[VIDEO]: 2019 Super Conference – “What Dramaturgs Do And Why/When You Need One” with Ashley Chang, Jenna Clark Embrey, Jack Phillips Moore, and Jill Rafson

It wasn’t until I had a dramaturg on my podcast that I really understood what the @#$% they do.

If you’ve ever wondered what a dramaturg does, then this panel from last year’s Super Conference is for you.  And something tells me you’ll want to run out and get one for your show when you’re done watching (email me if you do – I can give you a rec).

(And stay tuned for a new video every single day, right here in this space.  Tomorrow, Joe Iconis’ Keynote presentation. Subscribe here to get it emailed to you.)

Don’t forget to tune in our new Facebook LIVE series, The Producer’s Perspective LIVE!, every night at 8pm EDT.  Tonight’s guest is Producer and Creative Director Jennifer Tepper! Click here for the full schedule and to tune in!

10 Broadway Streams To Watch That Are NOT Mine!

One of the few upsides of this shutdown is that the theater has embraced live-streamed content like my kid with her teddy bear.

It’s by necessity, of course.  Take away our theaters and we’ll stare at screens as much as you want us to.

But when we are on the other side of the curve, I wouldn’t expect it to go away.  I’m predicting that streaming will become more of a standard tool used by Broadway, Off-Broadway and regional theater productions, for sure.

We’re not there yet, unfortunately (#StaySafeStayHealthySTAYHOME), and this blog isn’t about then . . . it’s about NOW, and the awesome plethora of streamin’ content you can get today.

As you know, I started a nightly live stream of interviews with Broadway’s movers and shakers.  But I’m not the only one who has taken to the 2D form of entertainment.

Here is a list 10 Streams other than mine that you should watch to get your Broadway fix!

Enjoy!

 

  1. BroadwayHD: Since 2015, BroadwayHD has been offering theatre fans the opportunity to watch Broadway and off-Broadway productions on demand from the comfort of home. Their extensive catalogue of shows ranges from The King and I to King Lear. Memberships are $8.99 a month or $99.99 a year (a fraction of the price of Broadway tickets!) and the first 7 days are FREE! Check out their full offerings and sign up to start watching here!  And make sure you watch Daddy Long Legs!
  2. Feinstein’s/54 Below: 54 Below is known for showcasing Broadway’s most versatile and talented stars in endlessly entertaining cabaret performances. With all upcoming program halted, they’re streaming select archived performances as one-time-only events on their YouTube channel. Selections for April include Bonnie Milligan & Natalie Walker, Legally Blonde: The Search for Elle Woods Reunion Concert!, and Steppin’ Out with Ben Vereen.
  3. Disney on Broadway: Followers of the official Disney on Broadway Instagram were treated to a choreo-crash course from Frozen on Broadway, and a livestream featuring Aladdin and Frozen cast members. With three mega talented Broadway casts in their lineup, their next stream is sure to be just as magical!
  4. Stars in The House: James Wesley & Seth Rudetsky come together with different guests from the Broadway community to put on virtual live performances from home. Head to the Actors’ Fund YouTube channel for 23 episodes already available to binge in a convenient playlist, and more to come!
  5. Broadway JackboxDear Evan Hansen co-stars Andrew Barth Feldman and Alex Boniello teamed up with Jackbox Games on Twitch to raise money with donations from viewers for the Actors’ Fund while theatres remain dark. The show goes live every Tuesday and Friday at 6pm, featuring a different group Broadway personalities playing one of Jackbox’s hilarious and irreverent games.
  6. Met Opera Live in HD Series: Broadway theaters aren’t the only performance venues that have had to halt performances due to social distancing. The Metropolitan Opera House has been streaming a different opera from its prolific archive nightly since mid-March. Why not expand your horizons? You can find a link to the stream on the Met Opera website.
  7. National Theatre at Home: Go (virtually) across the pond for a selection of productions from the National Theatre in London. Here, you can watch James Corden in One Man Two Guvnors now (streams become available 7pm UK time and are available for the following week). On the horizon is Sally Cookson’s adaptation of Jane Eyre (April 9), Bryony Lavery’s adaptation of Treasure Island (April 16), and Tamsin Greig in Twelfth Night (April 23).
  8. HERE online programming: Even though their performance space in Lower Manhattan is closed at this time, the HERE arts center is continuing its mission to provide innovative and exciting programming for theater makers with three new initiatives- HERE@home, in which HERE hosts a Facebook Watch Party every Wednesday at 7pm, to stream one of their past full-length productions; #stillHERE streaming every Friday, featuring a HERE artist who leads viewers in sharing in the creation of new work; and #COVIDEO, which strings together a series of short creative videos with daily postings. Join the community on their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to get involved.
  9. Play Per View: Created by producer Jeremy Wein and actor/producer Mirirai Sithole, the new  platform will present one-time-only livestreamed performances and unscripted content. The price of virtual admission is $5 and all proceeds go to organizations helping provide relief to arts organizations dealing with the impact of COVID-19. Keep checking their website and Twitter for upcoming programming updates!
  10. Broadway Weekends at Home: And when you’ve made it through all the performances on this list, get involved with Broadway Weekend‘s online classes!  Join their Facebook group for access to classes taught by Broadway & West End Performers via Zoom. Multiple classes are held throughout the day, making them accessible to theater fans across all timezones.

When will we come back and WHAT will come back.

It has officially been two weeks since the “social distancing guidelines” set by the Federal Government went into effect, and if one thing is clear from the confusing chatter coming from the Presidential pressers every day, it’s this . . .

It’s going to be a bit before the country opens back up, never mind Broadway.

As of yesterday, gone is the embarrassing goal of an Easter “re-opening” for the country with “packed churches.”  (I mean, I love setting lofty BHAGs, but anyone in the achievement space knows that setting an impossible goal only sets yourself up for failure – and failing at a goal makes it harder for you to achieve the next one . . . and harder for your followers to believe that you will achieve that next one.)

The next deadline for a re-examining of the social distancing guidelines, and therefore a determination of whether or not some businesses will reopen, (set again by the guy currently in the White House) is April 30th. 

But if you’re listening to Fauci, it’ll be longer.  Much longer.  And even though NY’s Governor Cuomo has kept non-essential workers home only through April 15th, he’s also acknowledging that NY has a bigger problem than anywhere else in the US – so how could it ever open up soon?

In the muck of all these differing opinions, one thing has become very clear to me . . .

Different sections of the country will open up at different times.

And more importantly, within those geographic locations, different types and sizes of businesses will open up at different times.

It’s common sense.

The idea of one day waking up and having it go back to the way it was six months ago, with Basketball games packin’ arenas and with OpenTable tellin’ us there wasn’t a reservation to be had at your favorite restaurant, is the kind of Hollywood happy ending that’s just not going to happen.

It’s just not going to be that kind of “Alexa, apartment lights on,” type of switch.

The virus didn’t shut everything in the country down in 24 hours and it won’t let us restart everything in 24 hours either.

It’s going to be gradual.

And it has to be.  As Cuomo (the only politician I’m listening to these days) said in one of his pressers, he does need to get the economy, any part of that economy, going again as soon as possible.  And the moment he can let ten people go to a meeting to discuss how to sell a product, he will. The moment he can let hundred people go to a restaurant, he will.

And the moment he can let 1,500 people go to a Broadway show, he will.

But I’m doubtful it’ll be all those things will be all at once.  And it shouldn’t be.

Which brings me to this . . .

Will Off-Broadway be allowed to open up before Broadway?

And could the 499-or-less theaters that fall within that definition, or even the Off-Off Broadway theaters (at 99 seats or less) get a boost of attention and ticket sales first . . . before the Broadway factory is allowed to be operational?

I’d bet money that smaller theaters will be given permission to open up before the larger ones.  That means they could be the sole producers of live theater in the city.  Usually these smaller theaters are getting Broadway’s hand-me-down audiences, but this could be one of the few chances they have to get the theater audience all to themselves. (This is exactly what happened during the last strike in 2007 – and the Off-Broadway shows I had running, including this one and this one, boomed as a result).

And maybe, this could be another steroid shot to the renaissance of Off-Broadway that began last year (which I wrote about here).

If I were an Off-Broadway theater . . . or was producing an Off-Broadway show, I’d look to see how I could have something ready to go for when we are allowed to gather again.  Because in the midst of this darkness, there just might be a chance to stand out.

Or as John F. Kennedy said, “The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity.”

– – – – –

Tonight at 8 PM on my nightly live stream, Tony Award-winner, Steven Sater, the bookwriter of Spring Awakening Watch on my Facebook page here.  And click here to see who else is joining us this week!

 

 

The Producer’s Perspective LIVE! Episode 8: Steven Sater

Happy one week anniversary!

It’s already been a week since we launched The Producer’s Perspective LIVE!and I hope you’re enjoying them, learning from them, and that they are giving you a little pick-me-up as we wade through this down-time together.

And even if you’re not enjoying them, well, we’re going to keep doing them, so there.

One of the reasons why we’re livestreaming every single night is to raise money for The Actors Fund, and get this . . . you can now give-a-little on my Facebook page.  We’ve already got over $500 earmarked for artists and more who are struggling through this crisis, so click here and give a little if you can.)

Last night on the livestream we had Pam MacKinnon, the Artistic Director of American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco join us from her chair that Uma Thurman sat in (you’ll understand that reference when you watch the replay here.)

She talked about . . .

  • What an Artistic Director does . . . and how it differs from theater to theater.
  • Why she doesn’t “block” shows.
  • How ACT started streaming shows as the crisis unfolded.

And more.

To watch the replay, click here.

And tune in tonight to catch Steven Sater (Spring Awakening, Alice By Heart, etc.) on the stream to we see what he’s been up to during the shutdown and what new musicals he is working on (spoiler – he’s got a few – including one that I’m involved in!)

You can find Steven and me LIVE tonight on my Facebook page at 8 PM EDT! (Click here to get an e-reminder!).

(Oh, and you can also watch it through the Broadway Podcast Network which is streaming the livestream through their Youtube channel.)

See you tonight at 8 pm EDT (7 pm CDT/6 pm MDT/5 pm PDT).

– – – – –

This series continues EVERY NIGHT through the shutdown.  Tomorrow, we’ve got Be More Chill Producer, Jennifer Tepper!  To see the full line-up for the next few weeks, visit www.theproducersperspective.com/LIVE.

Podcast Episode 211 – Tony Nominated Producer, Diana DiMenna

Some people camp out for tickets to their favorite shows. Diana DiMenna camps out to produce her favorite shows.

That’s right.  When she finds a project she wants to be a part of, she doesn’t stop until she finds a way to join the team.

It’s that drive and passion that has gotten her on the producing teams of shows like Girl From The North Country; What The Constitution Means to Me; Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812; and more.

In this episode (recorded before this whole virus thing came down), Diana shared just what it is about certain projects that compel her to produce them, as well as . . .

  • Why Broadway needs to pay more attention to contracts
  • Why passion is a double-edged sword
  • How Broadway fails its audiences
  • Why Broadway needs more women in leadership roles
  • Why theatre needs to adjust its price points to make room for new demographics

It won’t take long into this podcast for you to understand why Diana isn’t going to have to work so hard to join projects in the future.  I can’t imagine anyone NOT wanting her on their team. 

Enjoy the podcast!

  • 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.

And this week’s #SongwriterOfTheWeek (or Songwriters in this case!) are Kinosian and Blair! If you enjoyed the outro song in this episode, go on over to kinosianandblair.com or check them out on Instagram & Twitter @JoeAndKellen.

– – – – –

Looking for more content like this during the Broadway Shut Down?  Every night at 8pm EDT (INCLUDING TONIGHT!), I’m live streaming interviews on my Facebook page with Broadway greats like Stephen Schwartz, Alan Cumming, Sierra Boggess, Kenny Leon and more.  Click here for the full schedule!

Ken Davenport
Ken Davenport

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer

I'm on a mission to help 5000 shows get produced by 2025.

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