My next Broadway show.

See you on Inauguration Day!

– – – – –

Only 4 days until . . .

THE FIRST-EVER PRODUCER’S PERSPECTIVE SOCIAL

Friday, December 12th @ 6:30 PM
The Time Out Lounge at New World Stages
340 West 50th St. (between 8th and 9th Avenues)
Free Drink, Munchies and $25 tickets to the New World Show of Your Choice (subject to avail.)
RSVP by commenting (Name – 1st Show You Ever Saw)

Any questions?  Email me.

See you there!

Favorite Quotes: Volume XIV

“There is no shame in closing a show.” – Mike Isaacson, Producer, Fox Theatricals

Click here.

Is the grass always greener?

I was jealous.

When the revival of American Buffalo announced that Haley Joel Osment was joining Leguizamo AND Cedric The Entertainer, for a moment I thought I was involved with the wrong Mamet.  Many people think it’s a better play than Speed, it had three Hollywood names appealing to three different demographics, etc.

I took a second, reminded myself of why I got involved with Speed and the moment eventually passed.  But I do admit, I had some John Patrick Shanley-sized doubt for a half-a-day.

Flash forward to today.  After a set of disappointing reviews and in the midst of a climate where Harry Potter only pulled in $495k last week, Buffalo just announced that their closing date will be Sunday!  If only Haley saw notices being posted instead of dead people.

The lesson?  Stick to your guts and your initial instincts, because while the grass is always greener, sometimes it’s artificial turf:  attractive to the eye, but nothing real underneath.

Before anyone accuses me of celebrating this premature closing, let me correct you – this ain’t good news.  First, it’s another Show Spot.  I don’t remember the last star driven, high profile, limited-run revival of a tested play that closed this fast, do you?

Second, anytime Broadway boots out three Hollywood actors after only a week makes those Hollywooders think twice about doing it again. And they don’t need us like we need them.

Overheard at Angus. Vol. 1.

Today marks the debut of a new feature on TPP:  Overheard at Angus.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Angus, it’s one of a few eateries where industry muckety-mucks mix with chorus girls and share great burgers and great gossip.

It’s also where many of the industry’s greatest minds and greatest egos try and solve some of our gigantic problems.

I’m at Angus (and its other similar locales) a lot.  Every so often, I’ll hear something worth mentioning, so I will.  No names, and frankly, I’ll be using Angus in the generic form to represent anywhere I hear an idea worth discussing, whether that’s at McDonalds, Fairway, or Chelsea Studios.

This week’s Overheard involved a pretty prominent producer and an agent sharing a drink/negotiation.  Here’s the crux of the convo:

Producer:  I don’t get it.  Why such a large advance?  Of all the shows that I’ve done, the authors have made a helluva lot more than I have over the years.  They get licensing, royalties, publishing.  What do we get?  The right to produce the show in a biz with an 80% failure rate.  Thank you for that gift!  And if we fall in that 20% and actually do recoup, any profit has to be split between the 147 other producers it takes to put on a show these days.

Agent:  Come on, don’t give me that.  You get weekly royalties and fees, too.

Producer:  Yes, which go towards running an office that helps run the show.

Agent:  You get a share of licensing, too.

Producer:  Wrong.  The show gets a piece of licensing.  Which means that the investors get it if the show hasn’t recouped, as they should.  The Producer doesn’t get anything in those cases.

 (At this point, Mr. Producer ordered another Jack and Coke.)

Agent:  So what are you saying?  You don’t think they should make that much?  These guys write the shows.  Without them, you can’t produce a thing.  You might as well go into manufacturing widgets.

Producer:  No, that’s not what I’m saying at all.  They wrote it.  And if it’s a hit, they should get rich, and they should get rich before I do. Andrew Lloyd Webber deserves every penny.  What I’m saying is . . . if the chances of me ever making any money are less than the chances afforded to the authors . . . shouldn’t they be the ones giving us an advance?

Only at Angus, kids . . . only at Angus.

As close to a course in producing as you can get.

There’s no bar exam for Producers.  No boards to pass in order to practice.  No degrees required.

Producers can be marketers, fund-raisers, or dramaturgs.

Anyone with enough passion for product can produce.

That said, there are more and more programs emerging with the goal of educating a new generation of producers about the nuts and bolts of what we do.

Because while anyone can drive a car, you can drive a lot more efficiently and safely if you know how the engine operates.

The Harvard of commercial theater producing is The Commercial Theater Institute, not because of the quality of the education (although it is top-notch), but more so because CTI was the first institute dedicated to commercial theater producing, just like Harvard was the first institute of higher learning in the US.

Harvard was founded in 1636.  Now we have over 4,000 colleges in this country.

Let’s hope we see commercial theater institutes multiply at the same rate.

CTI just announced that it’s accepting applications for its annual 14 week course.  Apply here.

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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