Will Game Of Thrones make it to Broadway? And will it be a hit?

News travels fast across Westeros!

Today, multiple ravens announced that Game of Thrones is headed for the stage!

As this article reports, the wildly (and Wildling) successful HBO series is set to debut in 2023 in NYC, London, and in Australia.  Which will come first?  Who knows, but I doubt Broadway will host the premiere, given our high cost and high stakes (if you make it here you can make it anywhere – and if you DON’T make it here, then good luck elsewhere!).

George R.R. Martin will write the “story” along with Duncan MacMillan (who brought us 1984) and Dominic Cooke will direct.  Simon Painter and Tim Lawson will produce.

So the team is first-rate.

But this will be a challenging one.

I’m always fearful of source material that is SO successful.  It gives you quite a hurdle to jump over.  Harry Potter did an amazing job with their adaptation (and GOT is taken a similar approach in coming up with a new story for the stage version), but it hasn’t been the slam dunk business-wise we all thought it would be (this Producer included).

And this genre has had a checkered past.  Remember Lord of the Rings?  Another celebrated fantasy series that never got all the way here?

Regardless of what happens (and I’ll be praying to the Red God for its success), the fact that a brand this popular sees the theater as an important part of its extension, is another reason why the future of the theater looks bright.

Film, TV, theme parks, merchandising, and yes, the theater.  The most successful entertainment brands in the world should have a piece of everyone.

What do you think about a Game of Thrones theater piece?

Podcast Episode #225: What do the recent Actors Equity Protocols mean for Broadway Producers like me?

ESTIMATED LISTENING TIME OF THIS PODCAST EPISODE:  12 MINUTES

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

  • FOLLOW The Producer’s Perspective on Apple Podcast (it’s FREE to do so!)
  • Rate/Review on Apple Podcast
  • FOLLOW on Broadway Podcast Network’s FREE iOS app
  • Share this episode with your friends!

DESCRIPTION

A lot has happened since I posted this blog about my perspective on the recently announced Actors Equity protocols.

I expected a lot of responses.

What I did not expect was some of the biggest actors in our biz to post a petition asking for an open dialogue with their union about why those protocols appeared so strict.  (See here for more on that).

If you want to hear my perspective on how those protocols will affect Broadway Producers like me and the return of the theater, click here.

And then, tune in to my clubhouse event with Tim Hughes (who started this petition) as well as Sammi Cannold and more!  We’ll be talking all about the return, what’s taking so long, and taking your questions and comments as well.

That’s it! No more surveys about THIS!

Usually, I love a survey.

I’m a big-time tester when it comes to understanding what our audience wants.

I survey theatergoers about all sorts of things.  I ask if they think a book or movie would make a good musical.  I ask what they thought of Act II. I ask whether a logo makes them want to learn more about a show.  (Side note about this last one.  Note that I didn’t say “whether a logo makes them want to buy a ticket.  Because logos don’t do that – so stop stressing.  But good ones can make people lean in and want to learn more.)

I even got this write-up in the New York Times years ago for being the first Broadway Producer to incorporate dial testing for a developing show. (Shocker – some of the old guard didn’t like this approach.)

So what am I so peeved about a certain type of survey that has been circulating every month or so?

Because it’s a survey in a vacuum.

The offending survey . . . you know the one . . . asks audience members IF they feel comfortable returning to the theater NOW and if they are not comfortable WHEN they will feel comfortable?  (By the way, I’ll admit – even I’ve asked this question every so often . . . so I’m blog-spanking myself here as well.)

I’m sure it does NOT surprise you to hear that a majority of the people in the country are NOT comfortable returning to the theater right now.  And they are not excited about returning anytime soon.

Of course they aren’t!  Because the majority of big theaters aren’t open yet.  Because it’s not safe to open them yet!

We, as human beings, live in the now.  It’s hard for us to imagine in the future feeling a different way than the way we feel right now.  If we are anxious and worried . . . it’s hard to imagine that going away, no matter what someone says (especially if it’s an online survey!) . . .

So these surveys are not realistic attitude-checks on when theatergoers will return.

You want to get a more accurate assessment?  Survey ONLY the vaccinated people.  Ask them how comfortable they are to return.  Something tells me you’ll get a different response.

It’s like . . . well . . . when all those surveys in the fall announced a high percentage of hesitancy for the vaccine.  When the vaccine wasn’t approved yet!  Now?  Websites are crashing under high demand, vaccine sites are overrun when excess supply rumors abound, and more.

Unfortunately, we’re not going to be able to rely on surveys to ease our concern here.  Because everything is changing so fast . . . and it’s literally life and death. We have to give in to the fact that it’s going to be a white-knuckle ride as we get Broadway back up and running.  Will the audience come?  Will they come quickly?

My feeling?

Get them vaccinated.  Put proper protocols in place.  And entertain them like they’ve never been entertained before.

And look out, Telecharge and Ticketmaster, because your websites just might crash under high demand too.


 The Nutshell Technique Workshop for TheaterMakers is Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 10th at 7 PM – 9 PM EST (Live “Nutshelling” from 9-9:30) Sign up here.

Your Favorite Daddy-Daughter Duo Is Back!

I think it’s safe to say that what the world needs now . . .more than ever . . . is love, sweet love.

That’s the mission of YouTube singing sensations Mat & Savanna Shaw, who found an audience of millions during this pandemic, with their joyous and simple videos.  That’s right, who needs special effects and high tech, when you have a duo like this, with a message like this.
And that’s why I produced their world premiere concert a few weeks ago.
It was so successful (thousands tuned in) that we wanted to give those who missed it another chance.  That’s why, through Friday, January 15th, you can see their livestreamed concert OnDemand!.
Grab your ticket here, and don’t forget to share with friends and family.
And I dare you not to smile when these two sing.
Enjoy!

The Top 10 Best Broadway Moments of 2020: PART II

Hello and happy New Year, everybody!
 
As we all prepare to forge ahead . . . I’m still stuck in 2020!  I mean, why not. It was soooo much fun, let’s hang out here a wee bit more, shall we?
Ok, ok.  I get it.  Stop throwing the e-tomatoes.  I’ll be quick.
 
Today you get Part II of my “Top 10 Best Broadway Moments of 2020”. Then, I promise, we can move the eff on.
 
Let’s get to it!
 
(To see Part I of my Top 10 Best Broadway Moments #1-5 click here.)
 
6. A Prime Time Special

It took a pandemic for another network (besides our loyal friends at CBS) to give us an hour-long variety special . . . hosted by none other than Tina Fey! “One Night Only: The Best of Broadway” was a gift from the NBC gods.  From the Jersey Boys opening to a number from Hamilton as well as performances from new shows like Jagged Little Pill, interviews with our stars like Rob McClure, a peek into the process of making a show, and more . . . this show did its job.  It was a rest stop on this long highway of getting Broadway back up and running again.  Now, NBC, what do we have to do to convince you to do this event next year??? (You can watch the special here on demand.)

7. The Shubert Theater Board Room Shake Up
 
The Shubert Organization is like the monarchy of the Broadway theater world.  It’s the oldest.  It’s steeped in tradition.  It controls the most real estate.  And with an institution that is as large and powerful as that, change often comes slowly.  That’s why I was thrilled to see Pamela Newkirk, a journalist, scholar and Black woman, added to its board of directors.  And just in case you thought this was a symbolic addition to its knights-of-the-round-table like board . . . read on.  Pamela’s most famous work thus far is a book called . . . wait for it . . .  Diversity Inc.: The Failed Promise of Billion-Dollar Business.  So yeah, The Shuberts knew what they were getting into when they added her to their inner circle.  And they’re obviously embracing it.  It’s a leap ahead for the org and our industry.
8. The TheaterMakers Summit
 
I wasn’t going to put The Summit on this list, because obviously I’m a bit biased, having founded The TheaterMakers Studio and its yearly conference.  But I did, because to be honest, the success of this year’s Summit had nothing to do with me. 
The success was because of the 100 (!) speakers and 1000 attendees who came brimming with optimism and excitement about how Broadway could be even better when we come back.  It was one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever seen, never mind helped put together!  Even I walked away with 5 pages of notes from these A-list speakers on how I can make more theater and better theater!

So, I put it on the list.  You can see the inspiring and action-initiating talks here.

Oh, and yes, we are doing it again next year.  We already have a theme!  Ready?  It’s . . . “Places, please.” 🙂  Learn more here.

 
9. Prepare Ye for Godspell at The Berkshire Theater Group
 

Ok, let’s be honest.  Producers and Theaters are still figuring out how they are going to do theater THIS coming summer!  And yet Berkshire Theater Group and it’s formidable leader, Kate Maguire,  pulled it off LAST summer!

Godspell was the first production in the country to receive approval for production by Actors Equity . . . and even though the show had to pivot 147 times (including a last-minute change to present it outside), they pulled it off.  And they got multiple NY Times articles as a result!  While press attention wasn’t the goal, it did prove again that figuring out how to do something when no one else can, can get you a lot of attention.  Luckily, because of the leadership of Ms. Maguire, that attention was all positive.

We owe this theater and Kate a debt for not just dreaming about a production, but by doing one.  It inspired us to all to figure out how we can do it too.
 
10. Diana . . . and we haven’t even seen it yet!
 
One of my most-liked posts on Instagram this year was this one . . . a shot of me outside the Longacre theater as Diana, a new musical that hasn’t even opened on Broadway, was performing for cameras inside.
Netflix has been our fairy godmother this year, giving us Boys in the Band, The Prom and more.  But its biggest bet on Broadway this year was putting hundreds of TheaterMakers on a new musical BACK to work, and shooting Diana, on stage, for release in 2021.  Before anyone knows if it’s going to be a hit or not!  Not only could this help Diana build an audience before it opensbut if this works for Netflix, it could be the start of a brand new business model for developing new musicals.  Yep, you heard it here first . . . the streamed show BEFORE that show opens, could become the new concept album (like Jesus Christ Superstar, Waitress, etc.), that develops a show’s fanbase and therefore a marketing foundation.
And there they are . . . my favorite moments of 2020!  (Part I is here if you need to go back.)
And now, let’s get the @#$% out of this year and make 2021 the best that anyone of us has ever seen.  Broadway and the theater will be back.  And boy oh boy are the ovations at those first shows going to be enormous.
See you there.
Happy New Year everyone.
– – – – –
Speaking of “next,” my next blog will be on Tuesday, January 5th . . . and it’s going to be about a new survey about the vaccine and what that means for our start date.  Click here to make sure you get it first.
X