Our 2017 Broadway Holiday Gift Guide: 10 Gifts For . . . You?

Special Saturday Post Y’all!

And it’s for all you folks that are reading this on your mobile device at the Mall.

(Who am I kidding – you’re all shopping online, aren’t you?  I’ve actually made it a goal of mine to not step foot in one actual store this holiday season!)

We’ve done these Broadway Gift Guides every year, but here’s what I’ve discovered from your feedback.

In addition to helping people find gifts for their theatrical-loving loved ones, these lists have been more helpful for theater lovers who need a suggestion list to send to their friends and family!

Cuz let’s face it, if you love Broadway and want to figure out how to get your show or yourself TO Broadway, then you’re tricky to buy for.

So if you’re a Producer, Writer, Actor or just a theater lover, here’s some stuff for your wish list, or if you know someone like this, here are some unique, hard-to-find gifts that will make you the best Santa around.

1. Be A Broadway Star

We’ve always got to start with “Amazon’s Choice” Broadway gift, our best-selling, and the ONLY, Broadway board game on the market, Be A Broadway Star, the board game that puts YOU in the spotlight!

This isn’t your typical board game. This is a Broadway board game! And that means you’ll have lots of chances to show off your stuff along the way, with interactive “make or break” cards that just might have you singing and dancing on your turn!

Get your limited edition copy today! Get it here and play during the holidays!  (For adults, email me for the drinking game version . . . it’s hilarious.)

2.  “How to Succeed in the Arts . . . Or in Anything!

Need a cheap stocking stuffer with practical tips on how to build a career in the arts?  Snag a copy of my book “How to Succeed in the Arts . . . Or in Anything!”

If you’ve imagined being a Producer or a Writer. . .an Actor or a Director. . .or a real estate investor, hedge fund dude, or even a world champion poker player. . . you can do it.  Get my step-by-step guide here.

3.  My Broadway Binder!

Here’s something we originally made as a gift for our Investors, and now we’ve made a version available to you.  What does every true Broadway fan have A TON of?  Programs!  Here’s a place for you to store ’em and show them off to all your friends.   Buy it here.

4.  The Producer’s Perspective PRO

The Producer’s Perspective PRO is the perfect gift for any Writer or Producer. This educational online resource is packed with training courses covering a range of topics all about how to get your show off the ground and on Broadway.  And it’s the ONLY site of it’s kind on the web.  Register here.

5. Once On This Island

If you loved my Spring Awakening directed by Michael Arden, if you love Ahrens and Flaherty, if you love great musical theater period, you’ll love this and so will the theater lover in your life.  Get tickets here.  If you don’t love it, I’ll pick something else on this list and give it to you.

6.  Gettin’ The Band Back Together

I first came up with the idea for Gettin’ The Band Back Together  in 2009!  And it’s finally happening on Broadway this coming summer!  As a special promotion, never been done on Broadway before, I’ve introduced “conference style” pricing, which means you can get tickets until 12/31/17 for only $99.  So if you think you’d want to go later, you’re better off gettin’ ’em as a gift now. Come see what John Rando, The Tony Award-winning director of Urinetown does with my script that The New York Times already called “A feel-good class act! A playful, irreverent, and genuinely funny musical.” Get tickets for only $99 here.

 7.  The Producer’s Perspective Super Conference

Our first conference this past year was such a big hit that we’re doing it again in 2018.  And we’ve already sold a bunch of tickets!  Based on the # we’ve sold already, we’re expecting a sell out this year. If you’re searching for an in depth look at the theatre industry, then The Producer’s Perspective Super Conference is your chance to learn from the very best in the business. Held on November 10th & 11th, 2018 in New York City, it’s the perfect place to learn what you can’t learn anywhere else, from people that have achieved the success we all strive for. Register for the Conference here.

8.  The Broadway Coloring Book

Created by my own Director of Marketing, Monica Hammond (I have such a multi-talented staff), The Broadway Coloring Book is available as an instant download PDF for you to print, color and enjoy right away or gift to friends! This 10 page coloring book features hand-drawn scenes from some classic Broadway shows, including Mamma MiaChicagoCabaretGypsy and more! Color the costumes and sets of Broadway as many times as you like! Download your copy now!

9. “How to Write a Script in 30 Days

Did you know I wrote a second book?  As you know I’m all about setting goals, and deadlines for your goals.  If you’ve got an idea you KNOW will work if you could just get it to paper . . . or if you know someone with an idea that is looking for a little practical help getting it done, this is an under $20 gift to help. Get your copy here.

10.  Daddy Long Legs Cast Recording

Did you catch the Daddy Long Legs live stream or see the Off Broadway production in person? If you did, you’ll know just how special the Original Off Broadway Cast Recording is. Featuring Megan McGinnis and Paul Alexander Nolan, this gorgeous cast recording will make your heart sing. Get it here. You can also listen to Megan McGinnis narrating the story of Daddy Long Legs by clicking here to get the audiobook.

Happy shopping, everyone!

Podcast Episode 138- Kwame Kwei-Armah

From singer to songwriter to actor to award-winning playwright to Artistic Director, Kwame Kwei-Armah has done just about everything an artist can do in the theater already.  And, given the accolades already bestowed on him (he’s been produced at the National, and in short order, he’ll assume the reins of the Young Vic in London), he’s done it all at a super high level.

But in my 30-minute podcast with him, I got the feeling that he was just getting started and that there was a helluva lot more he was going to do . . . and that the theater would be better off for it.

Kwame is wrapping up his post as the Artistic Director of Center Stage in Baltimore, where he has had a massive effect on the institution, the staff, and the community . . . but as you’ll hear, as most great leaders do, Kwame focuses on what he learned from his time as one of the few black Artistic Directors in the country, and how it’ll make him a better artist in the future.

Listen in to hear Kwame chat about his experience in Baltimore, his upcoming gig, as well as . . .

  • Why a lack of jobs for him and his actor friends made him pick up a pen and write, even though he had never written a play before.
  • How a mentor helped give him his start . . . and why we ALL need a mentor!
  • Why he doubled down on studying and mastering writing AFTER he had a hit . . . (Most people would sit back and surf on their early success, but not Kwame.)
  • How a political point influences all his writing . . . and then why he hides it.
  • What the @#$% can we ALL do about diversity.

The only thing that really upset me about this podcast . . . is that Kwame is leaving the US to go back to the UK.

We’re going to miss him.

So get him while you can and listen in!

Click here for the link to my podcast with Kwame!

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

Download it here.


Podcast Episode 135 – SpongeBob The Musical Bookwriter, Kyle Jarrow

Kyle Jarrow is the ultimate interdisciplinary writer.

He has written films that have been screened at Sundance.  He has a new TV show on the CW right now.  And this fall he’ll make his Broadway debut as a bookwriter with SpongeBob The Musical.

Pretty cool, right?

Oh, I forgot to mention . . . he also leads the rock band Sky-Pony with his equally as interdisciplinarily-talented wife, Lauren Worsham.

That’s right, folks, from big brand Broadway entertainment to super-hip indie-pop, Kyle writes it all.

That’s why I was so interested in chatting with him . . . because, well, honestly, it’s one thing to write for different mediums, it’s another to achieve success in each one of those mediums.

I wanted to find out what his secret sauce was.

Listen to hear him share the ingredients to that sauce as well as:

  • How he got the job for SpongeBob (a process different than most musicals).
  • What a bookwriter’s job really is, and how that changes with different collaborators.
  • Why he wrote A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant, and how that got him into some trouble.
  • How an idea informs what medium you should write it for.
  • Just how the heck he keeps all these projects straight . . . and makes them successful!

We’re going to be reading, hearing and listening to a lot of Kyle’s stuff in the future.  So you might as well start with this podcast.

You’ll be saying, “I heard him when . . . ”

Click here for the link to my podcast with Kyle!

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

Download it here.


Podcast Episode 134 – BMI’s Director of Musical Theatre, Pat Cook

Pat Cook is the equivalent of a musical theater research scientist.

For 28 years, Pat has been in the BMI laboratory, watching new writers perfect their craft, and helping them discover their potential.

Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, Jeff Marx and Bobby Lopez, and my Once On This Island writers Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens are just a few of the teams that might not be who they are today without the work of BMI.

I don’t think there’s anyone on the planet that has worked with so many musical theater writers, which is why I wanted Pat on my podcast, to share his wisdom on what it takes to make a great musical.

He shared that, and then some, including:

  • How and why he went from actor to writer.
  • What makes a great musical theater writer, versus just a great writer.
  • The most important thing that writers should do when they are writing a musical, and it doesn’t involve writing at all.
  • Can any idea be a musical?
  • The best way to collaborate with your co-writer.

If you’re a musical theater writer, and you’ve ever thought about applying to BMI, you should.  But if you can’t make that commitment or don’t live within commuting distance, then listen to this podcast.  Pat tells you exactly what you need to do to become a better writer on your own.

Listen in!

Click here for the link to my podcast with Pat!

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

Download it here.


Pat will be moderating our Writer’s Panel at our Super Conference!  Come listen to him interview some of the industry’s best and hear his wisdom up close and personal!  Click here.


One question to help make your show stand out.

I’m a big fan of the checklist.

Most anal-retentive, Type A, borderline OCD people/producers are.

I’ve always been this way, but after I read this best-selling book as part of our Davenport Theatrical Book Club, I took my checklists to the next level.

And it has been great for me and my staff, as we’ve found that a checklist for any repeated process helps make sure you stay true to your original mission and do it with more efficiency.

That process can even be producing shows, writing shows, directing shows or anything with shows.

Here’s one of the questions that is on my checklist for every single show I do, and should be on yours as you travel down the path to production.

Ready?  Here goes:

What am I doing in this show that has never been done before?

That’s it.

See, we all know that unique is what works.  It’s why every 1st-year business student learns that before you launch a company you better have a clearly defined “USP” (Unique Selling Proposition).

Too often, theatermakers forget that we’re a business too, and just doing what has been done before makes your shot at success that much harder.

You have to stand out, whether that’s in the writing, directing, producing, marketing, designing . . . and preferably in all of those elements!

Because what’s unique is what is talked about.  It’s what gets press, and it’s what gets audiences excited.

I’m reminded of this every time I put my RUG hat on . . . and think about Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar, Starlight Express, School of Rock, and so many others in the portfolio.  Every one of these has something about them that was new, revolutionary and not seen in your run-of-the-mill Broadway show.

And certainly, Hamilton, Avenue Q, Book of Mormon, Rent, A Chorus Line, The Lion King, etc. all follow this same rule.

So as you work on your show today . . . whether you’re a Producer, Writer, Director, Designer or Marketer, ask yourself, “What am I doing in this show that has never been done before?”

The longer the list, the longer the run.