Got 2.5 hours to see a reading? No. Got 20 minutes? Who doesn’t?

I’ve written about the difficulties of “selling” a piece in a typical reading scenario before (and that entry is actually one of the most read blogs – see the new list on the left hand side of the blog).  They’re in the middle of the day.  They are under fluorescent lights.  The audience’s iPhones are vibrating a hole through their pockets, etc.

And of course, one of the greatest challenges is that a typical musical reading is easily a three hour commitment for anyone attending.  That’s a good chunk of an audience’s very busy business day.

So what do you do instead?  I’m glad you asked!

I’m advocating the 20 minute lunchtime reading.  Give me a couple tunes, a couple of scenes and maybe a sandwich, and I’ll swing down, decide if the show suits my taste, and be back in time to make sure the paperwork on my desk hasn’t hit the ceiling.

You follow up, and if I liked it (and the odds are better that I will if I’m only seeing 20 minutes), you send a script and a demo, which I can go through on my own time.

Then you present a more complete reading a month later for the really interested parties and for the creatives, so they can get feedback on the flow, the development of the characters, etc.  (I did this for Altar Boyz, and based the concept on the NAMT model, and I got a great producing partner out of the deal.)

To put it a little more clearly . . .

When I walk by Auntie Anne’s Pretzels on 8th Avenue, they’ve always got this nice employee out front offering free samples of a pretzel bite.  I may not have time to go in the store and pick up a full size, but I can certainly do a grab and go . . . even if I’m on my way to lunch!

And in that one bite, Auntie Anne succeeds in whetting my appetite.  And when I do have time, I’ll go far out of my way for an original with salt and a side of cheese.

3 Things I’ve learned from the NBA, NFL and MLB.

Since Broadway and Off-Broadway shows can’t afford to have marketing laboratories trying every idea we come up with, I often look to other industries to see what they’re doing, in the hopes of being inspired to try something in ours.

Here are three simple ideas that I got from the NBA, the NFL and MLB.

  1. Have a ‘Bat Day’.Need a reason for people to come to the theater on a Tuesday?  Need a reason to get some of your marketing materials in the homes of your advocates?  Most importantly, need a reason to get some press?  Give something away!  People love free stuff, whether it’s a bat, a hat, or a souvenir program.  On Oleanna we gave away Mamet’s latest book, which got us in the press, gave the customers more of a value, and put a big, bulky, hardcover impression on hundreds of coffee tables.
  2. Sell your turf.The NY Giants recently announced that they were selling off the pieces of their stadium before it gets demolished this year.  You can buy turf, seats, even the goal posts.  Why not?  It’s environmentally friendly, it’s gonna make some fans happy, and it’s gonna make the Giants some money.  We just did something similar at Altar Boyz and donated a chunk of the money to BC/EFA, and used the rest to write down some of our closing costs.
  3. Retire your best players’ jerseys.When great players leave the game, they raise the jerseys into the air where everyone can see them and remember the history that is a part of each franchise.  Why don’t long running shows do something like this?  It seems like 3,425 people have played Billy Flynn in Chicago.  I’d love to see a picture (or even the same small costume piece) from each one of them along the walls inside the Ambassador.  And I think audiences would eat it up as well.  A list of well-respected actors that have come before the current cast could give the production even more weight, and more for an audience to talk about.

Marketing is everywhere.  Don’t be afraid to snatch another industry’s idea and make it your own.

They’d do it to us.  The problem is, we haven’t come up with anything first.

Yet.

Only 3 chances left to see My First Time. (ok, that sounded awkward)

MyFirstTimeMy First Time, the 3rd show in what I refer to as my “Off-Broadway memory trilogy” (Altar Boyz (I was a part of a group called “The Holy Rollers”), and The Awesome 80s Prom (I went to high school in the 80s and was obsessed with John Hughes Movies) are the first two) will have its last performance on Friday, January 22nd.

We’ve had an incredible two-and-a-half year run with My First Time and shared a lot of memories, from our “Virgins Get In Free” promotion, to our free national commercial courtesy of Apple.

Although the show will be closing here in New York, My First Time will live on around the world, thanks to my uber-agents at The Marton Agency and Samuel French.

Many thanks to the many that were in my cast of virgins over the years:  Kathy Searle, Cydnee Welburn, Dana Watkins, Nate Williams, Vi Flaten, Emily McNamara, Natalie Knepp, Ian White, Bill Dawes, Josh White, Josh Heine, Marcel Simoneau, Josh Davis, Matt Seidman, Ryan Duncan as well as SM Jeremy Peay and crew members Lindsay Beecher, Mo Ahmed, and Eliza Johnson.  (I should also thank all those naked peeps that appeared in the logo shot, including my main model, Tracy Weiler.)

And while I hate to see the show close, at least I can be proud to say that the show lasted a helluva lot longer than my own first time.  🙂

In fact, I guess there’s one more person I have to thank for the . . . uh . . . inspiration.  I actually think she reads my blog.  I was going to link to her facebook page, but that would just be creepy.  (I’m kidding, I’m kidding.)

But . . . maybe we can get an anonymous comment out of her?  Hmmm???

If you’re looking to reminisce about your own first time, or if you’re looking to have a “next time” with your current significant other, or if you’re just looking for some fun, I recommend you see My First Time before January 22nd.  It plays on Friday nights at 10 PM at New World Stages, and there are only three shows left.  And a portion of the proceeds benefit this great sex ed site, Scarleteen.com.

See it, and save some bucks by visiting here.

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.)

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.

– – – – –

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

Ken Davenport
Ken Davenport

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer

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

Featured Program
The TheaterMakers Studio
Featured Product
Be A Broadway Star
Featured Webinar
Path to Production Webinar
Featured Book
Broadway Investing 101
All Upcoming Events

december, 2019

16dec8:00 pm9:00 pmPRO Office Hours

X