This blog inspired by Tiger Woods.

Regular readers will remember that I announced the closing of Altar Boyz on this blog on Friday, December 4th.

What you may not know, is that the blog was the only place I announced it that morning.

Normally, an announcement like this would be written up and sent out by the Press Agent to all of the various news outlets, from The New York Times to Playbill to UncleBillsBroadwayBlog.com

But, much to my press agent’s dismay, I put a muzzle on him that morning.

Why?  I wanted to test the power of new media.  I wanted to see how long it took for the traditional media outlets to pick up on the story if it didn’t come with in the form of a traditional announcement or an email.  I wanted to see how long it took the blogosphere and the Twitterverse to churn the story and get it in front of the big boy editors.  (Here’s where the Tiger Woods connection comes in – I was inspired to try this because Tiger was making all of his public statements to the press on his blog, and nowhere else, and the world was devouring it).

So how long did it take?  One hour.

It took only one hour from my post to the first publication of the story (on Playbill.com, by the way).  The New York Times called 90 minutes after it went up.

But get this – the first thread on AllThatChat started only 45 minutes after my post.

The most interesting part of this experiment?

Before many of the media outlets posted the story, they called my Press Agent to ask if it was true.  Gotta give them major cred for verifying the story, even though the source was the Producer.

You’ll see more announcements like this in the future, and not just from me.  Tiger has taught us well (uh, in some areas – in others, he’s just a giant sand-trap-sized d-bag).

(Unfortunately, it was true, Altar Boyz is closing on January 10th.  If you haven’t seen it yet, you’ve only got 15 chances left.  Get your tickets here.)

Get Your Show Off The Ground Seminar – SOLD OUT!

Thanks to the 20 folks that snatched up the slots at the GYSOTG Seminar (try and pronounce that with me . . . guy-sought-g).

For everyone else that wanted to get in, I’m sorry but we are sold out.

We are still taking waiting list applicants, however, in case any of the 20 have to back out.

If you want to be on the waiting list, email my assistant asap at melissa@davenporttheatrical.com.  The waiting list will be treated on a first-come-first-served basis, so email asap if you still want a shot at the January seminar.

Because there was such a terrific response to this seminar, I am planning a second one to take place in a warmer month.  Think June . . . pre-Fringe, pre-NYMF, pre-your big success.

Thanks again, and all you folks that did get in . . . see you on January 23rd!

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Don’t forget to vote for the 2009 Producer of the Year.

Make sure you cast your vote by Sunday, December 27th at 8pm.

The winner will be announced here on the blog, on Monday, December 28th.

VOTE NOW

My response to the demise of the Oleanna Take-A-Side talkbacks.

Oleanna got people talking.

So one of our early marketing strategies was to try and whip up our audiences into an even greater frenzy so that they would talk even louder and longer.

One of the rev-up devices we used was the “Take-A-Side” talkback series that featured a moderator and celebrity panelists, from former Mayor Dinkins to Fox TV correspondents to Tovah Feldshuh to University Deans to harassment litigation experts, and so on, all discussing the issues of the play and allowing the audiences to ask questions and make comments.

Everyone who I spoke to felt like the talkbacks made the experience of going to the theater even better.

Unfortunately, Mr. Mamet disagreed.  As Michael Riedel reported back in November . . .

Alas, Mamet hated them [talkbacks]. He never attended one, but he’s against them on principle, believing that his play should stand on its own and not be picked apart by “experts” on the law, feminism and campus sexual harassment policies.

It’s always tough to hear that your author doesn’t like something you want to do, especially when that something is helping market your show.

The analogy I use when describing why Mamet or any author would be opposed to such an initiative is that some authors are like painters who don’t want a fancy frame around their piece of art.  They just want you to look at the picture and only the picture.

I get it, and I respect it.

Of course, you and I know that the right frame can actually draw eyeballs to look at that picture in even greater detail.  And that’s one of the producer’s jobs . . . to attract eyes to the art.

As hard as it was to hear that our author couldn’t stand one of our initiatives, we soldiered on . . . until, that is, we needed some help.  We had to make a compromise, and the talkbacks went the way of the public-health option on the current health plan bill.

Was I disappointed?  You betcha.

Let me be perfectly clear.  I have the utmost respect for Mr. Mamet, his artistic integrity, his resolve, and because he’s a brilliant f-ing writer.

But getting people to attend the theater is getting harder and harder (as the NEA keeps telling us), and since our producing hands are handcuffed by so many other things in this business, we need to have the freedom to exercise good ideas when we have them (it’s not like we had a guy in a Gorilla suit standing out front trying to get people to buy tickets).

The more restrictive we make it, the more those Authors may find Producers sitting out the next one.

I know I’ll be sitting out the next Mamet.

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Don’t forget to vote for the 2009 Producer of the Year

Make sure you cast your vote by Sunday, December 27th at 8pm.

The winner will be announced here on the blog, on Monday, December 28th.

VOTE NOW

Who came to Broadway this year?

It seems like just yesterday we posted The Broadway League’s summary of “Who Came To Broadway” in the 2007-2008 season.

Well, it’s that time again!

Just in time for the holidays, it’s the Demographics of the Broadway Audience Report for 2008-2009!  As I did last year, I’ll give you the Cliff’s Notes version of the document here, but try and get your hands on a copy of the complete report if you can. Because despite what we all thought in high school, the Cliff’s Notes version ain’t as educational as the real thing.

EXCERPTS FROM THE BROADWAY LEAGUE STUDY OF THE DEMOGRAPHICS OF THE BROADWAY AUDIENCE FOR THE 2008-2009 SEASON

 

Demographics

  • In the 2008-2009 season, approximately 63% of all Broadway tickets were purchased by tourists.
  • International visitors accounted for 21% of all Broadway admissions, the highest proportion in recorded history.
  • Sixty-six percent of the audiences were female.  This reflects the trend of the past few decades.
  • The average age of the Broadway theatregoer was 42.2 years.
  • The percentage of theatregoers under age 18 dropped slightly from the past few years; however, those aged 25-34 accounted for 16% of all tickets sold, a higher percentage than it has been since the 1999-2000 season.
  • Seventy-four percent of all tickets were purchased by Caucasian theatregoers.  Although still mostly homogeneous, audiences have become slightly more diverse in the past decade.
  • Broadway theatregoers were a very well-educated group.  Of theatregoers over 25 years old, 73% had completed college and 36% had earned a graduate degree.
  • Broadway theatregoers were also quite affluent compared to the general United States population, reporting an annual household income of $195,700.

Ticket Purchasing Habits

  • The average Broadway theatregoer reported attending 4.2 shows in the previous 12 months.  The group of devoted fans who attended 15 or more performances comprised only 5% of the audience, but accounted for 31% of all tickets sold (3.7 million admissions).
  • Playgoers tended to be more frequent theatregoers than musical attendees.  The typical straight play attendee saw eight shows in the past year; the musical attendee, four.
  • The Internet was by far the most popular way to buy Broadway tickets.  In fact, the reported use of the Internet to purchase tickets has grown from 7% in the 1999-2000 season to 40% this season.
  • In the 2008-2009 season, 34% of theatregoers bought their tickets more than one month prior to the show, compared to 39% the previous season, but up from 32% the three prior seasons.
  • More than half the time, women were the ones who decided to attend the show.  Since 66% of all audiences were female, women were the “decision makers” 70% of the time.
  • Forty-seven percent of theatregoers at musicals said that personal recommendation was the most influential factor in deciding to attend the show.  On the other hand, critics’ reviews were the most influential factor for play audiences, cited by one-third of respondents.
  • Twenty percent of respondents overall cited some kind of critical review as a deciding factor, down from 27% in the 2007-2008 season.  Reviews were much more important to playgoers than to musical attendees.
  • Overall, the most effective types of advertising were reported to be the Internet (7.5%), television (6.2%) and print (5.2%).  The New York Times was still the most common advertising source recognized by theatregoers; however, it was less frequently cited this season, compared to last season.
  • Approximately three quarters of the Broadway audience said that some kind of incentive (discounts, freebies, add-ons) would encourage them to attend shows more often.

Interesting stuff as always, right?

Just remember.  Data is like a pile of bricks.  It can be the foundation of something great, but only if you do something with it.

An announcement about my next project.

Last Friday I announced the end of a five year run one of my shows.

So this Friday I thought it only fitting to announce my next show.

As written about in today’s Variety, I am prepping to mount the first ever Broadway revival of Godspell.

Why would I want to produce Godspell?

Why would I NOT want to produce Godspell?

G’Spell is one of the most beloved musicals on the planet, by one of the most “popular” musical theater composers on the planet, and is the type of unique theatrical experience that audiences crave, and then talk about.

Oh, and, my Mom tells me that it was during a production of the Stephen Schwartz/John-Michael Tebelak musical that I first “kicked.”  I mean, if that wasn’t a sign that I was meant for a career in the theater, I don’t know what was.

And the last reason I wanted to produce this show, and produce it now?

Well, with Altar Boyz closing (only 37 shows left !), I didn’t want to fall out of favor with the Big Guy upstairs.  I figured this could score me a few extra points.

Keep your eye on the blog for future Godspell updates.

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Watch the Blog on Monday for photos and more from yesterday’s social!

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