2nd Annual ITBA Nominations Announced

The Independent Theater Bloggers Association, of which I am a proud member and co-founder, announced its 2nd set of nominations for excellence in the theater recently.

The list is as follows:

BROADWAY

OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY MUSICAL
American Idiot
Everyday Rapture
Fela!

OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY PLAY
In The Next Room (or the vibrator play)
Next Fall
Red
Superior Donuts
Time Stands Still

OUTSTANDING BROADWAY MUSICAL REVIVAL
Finian’s Rainbow
La Cage aux Folles
A Little Night Music
Ragtime

OUTSTANDING BROADWAY PLAY REVIVAL
Brighton Beach Memoirs
Fences
Lend Me A Tenor
Oleanna
A View From The Bridge

OFF-BROADWAY

OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY PLAY
Circle Mirror Transformation
Clybourne Park
The Orphans Home Cycle
The Temperamentals

OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY MUSICAL
Bloodsong of Love
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
The Scottsboro Boys
YANK!

OUTSTANDING OFF-BROADWAY REVIVAL (PLAY OR MUSICAL)
The Glass Menagerie
A Lie Of The Mind
Twelfth Night

OFF-OFF BROADWAY

OUTSTANDING OFF-OFF-BROADWAY SHOW
Alice In Slasherland
Girls In Trouble
In Fields Where They Lay
Lear
MilkMilkLemonade
Rescue Me
Samuel & Alasdair: A Personal History of the Robot War
The Soup Show
Viral

UNIQUE OFF-OFF-BROADWAY EXPERIENCE
The Lily’s Revenge

CITATION FOR EXCELLENCE IN OFF-OFF-BROADWAY THEATRE
Company XIV

ALL VENUES

OUTSTANDING SOLO SHOW/PERFORMANCE
A Boy And His Soul
Zero Hour

OUTSTANDING ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE
Circle Mirror Transformation
A Lie Of The Mind
Twelfth Night

Winners will be announced on May 20th, along with citations for excellence by individual performers.

For more info on the ITBA, including how to join, visit www.theaterbloggers.com.

Congrats to all and good luck!

10 Questions for a Broadway Pro. Volume 1: A Broadway Mad Man.

Today on The Producer’s Perspective we’re introducing a brand new feature, which is a spin-off on my Advice From An Expert articles.

In “10 Questions for a Broadway Pro,” I ask . . . yep . . . a Broadway Industry Professional 10 Questions!

We’ll talk to all sorts of people involved in the modern theater and get their perspective on their job, their role in the biz and what they’d like to see change.  We’re gonna hear from Casting Directors, Marketing Directors, Press Agents, and more (let me know if there is a position you’d like to hear from).

The inspiration for this feature came from my first gig on a Broadway show.  I was the Production Assistant on the Barry and Fran Weissler revival of My Fair Lady, starring Richard Chamberlain and a 23-year-old Melissa Errico.  My duties included everything from getting Richard his fresh-off-the-bone turkey sandwiches to typing up the rehearsal schedule on a Mac Classic.

And it was one of the greatest times of my life.

The best part about the gig was that I was exposed to a whole bunch of people and positions that I never knew existed before.  The job gave me a chance to see who was pulling the curtain strings of Broadway . . . and made me realize that I was even more excited about being behind-the-scenes rather than in them (I was on the actor-track).

I used to ask everyone involved in the show questions about what they did. Thanks to their answers, I learned so much about what I wanted to do and what I didn’t want to do.

So, I thought I’d give you a virtual experience of what I went through back then, and introduce you to not only the biggest players on Broadway whose names aren’t on the marquees, but also help us all understand what exactly they do on a day-to-day basis.

First up is one of Broadway’s own Mad Men, Drew Hodges, the founder and CEO of SpotCo, one of the two Broadway heavyweight ad agencies.  (Drew also happens to be #21 on BroadwaySpace.com’s 50 Most Powerful People.)

Having sat in many an ad meeting with Drew, I can tell you that he’s one of a very rare hybrid that combines incredible business acumen with unbridled creativity.

Without further ado, here are 10 Questions with Drew!

1.    What is your title?

Founder, SpotCo Advertising

2.    What show/shows are you currently working on?

Next Fall, Million Dollar Quartet, La Cage, Memphis, A Behanding in Spokane, Chicago, The Pee Wee Herman Show, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Hair, A View From the Bridge, Billy Elliot, Fences, Time Stands Still, Red, In The Heights,  The 39 Steps, Avenue Q, West Side Story, Come Fly Away, Lips Together Teeth Apart, Present Laughter, The Miracle Worker, Blue Man Group, Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Love Never Dies.  In no particular order.

3.    In one sentence, describe your job.

We create identities and sell tickets for live theatrical events.

4.    What skills are necessary for a person in your position?

Creativity, marketing, problem solving, humility, humor, and fast thinking.

5.    What kind of training did you go through to get to your position?

I owned my own design studio doing advertising and design for entertainment – film, cable, and the recording industry – for 12 years. Before that, I got a BFA in Graphic Design from the School of Visual Arts.

6.    What was your first job in theater?

I did the poster for The Destiny of Me, the sequel to The Normal Heart for Tom Viola and Roger McFarland.  It’s a portrait of my right hand.

7.    Why do you think theater is important?

It creates joy and outrage, both often when we need it most.

8.    What is your profession’s greatest challenge today?

Conservatism, and too many cooks.

9.    If you could change just one thing about the industry with the wave of a magic wand, what would it be?

That every challenge be met with humor and poise, rather than blame.  The team is always better when unified and caring.

10.    What advice would you give to someone who wanted to do what you do?

If you wanted to work in advertising for theater, there are several paths to take.  If you are a graphic designer, video editor, web designer, etc., we just look for a great portfolio that has vibrancy, a sense of humor as a person, and the ability to move fast.  A love of theater is not essential, and often times, I like that people bring a more diverse palette to our Broadway materials.  If you wanted to be an account person, a writer, etc., a passion for theater is a great help.  A sense of marketing, or marketing courses as a background are nice.  We have several people from the BMI workshop, and the producing program at Columbia.  We also have people who have worked at other more traditional ad agencies, and that knowledge can be a huge help, when combined with the joy (or the heartbreak) of theater.

Because Drew is the kind of guy that always goes a little further in everything he does, he also answered a bonus question.  When asked what kind of advice he would give to someone that wanted to be a Producer, he answered as follows:

Surround yourself with the best people, and be willing to understand that every friend you have will tell you your project is perfect.  You need to listen to real people, and if your advance is falling, people don’t like it as much as you think.  The opposite is also true- if your advance is climbing, no matter how slowly, people are genuinely loving your show and you should keep going.

Want to hear more expert advice from Drew but don’t have a show that he can advertise yet?  Listen to some of his American Theatre Wing panels here.

What do you think will recoup this year? Survey results revealed!

Game on!

We had a record number of entries to this Spring’s “Will It Recoup” contest.  This year’s players included some of Broadway’s biggest players, as well as high school students, regional theater directors, folks from overseas and more.  It’s quite a collection of handicappers . . . but just like Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest, there can only be one winner.

Who will it be?

We’ve got some time before the Kindle winner is revealed, so until then I thought we’d take a look at what the majority of you thought.

Below are the results of how all of you voted on each show’s recoupment chances:

A View From The Bridge
87.9% It WILL recoup
12.1% It will NOT recoup

The Miracle Worker
44.3% It WILL recoup
55.7% It will NOT recoup

A Behanding in Spokane
36.6% It WILL recoup
63.4% It will NOT recoup

Next Fall
27.8% It WILL recoup
72.2% It will NOT recoup

Looped
20.8% It WILL recoup
79.2% It will NOT recoup

Red
24.3% It WILL recoup
75.7% It will NOT recoup

Lend Me A Tenor
49.3% It WILL recoup
50.7% It will NOT recoup

Fences
72.6% It WILL recoup
27.4% It will NOT recoup

Enron
46.5% It WILL recoup
53.5% It will NOT recoup

So, according to the majority of you, there will be TWO recoupers in this lot of nine, A View From The Bridge and Fences.  Those two winners would put us slightly ahead of our industry standard recoupment rate of 1 out of 5 shows.  Sounds like a safe, star-driven bet to me.

Then again, the majority picked 33 Variations to recoup last year, and thought that God of Carnage was going to be a financial bomb.  😉  Don’t feel so bad. I produced Oleanna this year, remember?

What do I think?  I think there’s a good shot at getting three shows into the black this Spring . . . which would put us at 3 out of 9.

And that’s a pretty dang good batting average for any business.

Stay tuned to the blog for updates as the season goes on, and good luck to all the players!

And even better luck to all the actual Producers.

Play “Will It Recoup” and win a Kindle!

Spring is in the air (sorta), which means it’s time to play . . . (say it with me like you’re the audience of a game show) . . . WILL . . . IT . . . RECOUP!

Last year was the first time we played this fantasy Broadway investment game, and I got a bunch of great feedback about it (especially from last year’s winner, Tom L., who walked away with an iPhone), so I thought we’d play with our imagined fortunes again!

This year, I’m not giving away an iPhone (and I won’t ever again, until they release us from the horror that is AT&T).  The grand prize for this season of Will It Recoup is my new favorite toy in my Producer’s Toolkit, a Kindle!

Here’s how the game works:

There are currently nine commercial plays set to open from Jan. 1st to this year’s Tony deadline.  Your job?  Pick the ones that will recoup.  That simple . . .or is it?

I’m not including any musicals, because it would just take too dang long to find out who won the Kindle (I can barely stand how long it takes to get through one American Idol season).  Most of the plays are limited runs, or what I call, the ol’ Broadway “Smash and Grab,” so we should know the results sometime this summer.

The plays are:

A View From The Bridge
The Miracle Worker
A Behanding in Spokane
Next Fall
Looped
Red
Lend Me A Tenor
Fences
Enron

And yep, one of the plays above has already opened, so you’ve got a gimme.  

To play, just click on the link below.  It’ll take you to a survey.  Pick the recoupers and you’re in!

A few important rules:

– All entrants must be email subscribers to the blog so I can validate your entry.  If you are not an email subscriber, please subscribe by putting your email in the box to the left of this entry.  The email you subscribe with must match the email you enter in the survey.  (People have lost prizes because of failing to make sure their emails match, so please take care with this one).
– Only one entry per reader
– Recoupment must occur during the Broadway run to count as a recouped show (in other words, subsidiary income doesn’t count).

Entries will only be accepted until 2/15 at 12:01 AM so enter today!

For additional info on the game, including some tips on how to win, check out last year’s description of the game here.     

Now let’s play . . . (one more time) . . . WILL . . . IT . . . RECOUP!

PLAY WILL IT RECOUP TODAY!  WIN A KINDLE!  CLICK HERE!   

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