Sh-K-Boom and its upstart sister label Ghostlight Records have grabbed the lion’s share of the cast album biz away from the big “studio” companies, recording big hits like The Book of Mormon, In the Heights, Next to Normal and many more.

And Kurt sat down with me for this week’s episode to talk about . . .

  • The state of the cast album and why every show needs one.
  • Why albums should be part of a show’s capitalization, not an afterthought (he changed my mind on this one).
  • What we will sell at the merch stands when CDs are no longer made.
  • How to get an album for sale by opening night.
  • Why if you’re writing a show, you have to have a demo.

One of the greatest tools a musical has in its marketing toolbox is its music.  If it can’t get recorded, it can’t get spread.

That’s what makes this podcast a must listen.

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 29 – John Raymond Barker

 

I’ve been lucky enough to have some pretty influential people from Broadway on this podcast, from Tim Rice to Ben Brantley to Kevin McCollum and a bunch more.

But like any industry, Broadway isn’t run by just the 50 most powerful people.  In fact, sometimes it’s the people without the bold faced names that are even more important to its operation.

Broadway is a community of hundreds and hundreds of employees who all help make its crazy wheel go round, eight times a week.  And of all of the jobs, ushers talk to more of our ticket buyers than anyone (used to be the phone operators, but not now with online buying being what it is!).

So I wanted to talk to one.  I reached out to my friends over at Jujamcyn Theaters and asked for their help in picking one of their experienced vets to help me understand what was happening on the front lines and whether or not things had changed since this blog.

And they introduced me to John Raymond Barker, an actor whose “night job” is ushering at the Hirschfeld Theatre.  Listen in to this podcast to hear John’s first hand knowledge and insight on things like . . .

  • What’s the biggest complaint our audience has about going to the theater?
  • How training for ushers is different than it was ten years ago (at least for some of the theater chains).
  • How can we make Patti LuPone sleep easy at night and improve theater etiquette?
  • How texting is the least of our problems in the theater.
  • The solution to the bathroom debate.

Listen in and learn from one of Broadway’s foot soldiers.  I know I did!

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.

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