Top 10 Takeaways from our TheaterMaker Super Conference

In case you haven’t heard, we had a giant TheaterMaker conference this past weekend.

(And in case you didn’t get that joke – you probably aren’t on our email list – because we sent a whole bunch of emails about it.)

The reason why we so passionately encourage all you Writers, Producers, Investors, Directors, Designers and anyone who makes theater to come is simple.  We know for a fact that as a result of getting together in the room with other like-minded TheaterMakers . . . more theater gets made.  Period.  We know this.  Because people who come to the conference tell us.

One of our greatest success stories yet happened DURING this conference!  A TheaterMaker from New Hampshire asked me a question about how to get her middle school musical produced, and I gave her a couple of tips . . . and this action-fueled artrepreneur called someone on the next networking break . . . and boom . . . she got her show BOOKED!  I mean . . . mic drop!!!

The conference included Broadway A-list Producers, Directors, Press Reps, and more on panels like Dramaturgy, Readings, and Diversity (which I am so proud to say was one of the most heavily attended panels AND the longest – what a conversation).

In case you missed the conference, I pulled 10 Takeaway from some of the talks which are below.   And while reading them will never be the same as hearing them live, seated next to more than 400 fellow TheaterMakers, I hope they give you a little steroid shot of inspiration and education to get you to go out there and make more theater.

Enjoy!

  1. “With ‘yes and…’ we get to create what comes next.” – Stephanie J. Block
  2. “You deserve a place at the table.” – Joe Iconis
  3. “Remember to stay calm. Getting angry does not help anyone hear your point. Educate with kindness.” – Arvind Ethan David, Diversity In The Arts
  4. “Casting Directors are in service of the collective imagination of the creative team. They are only trying to help bring your ideas and visions to life.” – Tara Rubin, Casting Superpowers Share How They Cast a Project And What the Right Cast Can Do For You
  5. “There’s never going to be a “perfect piece” so readjust the weight you give critics’ opinions.” – Jamil Jude, Navigating the Collaborative Process
  6. “When it comes to branding, remain consistent. Stay SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely).” – Lori Rosolowsky, How To Market Your Project To Regional Theaters Across The Country
  7. “Don’t be intimidated to introduce yourself to someone in the creative field. We’re all trying to do the same thing – create great art!” – Ken Davenport, Get Your Show Off The Ground
  8. “Know your WHY. Trust yourself. Believe in your material. And be concise in your pitch.” – Larry Rogowsky, Practice Your Pitch Session
  9. “Every play is different. Every playwright is different. In order to have the most productive partnership, it is the dramaturg’s job to know what the needs of the playwright are and how/when to deliver feedback.” – Jill Rafson, What is a Dramaturg and When/Why You Need One
  10. “No more waiting to sit at the table. Show up and take your seat at the table.” – David Caparelliotis, Casting Superpowers Share How They Cast a Project And What the Right Cast Can Do For You

Want to hear and see some of the panels that folks were raving about it?  We recorded them!  Click here to see how you can get them.

And we will see you next year!!!

Community.

People ask me all the time what a Producer actually does.

My new answer?  I get people in a room.

That’s it!

I get Writers in a room.  I get Directors in a room.  I get Actors in a room.  And when the right combination of people and passion mix together . . . boom . . . a magnificent thing is created.

The trick is . . . there are passionate and talented TheaterMakers all over the WORLD who want to be in a room with other folks just like them.

I know that because we’re going on 11 years with this blog and 5 with the podcast, and you wouldn’t believe where some of our e-traffic comes from (Russia, South Africa . . . Sri Lanka anyone?).

That’s why a couple of years ago I created an e-room for Writers, Producers, Investors, Actors and all kinds of Theater Makers to gather called TheProducersPerspectivePRO.

Since then, this community, just like the popularity of theater itself, has grown more than I ever could have imagined.   And when things grow, they take on a life of their own . . . and it’s important to change as the thing you’ve created changes (I’m already learning this as a new parent!).

About six months ago, we realized we weren’t TheProducersPerspectivePRO anymore.  We weren’t just an offshoot of the blog for people looking for more education.

We were a new community of theatrical artrepreneurs who were looking to learn, grow, gather and . . . make more @#$%.

That’s why we just retired PRO and launched a brand-spankin’ new community with a new look, new content, and a new mission to help all the TheaterMakers out there accomplish their theatrical goals, no matter what your discipline.

You may not be IN an actual room, but it’s the next best thing.  And we know, for a fact, that TheProducerPerspectivePRO helped launch a whole bunch of shows just by gathering passionate like-minded people together online.

And this brand new community will do the same . . . but on steroids.

So if you’re a TheaterMaker . . . or even better, want to be one . . . join us.

There’s no other place like it on the web.

And we can all help each other do what we all want to do more than anything . . . Make theater.

Check out the new TheaterMakersStudio.com here.

We’ve also added a new Production Team Database featuring Actors, Directors, Producers, Playwrights and more from across the country. To peruse the free database or submit yourself, click here.

Broadway Grosses w/e 11/17/2019: Big wheel keep on turnin’. . .

Overall grosses were down 7% last week with most shows showing a drop in total box office coming off last week’s Veteran’s Day holiday. Enjoying a post-opening glow was Tina – The Tina Turner Musical which brought in an all-time high of $1.5M. Kristin Chenoweth’s, For The Girls was SRO at The Nederlander and took in $970k.

You can find the rest of the figures below, courtesy of The Broadway League:

Show Name GrossGross  TotalAttn  %Capacity AvgPdAdm
A CHRISTMAS CAROL $257,525.00 4,194 61.82% $61.40
AIN’T TOO PROUD $1,440,027.56 10,572 92.80% $136.21
ALADDIN $1,114,006.70 12,769 92.42% $87.24
AMERICAN UTOPIA $951,411.25 5,726 99.31% $166.16
BEETLEJUICE $965,164.30 9,996 83.69% $96.56
BETRAYAL $624,575.48 6,243 75.33% $100.04
CHICAGO $508,808.00 6,068 70.23% $83.85
COME FROM AWAY $952,192.76 8,489 101.45% $112.17
DEAR EVAN HANSEN $1,016,920.48 7,628 96.90% $133.31
DERREN BROWN: SECRET $401,112.70 4,750 66.79% $84.44
FREESTYLE LOVE SUPREME $720,234.50 5,396 88.17% $133.48
FROZEN $958,448.80 11,956 88.75% $80.16
HADESTOWN $1,313,225.00 7,332 99.84% $179.11
HAMILTON $2,765,850.00 10,732 101.32% $257.72
HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD, PARTS ONE AND TWO $941,249.00 12,976 100.00% $72.54
JAGGED LITTLE PILL $1,000,046.10 8,839 98.21% $113.14
KRISTIN CHENOWETH: FOR THE GIRLS $969,894.00 9,584 100.00% $101.20
MEAN GIRLS $782,779.10 8,283 84.52% $94.50
MOULIN ROUGE! $2,155,181.50 10,464 100.46% $205.96
OKLAHOMA! $379,069.10 4,070 78.15% $93.14
SLAVA’S SNOWSHOW $279,547.00 6,810 80.69% $41.05
SLAVE PLAY $404,901.00 5,283 83.28% $76.64
THE BOOK OF MORMON $1,033,721.15 8,233 98.29% $125.56
THE GREAT SOCIETY $380,018.50 5,059 59.66% $75.12
THE HEIGHT OF THE STORM $251,375.50 3,700 71.93% $67.94
THE INHERITANCE $510,025.50 7,130 85.04% $71.53
THE LIGHTNING THIEF $255,063.58 4,038 47.04% $63.17
THE LION KING $1,655,921.00 12,511 92.21% $132.36
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $768,232.90 9,023 70.27% $85.14
THE ROSE TATTOO $507,190.40 5,387 93.39% $94.15
THE SOUND INSIDE $524,606.50 5,231 65.52% $100.29
TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL $1,497,521.00 11,901 100.65% $125.83
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD $1,824,941.30 11,509 100.25% $158.57
TOOTSIE $726,701.70 8,705 67.92% $83.48
WAITRESS $657,773.70 7,216 86.32% $91.15
WICKED $1,324,358.50 11,999 83.00% $110.37
TOTALS $32,819,620.56    289,802 85.16% $108.19
+/- THIS WEEK LAST SEASON -$3,682,267.72      
PERCENTAGE +/- THIS WEEK LAST SEASON -10.09%    

Today’s blog was guest-written by Ryan Conway, President of Architect Theatrical. Find out more here!

Podcast Episode 202: The Dramaturg for Disney, Hadestown and more, Ken Cerniglia

I’m gonna be honest . . . I never liked the idea of a dramaturg.  “That’s what a Director is for,” I thought. “And a Producer!”

Then, I realized that my “dislike” of something was based on the fact that I really didn’t understand what the heck a dramaturg was.  (Most things in life that we don’t like (including people, btw) are just because we don’t know what they are really about.)

That’s why I decided to have one of the leading dramaturgs in our business, Mr. Ken Cerniglia on the podcast to help explain to me and to all of us TheaterMakers exactly what a dramaturg does and why they are so important for every show, from a new play in a regional theater to a big ol’ Broadway show.

Listen in and hear Ken talk about:

  • What a dramaturg is and how you become one.
  • The most common note he gives to writers.
  • What his 15 years at Disney taught him about successful storytelling.
  • How Hadestown morphed over the years and how he assisted in the process, without over-assisting in the process.
  • The common elements that all stories for the stage need to be “successful.”

If you’re a Writer, Director, Producer or anyone with a script, this podcast has buckets of tips on how to make that script better.

So listen to the other Ken now!

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

P.S.  Ken has just agreed to lead one of our Writer’s Groups this year!  Click here to apply today!

This week’s #SongWriterOfTheWeek is Ben Diskant and Sami Horneff! Today we’re playing a song from their musical The Pirate Princess, “We Could Be Pirates”. If you like what you hear and want to learn more, check out www.bendiskant.com and www.samihorneff.com.

My pal Justin Guarini (you may have met him at The Super Conference this weekend) wants to help you nail your next audition! Justin will help you create a unique and memorable vocal performance that blows your competition out of the water. Visit www.JustinGuarini.com for more information!

How Evita Had A Tryout In NYC And Gave College Kids The Chance of a Lifetime.

Evita, this year’s City Center’s Gala musical opened last night to a fantastic response, including a ton of love for Solea Pfeiffer (who one can only hope doesn’t get sucked up by Hollywood too fast) and twenty-something director Sammi Cannold, who did what great Directors do – add a simple concept to make us look at the show in a whole new way.  (I’m proud to say I recognized her as future-force when I blogged about her “Violet on a bus” back in 2013!)

As I watched the show, I was reminded of how amazing it is that City Center shows turn out such stellar productions, when they rehearse for about a minute and a half.

And the expectation for these productions are a lot higher now than when City Center started!  (Originating the 2nd longest running Broadway show of all time (Chicago) will do that to you).

But this production of Evita had even more challenges than the others.  It was an entirely new production, with a new Cannold-concept (featuring two Evas) that made a limited rehearsal period even more challenging (two Evas for starters).

What’s a company like City Center to do?

Inspired by Cannold’s own hands-on experience in college (like the aforementioned, site-specific Violet), the folks at City Center came up with a program that gave some college theater kids an experience that out-of-college theater kids would have killed for, and get a “try-out” in the process.

Enter Pace University’s Musical Theater Department, which supplied the creative team with a full musical theater department, including actors, for a workshop of the show.

Here’s what the school got:

  • Every one of its 100 musical theater majors got to audition for the actual Evita creative team.
  • A FULL process of staging, choreography and music with that creative team culminating in 2 showings for City Center’s community of artists and the Pace Musical Theater Department.
  • 5 Interactive Master Classes on everything from dramaturgy to marketing to accessibility.
  • Tickets to the invited dress of Evita.

And City Center got a workshop of Evita that it never could have afforded (a limited run with limited seats for a non profit has a budgetary box built around it).  And that workshop 1000% resulted in a better production.

This is what we call a win-effin’-win.

I’ve blogged about college programs getting involved in the musical development game before, because I don’t think there is any training process better than working on a new musical (or revival) with a Broadway team.  And the students get the bonus of monster networking connections as a result!

But this City Center-Pace “Institution in Residence” partnership is one of the best examples I’ve ever heard, and major props to the people who put it together, including Evita line producer, Darren Biggart, and the Director and Founder of the PACE Musical Theater program, Amy Rogers Schwartzreich.  (And I’d expect Pace’s applications for their program to JUMP after word gets out about the Evita experience.  Who wouldn’t want to go for this kind of opportunity?  Come on, my alma mater – time for you to join the class?)

“Research and Development” is hard and expensive in any business, from biotech to Broadway.  Finding a creative solution like this is one way we can guarantee better products, and give opportunities to the next generation that they wouldn’t get any other way.

College programs?  If you want to get in on this . . . email me. I’ve got a few shows for you.

And go see Evita!

X