Podcast Episode 23 – Steve Schnepp

 

Ok, now that all that Tony nonsense is out of the way, we can get back to our regularly scheduled podcast program.

Where was I?  Ok . . .

How do shows get out on the road?  Is it because of their box office receipts?  Awards?  Politics?

Sure, all that factors in, but the simple answer is . . . Broadway shows get out on the road because a Booking Agent, like Steve Schnepp of Broadway Booking Office (the guy behind Beautiful, Curious Incident, Gentlemen’s Guide, etc.), gets behind them and sells them.

We don’t talk about the mechanism of the Broadway national tour much, because there’s so much more excitement and sexiness about Broadway.  But like syndication in television, or foreign sales in movies, National Tours can be a heck of a lot more profitable (and less risky) than the primary run.

That’s why I wanted to get one of the best booking agents in the biz to tell us his secrets of The Road, and thankfully, Steve was willing to sit down with us and share his unique perspective on the touring biz.

On this episode you’ll hear Steve talk about . . .

  • The key ingredient a show needs to make a tour possible (besides him, of course).
  • Whether or not stars matter on the road in 2015.
  • What Les Miz sold for twenty years ago, and why that’s not so different from what it sells for today.
  • How to get your show touring.
  • Is there a place for the non-union tour?

The business of Broadway isn’t just in Times Square. It stretches all over the world, and thanks to people like Steve, it’s healthier than ever.

Tune in to hear why, and how you and your show can be a part of it.

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 22 – Kevin McCollum

 

Rent.

Avenue Q.

In The Heights.

Any Producer would dream about producing ONE of those shows.

My guest on this week’s podcast produced all three.

I mean, come on, right?

But wait, there’s more . . . how about The Drowsy Chaperone.  The West Side Story revival.  Motown The Musical.  And more.

Listen in to this week’s podcast to hear Producer Kevin McCollum (who has two terrific shows in the hunt for a Tony this season with Hand to God and Something Rotten!) talk about everything from . . .

  • Why his formula for success is no formula at all.
  • What Cameron Mackintosh said to him when Kevin auditioned for Les Miserables.
  • Why raising money is still a lot of work, no matter how many shows you recoup.
  • His simple advice for anyone looking to start producing today.
  • His message for every politician in every small town in America.

And as you can probably guess for someone with this many shows under his belt, there’s a whole lot more packed into this podcast.  Honestly, I was learning so much as Kevin spoke, I forgot I was recording the dang thing.

But don’t worry, I got every word, every golden nugget of advice . . . and it’s all for you.

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 21 – Scott Schwartz

 

In my over-twenty years of Broadway and Off Broadway theatergoing, there have been a handful of productions that were so unique, and so special, that I’ll never forget them.

Scott Schwartz directed two of them.

One was the ridiculously funny, ripped from the tabloids, Bat Boy: The Musical (oh that spoof of the Lion King number – before everyone was doing spoofs of The Lion King).  And the other was Tick, Tick… Boom!, starring a not-yet-a-star Raul Esparza (oh that moment when Amy Spanger was belting out “Come To Your Senses,” as Raul, as Jonathan Larson, mouthed the words behind her).

Scott has directed on and Off Broadway (Jane Eyre, Golda’s Balcony, Murder for Two) and most recently was appointed the Artistic Director of the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, NY, or as Sag Harbor is more commonly referred to, “The Hamptons.”

I got to spend some time at Bay Street a few weeks ago and was super impressed with the space, the artists, and Scott’s vision of where they’re going to take the theater in the next decade (notice I didn’t say “where they want to take the theater. . . ” because I have no doubt with Scott’s leadership they will).

Oh, and in addition to his Directing and Artistic Directing credits, Scott is also a Tony Nominator (we get all the fancy folks on this podcast, don’t we?).

So listen in to this in-the-trenches podcast to hear . . .

  • The difference between directing in regional theater versus directing on Broadway
  • How being the son of Stephen Schwartz helped influence Scott’s choice in being a director
  • The mysteries of the Tony Nominating process and why he had to recuse himself this year
  • What makes a great tryout city
  • What it’s like working for Disney on a developing project like The Hunchback of Notre Dame

And oodles more.

And after you listen to the podcast, take a look at your summer plans.  If you’re heading to the Hamptons at all, swing by Bay Street and catch a show.

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 20 – James Claffey

 

One of the reasons I started this podcast is because I was getting tired of the sound of my own voice typing.  I wanted to hear other people’s perspectives.  And I wanted you to hear other people’s perspectives, as well.

But I didn’t want just other Producers.  That would be too easy.  And you never learn anything from one point of view.

It’s important when studying any subject, from Broadway to Biology, to get all sorts of opinions on the state of the state, and all sorts of ideas on how to improve its future.

That’s why I so very much wanted to interview James Claffey, Jr., the President of Local One, the powerful Stagehands’ union.  And I was super excited when he said, “Absolutely.”

At first thought, you might think that the head of one of the most powerful unions in the country would be “the opposition,” but the fact is, as you’ll hear from “Jimmy” in this enlightening podcast, we’re all on the same team.  Listen in to hear . . .

  • How one becomes a Stagehand and how you can, too.
  • Why he responds to emails he gets right away, even at midnight.
  • The one myth about Stagehands that he can’t stand.
  • What the 2007 Broadway Stagehands Strike taught him.
  • The one crisis that is crippling all unions and all companies, including Producers.

It’s easy to assume certain things about people, companies, etc. you don’t know (I see this on message boards all the time).   I urge you all to get to know people that you think are on “the other side” of whatever issue you’re working on.

And you should start with James Claffey, Jr.  (Oh, and maybe soon, an agent!)

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 19 – Tim Rice

 

Joseph, Evita, Chess . . . Beauty and the Mother-Humpin’ Beast.

These are just a few of the shows that Sir Timothy Rice wrote the lyrics to (obviously I got a little excited about that last one), so you can imagine he’s got just a few interesting stories to tell, and truth bombs to toss.

So if you’re a writer, a producer, or just a fan of Jesus Christ Effin’ Superstar, then listen in to hear Sir Timothy talk about . . .

  • The secret ingredient needed for a great musical
  • Which comes first, the music or the lyrics, and more importantly, why
  • Tim’s least favorite of his own lyrics
  • How he deals with getting notes (and if he can take ’em, so can you!)
  • And how the sippy cup may mean the end of Broadway as we know it

Oh, and if you don’t hear me talk for awhile, it’s because I was uncontrollably laughing during one of his stories, so I had to put my microphone on mute.

Enjoy the podcast, and special thanks to Hand To God on Broadway for sponsoring this session!

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 PS, if you want to learn more about Tim, read his autobiography.  Click here to grab it.)

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