I’d do anything to skip a line. Wouldn’t you?

I travel a lot, and thanks to the international success of My First Time, and my love of London, I find myself crossing a lot of borders.  And as many of you know, I’m sure, there is nothing worse than getting off an 8+ hour flight home to find a huge line at customs and immigration when you’re oh so close to your own apartment and own bed.

Last time I re-entered the US through Newark, I noticed this guy walk right up to an ATM-like machine, slap his passport down, put his fingers on a scanner, and then scoot right past the long line and into the arms of his awaiting family.

It’s called Global Entry.

I felt like I was 10 years old again and saw my best friend playing with Pac Man on his new Atari.  All I could think was, “I want that.”

A chance to skip a line?  A chance to get through a process faster?   Sign me up.   No matter what the cost.

So I did. I paid $100 bucks, went through a background check and an interview at JFK by Customs and Border Patrol Officer Poluzzo (nice guy – I promised to get him tickets to any show except Book of Mormon).  And now I can speed through customs like a greased Pac-Man.

The US border isn’t the only place I’ll pay to skip a line.  I go to Six Flags with my entire staff, the casts of my shows, etc., every year on my birthday as our office retreat, and you can bet your Blinky I’m the first in line for a Flash Pass.

And this got me thinking.

First of all . . . how come we can go through customs and immigration with an ATM but we still can’t buy tickets with one?  Grrrrr.  But that’s not what this blog is about . . .

More on topic is . . .

What else can we offer to our customers to make their ticket buying or show going experience easier that they might want to pay for?   Or what extra value can we give to full price buyers to speed up their process, thereby encouraging more people to rely less on discounts?

Do full price buyers get seated in the theater first?  In larger venues, can certain sections of the house have their own restrooms?  What about separate windows at box offices for those people paying for premium tickets?  Valet parking for subscribers?

One of the challenges we face in the age of on-demand entertainment everywhere is that in order to enjoy going to the theater . . . you actually have to go to the theater.  And sometimes, like customs and immigration, that can be a necessary but no-fun part of the process.

It’s our job to find ways to make that process easier, especially for our frequent “travelers.”

And if we discover what bugs these folks most, I bet we’ll also find that some would even pay for a better, faster experience.

Side note:  Surprise, surprise, but Customs and Border Patrol happen to be a great bunch of marketers. The first question Officer Poluzzo asked me when I sat down for my interview wasn’t, “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” That was his second question.  His first was . . .

“How did you hear about Global Entry?”

 

(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

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

– Enter to win 2 tickets to All New People by Zach Braff Off-Broadway!  Click here.

 

What does “produce” mean?

No, I’m not talk about fruits and veggies here.  I’m talking about the word that we all throw about like it’s confetti on New Year’s.

“I’m producing a new play” or “I want to produce a musical revival,” etc.

But what does the word mean?

I looked up the definitions of the roots tonight, to see if the dictionary could help me figure out what our job really is.

Let’s start with the second half first.

Duce = a leader . . . or dictator.

And now the first half . . . second.

Pro = the proponent of an issue; the person who upholds the affirmative in a debate

Put them together and you have a leader that is a proponent: a positive vote.

And that’s it, exactly.  In fact, I can distill it even more to just two words.

Leader.  Positive.

A Producer must lead and must always remain positive . . . otherwise he will turn around and find no one following his lead.  There’s no room for the negative in what we do.

This isn’t my deepest of blogs.  It’s obtusely simplistic, actually.

But I know that sometimes it’s the simplest reminders that keep me on track.  I hope it does the same for you.

 

 

(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

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

– Enter to win 2 tickets to All New People by Zach Braff Off-Broadway!  Click here.

 

The most popular posts of the month: July.

I have to say, admitting that July is no longer with us gets me a little depressed.  So let's make August one heck of a last summer month!  Let's see what you got your interest this past month.

And . . .

See you next month!

 

(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 

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

– Enter to win 2 tickets to All New People by Zach Braff Off-Broadway!  Click here.

 

Who won Will It Recoup? Contest and Kindle Winner Announced!

Seems like just yesterday we were all freezing our spotlights off and picking the shows we thought would make money in this year’s Will It Recoup!  (If you aren’t familiar with our game, click here for the original post).

While the accounting statements may not be finalized yet, I think it’s pretty safe to say that there were three shows out of the ten in the field that recouped:

That Championship Season
Ghetto Klown
The Mother with the Hat

So first, a big congrats to Broadway for the 30% success rate.  Not so bad, in this era of rising costs, wouldn’t you say?

And a second congrats to reader Nick Coltone who scored a 100% in this year’s contest!  Nick, you gotta start investing and producing shows because you’ve got an eye for the ones that work.  Just imagine what you could have done if you had some real skin in the game. 🙂

Nick, drop me an email, and we’ll drop you a Kindle in the mail.

And the rest of you, there’s always next year.  Or maybe even this fall.  We’re thinking about rolling out a fall version of Will It Recoup. What do you think?

But before we do that, back to the 30% success rate, which is pretty consistent with what the industry says is the average number of shows that recoup per year.

That’s actually pretty decent in a high risk industry in my opinion.

But that’s not what gets me excited.

If 30% is the average, then doesn’t it make sense that with education, research and market analysis, an individual should be able to do better than that?  Doesn’t that mean that you should be able to pick winners 40% of the time?  50%?  Or even more?

I’d bet yes.

 

(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

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

– Win 2 tickets to Hair on Broadway, and tell us what you think about nudity in theater. Click here!

 

Why Godspell, Why Now? Washington gives me a reminder.

I got an email from a reader who had already bought tickets to Godspell who told me she couldn’t wait to see it again.  She talked about the score, the joy, and more.

This reader knew all the reasons why she was so excited to see the show coming back (one of which was that it was the first show she ever saw, and now she was excited to bring her kids so it could be their “first” too) . . . but she was curious as to some of my motivations for bringing back the show as well.

I of course repeated all the same things she did . . . the incredible score, the fun, the fact that it hasn’t ever been revived, etc.

But I also told her about a more timely reason why I thought this show needed to be seen in 2011.  Yes, it’s fun, yes it’s joy-filled, but there’s something underneath that’s worth talking about.  I wrote about it on yesterday’s Godspell blog, but I wanted to make sure you all saw it here as well.

Check it out here.

 

(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

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

– Win 2 tickets to Hair on Broadway and tell us what you think about nudity in theater. 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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