The “Will It Recoup” winner announced! Did you win a Kindle?

Last Sunday saw the closing of Lend Me A Tenor, our last hold-out of the limited-run plays from this Spring season.

Sadly, my sources tell me that Tenor didn’t manage to turn to profit.

The only good news is now that we know, we can finally crown the winner of this year’s Will It Recoup!  (If you’re new to the blog and don’t know what-the-fiduciary-responsibility we’re talking about, click here for the original post.)

Someone is taking home a Kindle.  Is it you?

Here’s how the final profitability tally looks:

A View from the Bridge: RECOUPED!
The Miracle Worker: Did NOT recoup.
A Behanding in Spokane: Did NOT recoup.
Next Fall: Did NOT recoup.
Looped: Did NOT recoup.
Red: RECOUPED!
Lend Me A Tenor: Did NOT recoup.
Fences: RECOUPED!
Enron:  Did NOT recoup.

THREE winners in the bunch out of nine entries!  A 33% success rate this Spring!

Who says Broadway is a risky place?  You just gotta know how to pick ’em right?

And you certainly do.

A total of NINE of you scored a 100% in this year’s contest (boy, would you made some bank if this wasn’t a virtual-investment game).

The winner of the Kindle can down to the tiebreaker question:  Which of these shows would win the most Tony Awards?  (Answer:  Red)  After adding that criteria, the nine were cut down to a field of TWO.

So, we’re going to pull a Solomon and cut the Kindle in half to see who really wants it.

Naaaaah.  We’re going to give away TWO!

Congrats to Howard and Zach on their play.jpgckin’ prowess!  You’ve both won a Kindle!

Look for an email from me with details.

And for the rest of you . . . well, there’s always next year.  Picking winners isn’t a one season game.  There’s always another year . . . whether you’re playing a game, or producing for reals, yo.

A Will It Recoup Update. How is Broadway doing this Spring?

You forgot about this contest, didn’t you?

Back in February, we launched our second ‘Will It Recoup’ fantasy Broadway investment game and put a Kindle on the line.

The name of the game says it all (just like the name of your show should reflect exactly what your show is about).  It’s your job to pick the winners from the floppers in the Spring season.

So how are you (and the Broadway Producers) doing so far?

Here’s what we know and what we don’t:

A View from the Bridge: RECOUPED!
The Miracle Worker: Did NOT recoup.
A Behanding in Spokane: Did NOT recoup.
Next Fall: Did NOT recoup.
Looped: Did NOT recoup.
Red: RECOUPED!
Lend Me A Tenor: Too soon to tell.
Fences: RECOUPED!
Enron:  Did NOT recoup.

So that makes a total of 3 Broadway shows out of 9 that have recouped already. That’s a pretty bountiful Spring, considering the statistical average is 1 out of 5 (although it is certainly not a coinky-dink that two of the three shows that have recouped featured Hollywood mega-stars Denzel Washington and Scarlett Johansson).

Still, the game is not over.  We’ve still got one show on the fence.  We could have quite a good year if it falls into the win column.

How are you doing?

Well, there are 27 of you who picked those three shows to recoup, and the five shows that did not.  27 of you are still in the money!

So…it all comes down to Lend Me a Tenor.

See you in August!

Advice from an Expert: Vol. XVII. My Mother The Theatergoer.

There’s always a lot of talk about the Tonys in the weeks that follow the big show.  What numbers were successful?  Could we give the plays more attention and still hold the audience’s attention?  And who fit Katie Holmes into her dress?

But the most important question for the Producers out there is . . . after watching the Tonys, what shows does the public want to see?

All of us in the industry debate this question like crazy.  But what do we know?  Most of us don’t have a clue what it’s like to be a family of four from the suburbs interested in seeing a show on their next long weekend.  In fact, I would wager that the people making the product in our industry and the people seeing the product are more different than in most industries out there.

But that doesn’t stop us from guessing.

I was in the middle of a heated discussion about my own guesses on what the public wanted to see last week, when I realized it was time to go to the source.  I decided to go to what most advertising agencies would describe as the model of a “traditional” theatergoer:  a suburban female in her 50s-60s who sees 3-5 shows per year, mostly musicals, and pays full price.

And that theatergoer is my momma.  And she’s literally been in my backyard this whole time!

I called Mom, who, of course, had tuned in to the Tonys, and asked her if she would write a mini-blog for me about her perspective on this year’s show.  Most specifically, I asked . . . “Mom, after watching the Tonys, what shows do you want to see the next time you are in town?”

Here’s what Mom had to say . . . [my comments are in brackets] “I watched the Tony Awards a few nights ago.  I love the excitement, costumes, music – even the speeches.  I often get ideas about what I’d like to see on our next NYC trip.  Before I tell you what shows captured my attention from the way they were presented at The Tonys, I thought you might find it interesting to get a few additional details about my perspective (and some of these Kenneth doesn’t even know).  [Yes, she, and about three other people on the planet, call me Kenneth.]

  • My first theater experience was 50 years ago when I saw Annie Get Your Gun.  When the stage curtain opened, revealing a real live horse . . . I was hooked!  [When people see things on stage that they don’t expect to see: kids, animals, helicopters, it elevates the experience.]
  • As a teenager, I was addicted to buying show albums, and also listening to show songs popularized by famous artists.  I loved those album covers and the summaries of the shows on the back (King and I, Mame, etc.)  [Oh, if only popular artists were covering our tunes today.]
  • I was a teen in the ’60s, which put me in the proper emotional state to grasp the power of music.  It brought people together, challenged their thinking and even caused them to take action (Hair, West Side Story, Jesus Christ Superstar).  

And now, here are the shows that I wanted to see and the ones that didn’t interest me (there were many other shows that I had no opinion on – I’d have to learn more before putting them in the “to see” or “don’t see” category).  It’s important to remember that this is based solely on what I saw on the Tonys.  I might not see any of these shows, or I might see them all.  A lot of things may change my mind before I get to New York next, including what Kenneth thinks I might like to see or not.  [Good ol’ fashioned Word of Mouth trumps all, and I can’t believe she called me Kenneth twice in this blog.]

SHOWS I REALLY WANT TO SEE!

Memphis:  The music and the dancing were so exciting, this is at the top of my list.  (I have to admit that ‘Listen to the Beat’ sounded like Hairspray‘s ‘You Can’t Stop The Beat.’ but I loved the music and the dancing in that show, too!)  [Music, dancing . . . the keys to an audience-pleaser of a musical.]

Fela!:  I love the costumes, the music and the dancing.  The story (about using music to communicate) also seemed very interesting to me.  [See her comment about growing up in the ’60s.  What our audience lived through helped make them who they are today and influences what they want to see.]

Million Dollar Quartet:  Loved the music and the story idea and Levi Kreis’s performance.

Red:  I really liked the premise about the importance of art and what I saw of both Alfred Molina and Eddie Redmayne.  [Mom was disappointed to hear she wouldn’t get a chance to see this show because of its limited run.  I told her if she was disappointed, imagine how the Producers must feel.]

NAH, I’LL PASS

American Idiot:  To me, it seemed like a concert, and not a show.  I’ve heard about Green Day because my other son is in the music business, but I’ve never listened to any of their music before.  The music was interesting to me, but I’m not going to play it in my car anytime soon.

A Little Night Music:  I don’t know this show very well, so I can only base my thoughts on what I saw, but I wasn’t inspired.  I love ‘Send In The Clowns,’ but I didn’t learn anything else about the show through the performance.”
So there are Mom’s Tony Award Takeaways.

Now please remember, this is only one Mom’s opinion. And the opinions expressed here by my Mom are solely my Mom’s and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Moms everywhere or even me.

But she’s a Mom with a Mastercard, and she uses it to buy tickets.  So maybe we should listen to all of the Moms out there more than we listen to those of us on the inside of the business.

So . . . what did your Mom think?

[Update:  My mom came into the city this weekend unexpectedly.  Although she wanted to see Memphis, she ended up getting Chicago tickets instead (and special thanks to Michael at the Ambassador BO for helping her out).  Why?  “I thought your step-father would enjoy it more.”]

My Tony predictions and yours revealed.

Can you hear it?

Every year, as Tony Sunday approaches, you can hear the chatter about who’s gonna go home with a trophy get louder and louder.

So let’s add to it!

My predictions are always like the odds for the horses running in the Kentucky Derby  they change daily until the event.  And this year, since we have so many neck-and-neck races, picking the winners is harder than ever.

But I’m going to give it a shot!

I’m also going to reveal what the majority of YOU think is going to win!  Last night we closed our official Producer’s Perspective Tony Pool with a record number of players!  We had well into the THOUSANDS of entries!  Woo-woo!  And one of those lucky contestants is going to win an iPad!

So here goes . . . here are my predictions for this year’s Tony Awards, and yours (along with the percentage that made up the majority so you can see how tight the race is).  Remember, these are not “should win” . . . they are “will win” predictions.

Here goes:

1.  Best Sound Design of a Musical

My Prediction:  Robert Kaplowitz (Fela!)

Your Prediction:  Robert Kaplowitz (Fela!) – 36.3%

The Sound Design award is one of the newest Tonys we have, so it’s even harder to predict what the voters will do.  I’m with you . . . Fela’s music was so unique, so its sound had to be as well.

2.  Best Sound Design of a Play

My Prediction:  Acme Sound Partners (Fences)

Your Prediction:  Adam Cork (Enron) – 31.1%

Sorry guys, I don’t think enough of the voters saw Enron to make it a winner.  I’m going with what I call ‘Tony by Association’ and giving the award to Acme for Fences.  The sound at Fences was terrific, but the votes that will put it over the top are for the show as much as they are for the sound.

3.  Best Lighting Design of a Musical

My Prediction:  Kevin Adams (American Idiot)

Your Prediction:  Kevin Adams (American Idiot) – 57.3%

The lighting in Idiot is amazing . . . but Adams also benefits from the cool projection designs that voters probably lump into the same category (even though he didn’t do them).  And that begs the questions . . . with video and projections a part of more and more shows every year . . . will we see a Projection or Video Design Tony soon?

4.  Best Lighting Design of a Play

My Prediction:  Neil Austin (Red)

Your Prediction:   Neil Austin (Red) – 43.1%

Ironically, I think Neil is going to get this award for the brilliant lack of lighting used in an early scene of this play.  For those of you who haven’t seen the show, there is a incredible display of the contrast between theatrical lighting and stark work-light early on that makes you realize just how talented all lighting designers are, and Neil will get a trophy for helping teach us that lesson.

5.  Best Costume Design of a Musical

My Prediction:  Matthew Wright (La Cage)

Your Prediction:   Matthew Wright (La Cage) – 69.6%

Making men pretty has a high degree of difficulty and my readers and I agree, that’s worth a Tony.

6.  Best Costume Design of a Play

My Prediction:  Catherine Zuber (The Royal Family)

Your Prediction:   Catherine Zuber (The Royal Family) – 43%

When in doubt, go with the period piece.  Zuber’s work is always beautiful, and she’ll snag another Tony for her work on Family.

7.  Best Scenic Design of a Musical

My Prediction:  Christine Jones (American Idiot)

Your Prediction:  Christine Jones (American Idiot) – 50.1%

When American Idiot was steamrolling into town, I don’t think anyone thought it would be cleaning up the design awards, but you and I agree that this’ll be the second Tony for the rock opera so far.  But with the strange lack of nominations for Idiot in other categories (Orchestrations anyone?  Direction?), could the design awards be the only awards that Idiot wins?

8.  Best Scenic Design of a Play

My Prediction:  Christoper Oram (Red)

Your Prediction:  Christopher Oram (Red) – 33.2%

You all weren’t so sure about this one, with 33.2% making up the majority.  I’m not sure either.  Part of me wants to say Fences again, but ultimately, I think the title of the play, Red, screams design elements, which will help Chris grab an award for his cool way of putting canvases on stage.

9.  Best Orchestrations

My Prediction:  Daryl Waters and David Bryan (Memphis)

Your Prediction:  Daryl Waters and David Bryan (Memphis) – 42.2%

No contest here.  The only original score grabs the orchestration award.

10.  Best Choreography

My Prediction:  Twyla Tharp (Come Fly Away)

Your Prediction:  Bill T. Jones (Fela!) – 44.2%

Oh, readers, we were seeing eye to eye for so long.  We differ on this one.  This is where I think Tony voters like to spread the love around.  Come Fly Away won’t get honored in any other categories on Tony night, so Twyla will be given the category that makes the most sense for the show . . . and she deserves it.  Just how in the heck does she get bodies to move like that anyway?  Don’t feel bad for Bill.  His love is coming.

11.  Best Direction of a Musical

My Prediction:  Bill T. Jones (Fela!)

Your Prediction:  Terry Johnson (La Cage) – 41.9%

Terry did brilliant work in making this production of La Cage stand out not only from the recent revival, but also from all previous productions of the show.  But I think the voters will want to make sure Fela! gets recognized, and this is how they’ll do it.

12.  Best Direction of a Play

 

My Prediction:  Kenny Leon (Fences)

Your Prediction:  Michael Grandage (Red) – 32.8%

For a long time, I was with you all.  I was giving it to Grandage as well, but I flip-flopped and am predicting Leon will have new hardware for his mantle after Sunday night, partly because of the amazing performances in Fences, and partly because of the body of his Wilson work, and the fact that he has never won before.

13.  Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical

 

My Prediction:  Katie Finneran (Promises, Promises)

Your Prediction:  Katie Finneran (Promises, Promises) – 43.3%

I think we’d all love to see Angela get a 6th award, but how can we not give this one to Katie Finneran? You know how they added songs for this revival that weren’t in the original?  After seeing Katie’s scene, I couldn’t help but wish they had written a new scene for her at the end of the second act!

14.  Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical

My Prediction:  Robin de Jesus (La Cage)

Your Prediction:  Bobby Steggert (Ragtime) – 23.2%

Only 1.9% separated three of the nominees in your choices for the winner of this tight category.  While a lot of folks are pulling for Bobby to pull it out, at the end of the day, I just don’t think enough voters caught his Younger Brother.  So, I’m going with the scene-stealing de Jesus.

15.  Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play

My Prediction:  Scarlett Johansson (A View from the Bridge)

Your Prediction:  Scarlett Johansson (A View from the Bridge) – 36%

Only 36% of you think Scarlett’s going to take this one?  I’m shocked, cuz this one is a lock.  Give it to the girl, already.

16.  Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play

My Prediction:  Stephen McKinley Henderson (Fences)

 

Your Prediction:  Eddie Redmayne (Red) – 31.4%

Tough, tough category, but I think Fences will get a hat trick of performance awards on Sunday, with this being the first (see below for the other two).

17.  Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical

 

My Prediction:  Catherine Zeta-Jones (A Little Night Music)

Your Prediction:  Catherine Zeta-Jones (A Little Night Music) – 38.3%

Zeta seems right to me, but there has been a lot of buzz about Montego lately. This could be a big upset, in the style of Idina over co-star Kristin Chenoweth in 2004.  I picked Kristin then, and I’m picking Zeta now, just like you.

18.  Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical

My Prediction:  Douglas Hodge (La Cage)

Your Prediction:  Douglas Hodge (La Cage) – 47.7%

The range of how this role is written certainly helped Hodge seal his Tony fate, but he plays every inch of that range to perfection.

19.  Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play

My Prediction:  Viola Davis (Fences)

 

Your Prediction:  Viola Davis (Fences) – 55.3%

Even more of you think Viola is going to win than Denzel!  And she will.

20.  Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play

My Prediction:  Denzel Washington (Fences)

 

Your Prediction:  Denzel Washington (Fences) – 41.5%

What a freekin’ category.  Walken, Washington, Law, Schreiber and Molina? Come on.  It’s like actor heaven.  I sort of feel these guys should be treated like the President and the Vice President and not be allowed in the same location for too long in case something happens to one or the other.  Despite the competition, Denzel will take the trophy, partly for being snubbed years ago for his performance in Caesar. He has returned, and he kicked acting a$$ in the process.  And the hat trick I spoke of earlier is now complete.

21.  Best Original Score

My Prediction: Fences 

Just kidding, just kidding.  That was a joke.  Sort of like the two play nominations that rounded out this category.

My Prediction

:  David Bryan & Joe DiPietro (

Memphis)

Your Prediction:  David Bryan & Joe DiPietro (

Memphis) – 74.7%

Rumor has it that David Bryan is missing a Bon Jovi concert to be at the awards. I think he picked the right day to play hookey, and so did you.  I can’t wait to hear his acceptance speech.

22.  Best Book of a Musical

My Prediction:  Dick Scanlan and Sherie Rene Scott (Everyday Rapture)

Your Prediction:  Joe DiPietro (Memphis) – 41.3%

You’ve got a point, readers. You’ve got a point. Memphis is a traditional book musical.  DiPietro is loved by everyone in the biz. But so is Sherie, and I think since DiPietro will have some other trophies to play with after Sunday, this one will surprise everyone and go to Sherie and Dick.

23.  Best Revival of a Play

My Prediction:  Fences

Your Prediction:  Fences – 61%

I hate to see Bridge lose, because I loved it so, but Fences was an event that demands to be rewarded.

24.  Best Revival of a Musical

My Prediction:  La Cage aux Folles

Your Prediction:  La Cage aux Folles – 64.6%

Yet another reason why I wished I would have produced this one is that it’s gonna win the Tony.

25.  Best Play

My Prediction:  Red

Your Prediction:  Red – 53%

Tony voters like “smart” plays, and Red qualifies.  It’s so smart, it even feels British, doesn’t it?  Yet it was written by a guy who grew up in Jersey.  My money is on him bringing that Tony back home to Jersey Monday morning.

26.  Best Musical

My Prediction:  Memphis

Your Prediction:  Memphis – 47.8%

You know what was interesting about your predictions?  47.8% (the majority) picked Memphis.  Second place at 29.6% was NOT American Idiot.  It was Fela!Idiot came in third at 19.3%.  It seems that no matter how many folks like Idiot, they also don’t think it represents the type of musical that gets awarded on Tony night . . .and I have to agree.  Memphis feels like the big Broadway musical that voters like to pin their badge of approval on.

Well there it is.  Another year of predictions.  I promise I’ll let you know the winner of the pool and the iPad by Wednesday of next week at the latest, so stay tuned.  I also promise to give you my score as well, no matter how humiliating.

For those of you who want to play in another pool, make sure you come to my Tony Party on Sunday night.  We’re giving away a Nintendo Wii to whomever wins that pool!  Click here to reserve before it’s sold out.

But wherever you are . . . Enjoy Tony night!  And make sure you tell everyone you know to tune in. Let’s see what we can do about these ratings, shall we?

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!

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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