Why a bump is a like a breakup.

I took a call today from a producing peer who was having a serious issue with a project.  After a heck of a lot of work (a couple of years, actually), the show just blew up.  It was nothing he did.  It was beyond his control.  It was just . . . over.

He was pretty upset.  And deservedly so.  He even said a few things like, “I don’t know if I can go through this again.  I’m giving up producing and going to law school.”

If you’ve been working in this biz or in any biz, then I’d bet a billion buckaroos that you’ve hit a similar bump in the road along your way, and you’ve probably considered law school . . . or your equivalent . . . as well.  I know I have.

And as I explained to my buddy that as hard as it was for him right now, he’d eventually get over it, and find another project.

Sound familar?

If you’ve ever been through a breakup, you’ve felt the same way and probably heard similiar advice.  Because when you’ve just lost something you loved and are miserable, it’s hard to think that you’ll ever come out on the other side.

But you do, don’t you? Eventually, it clears, and you move on, and you when the time is right, you meet someone new.

So, the next time you’re having a crisis with a project–something that you can’t see yourself getting through . . . remember that time you got dumped . . . and how you eventually got over that too.

 

(Got a comment?  I love ’em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)

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FUN STUFF

– 29 Days to Godspell!  Read the day-by-day account of producing Godspell on Broadway here.

– The next Get Your Show Off The Ground seminar is on 9/17.  Only 2 spots left.  Register today!

10 Questions for a Broadway Pro: Lincoln Center’s Ira Weitzman

Ira Weitzman is a musical midwife.

He has helped some of our industry’s most celebrated authors give birth to musicals like Falsettos, Sunday in the Park with You Know Who, Once on This Island, Parade and many, many more over his 30-year career.

If you’re an author, and you had a chance to choose between winning the lottery and having Ira guide the development of your show . . . I’d tell you to go with Ira.  You could always win the lottery some other time.

Take it away, Ira!

1. What is your title?

Musical Theater Associate Producer at Lincoln Center Theater. 

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

I just finished a long cycle of development and production that began in 2005 with The Light in the Piazza in the Vivian Beaumont Theater and just ended with A Minister’s Wife in the Mitzi Newhouse Theater.   In between those shows were six other musicals including our Tony Award winning production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific in the Beaumont and Clay which opened our new theater, LCT3.  Now it all begins again with a new cycle.  I am too superstitious to talk about shows at such an early stage.

3. In one sentence, describe your job.

As an artistic producer of (mostly) new musicals, I am involved in almost every aspect of bringing them to fruition in collaboration with Artistic Director, Andre Bishop.

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

Taste and an eye for talent, working knowledge of musical theater both historical and current, good communication skills, good judgment and a desire to collaborate.   Though it isn’t really a skill, I would also add that having a real passion for this work helps, particularly when the going gets tough.

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

I didn’t go to college so everything I learned was from experience.  I created my job, so in a sense my whole life is training for my work.

6. What was your first job in the theater?

I was Bob Moss’ assistant at Playwrights Horizons in 1977 during his last season as Artistic Director there.

7. Why do you think theater is important?

I believe in the communal power of live performance. Musicals are especially powerful.
When everything comes together, a musical can be entertaining, provocative, enlightening and enriching for both the audience and the performers.

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

The challenge of finding a musical that we can be excited about working on.  It has not changed or gotten easier through the years.   On the more practical side there are always financial challenges since musicals are not cheap to produce.

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

I would make theater affordable for those who want to produce it and those who want to see it.

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

To love what you are doing and to not be afraid of taking risks.

 

(Got a comment?  I love ’em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)

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FUN STUFF

– 65 Days to Godspell!  Read the day-by-day account of producing Godspell on Broadway here.

– Enter to win 2 tickets to The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown!  Click here.

Godspell tickets officially on sale starting today.


Godspell
officially entered its “soft sale” period today.

If you’ve enjoyed my blog, I hope you’ll get a ticket today.

Because I know you’ll love the show.

Get Godspell tickets here.

And if you want a definition of “soft sale,” click here.

 

(Got a comment?  I love ’em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)

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FUN STUFF

– 94 Days to Godspell!  Read the day-by-day account of producing Godspell on Broadway here.

– Win 2 tickets to Silence, Shrek or Rocky Horror. Click here!

Are we producing more new plays each decade or less?

Yesterday we talked about musicals, and today we’re talking plays.

What has been the trend for new plays throughout the decades?

Let’s go to the stat board and see what we’ve got.

  • In the 1940s, the average number of new plays produced each season was 49.4
  • In the 1950s, it was 41.4
  • In the 1960s, it was 35.7
  • In the 1970s, it was 25.1
  • In the 1980s, it was 17.4
  • In the 1990s, it was 10.9

Down, down, down like a submarine filled with sumo wrestlers . . . holding bricks.

But wouldn’t you know it, the average crept up a bit this last decade, just like musicals.

  • In the 2000s, the average number of new plays was 11.7

But still, a 77% decline from the 1940s?  Wowza.

Now yes, some of the decline from the days of old is from the additional theaters that were around/available . . . but 77%?

There is without a doubt a direct correlation to both the play and the musical decreases over the decades and the increase in risk as costs have escalated.

Let me be absolutely clear.  We must find ways of stabilizing this risk.  If we don’t, the disturbing trend above will continue, and as you can see, it’s very hard to reverse it. The best we can hope for over the next decade is that it doesn’t drop again.

So there’s our challenge readers.  Operation “Don’t-Let-The-Averages-Drop-This-Decade” is on.

Let’s get to it.

 

(Got a comment?  I love ’em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)

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FUN STUFF

– 97 Days to Godspell!  Read the day-by-day account of producing Godspell on Broadway here.

– Win 2 tickets to Cirque du Soleil’s Zarkana. Click here!

 

Introducing my spinoff: The Producer’s Perspective – The Godspell Edition.

What do Happy Days, Cheers and Law & Order all have in common with this blog?

They’ve all produced a spin-off!

Last week, I revealed the results of my Producer’s Perspective survey about who you were and what you were interested in.  In the comments section of the survey, there was an outpouring of requests like these for a more insider perspective on producing:

  • “I want to know what a Producer does every day when putting together a Broadway show.”
  • “Can you give me more info on the day to day of what you do?  I still don’t know what  a Producer does besides raise money and go to Sardi’s.”
  • “I want to sit on your shoulder and see what you see.”

I racked my brain on how I could deliver what you wanted.  And then I thought, wait a minute, I’m lead producing a Broadway show this season.  And wait a minute, I’m exactly 100 days from my first preview.  And wait a minute, I could . . . BING-TO-THE-O!

So . . . you asked!  You got it!  (But dude who wants to sit on my shoulder, I am assuming you mean figuratively because a linebacker I am not.)

Today, I am proud to announce the debut of my second blog entitled:

DAY BY DAY – The Producer’s Perspective:  A day-by-day account of producing Godspell on Broadway.

Yesterday, we were exactly 100 days from our first preview on October 13th.  So, I started posting and will continue to post an entry a day as we countdown the 100 days to Godspell’s first preview on Broadway.

Each day I’ll blog about something that happened that I had to deal with.  Maybe it’ll be what was discussed at an ad meeting, how many people showed up at the open call, the first time I saw some costume sketches, etc.  There will be lots of pictures, video, and maybe even some guest blogs from some of the Godspell team along the way.

It’ll be like you’re e-sitting on my shoulder as we produce the first ever Broadway revival of Godspell.  Oh, and after a little research, we think this is the first time this has ever been done, so it keeps with my company’s mission statement of doing #$&@ that hasn’t been done.

To read Day By Day, click here.

And make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss even one of those days.  Unlike Law & Order, there won’t be repeats on TNT.

Thanks again for the survey-inspiration . . . and enjoy the spinoff!  I think it’ll be exactly what you are looking for.

Or at least it’ll be better than Joanie Loves Chachi.

 

(Got a comment?  I love ’em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)

—————-

FUN STUFF

– 99 Days to Godspell!  Read the day-by-day account of producing Godspell on Broadway here.

– Seminars in Chicago, the weekend of July 9th.  Click here!

– Win 2 tickets to Cirque du Soleil’s Zarkana. Click 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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