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!)

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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!

 

The 1st ever Crowd-Funded Broadway musical. And it’s got your name on it. (UPDATED 2019)

Yes, it’s true.  We’re doing it.

But before I go into the details, here’s the backstory.

The world of financing projects of all shapes and sizes has been changing at an alarming rate over the last decade.

Thanks to entrepreneurs like Guillaume Colboc and Benjamin Pommeraud, as well as my bloggin’ hero Seth Godin and his book Tribes, the guys at Kickstarter.org and, of course, the King of Crowd-Funding himself, Barack Obama, a new era in bringing people with a common vision together has been born.

We’ve even talked about it on this blog on several occasions . . . and we’ve even wondered, “Can we apply this to Broadway?”

Well, guess what?  We can.  It just took a few extra lawyers and a few extra hours to figure out a new way of doing things.  (I even had to pass a Series 63 Exam to become a Securities Agent!)

So, it is with great pleasure that I officially announce to all of you first, that my upcoming Broadway revival of Godspell will be the first-ever Crowd-Funded, or as I like to call it, “Community-Funded,” Broadway musical.

To be honest, I’ve had this idea for several years, but I was just waiting for the right show.  And Godspell is the perfect show for this concept.  As Stephen Schwartz said to me, “Godspell is essentially about a community of people coming together.”  It just makes sense to bring together the largest community of Producers ever to mount this historic 40th Anniversary production.

As you know, investing in a Broadway musical is something that is usually only available to a select group of people at very high investment thresholds.

But everywhere I go, I meet people who I know would love the opportunity to invest in a Broadway musical and become Broadway Producers themselves, despite the obvious risks, if they only knew how, and if only the entry point was more affordable.

Godspell is for all those people.

Traditionally, the price of one investing unit in a Broadway show has been as high as $10,000, $25,000 or even $100,000.

One unit in Godspell is only $100.  (FYI, there is a minimum purchase of 10 units per investor)

Now, in the subject of this post I said this show had your name on it.  Here’s how:

Each investor
in Godspell shall receive a limited liability company interest in The Godspell, LLC,
per our Offering Circular as qualified with the Securities and Exchange
Commission of the United States.*

In addition, every single investor, no matter how much he or she invests, will have his or her name listed on a poster outside of our Broadway theater.

Yep, you’re going to get billing.

And every single investor will also have their name listed on a new website created exclusively for this community, PeopleofGodspell.com, as well as his or her photo, hometown, a quote, and links to their Facebook and Twitter profiles. 

What do you think?  Fun, right?

There may even be opportunities for opening night performance and gala tickets, complimentary tickets to previews, invitations to private cast functions and more.

If you’re interested in joining me and the other members of the community in this incredibly unique and historic production, visit www.PeopleOfGodspell.com today or click here.  Please note, this is a limited offer because there is only a finite quantity of units available.  If you are interested, I encourage you to contact me through the link above as soon as possible.  I’ve announced it publicly here on my blog first, so that my readers could have the first opportunity to participate . . . after all, our conversations helped inspire it.

Click here to learn more about joining the community.  And maybe I’ll see you on opening night!

Oh, and yes, every investor gets one of the buttons in this photograph.

Join The People of Godspell today.  It’s the first-ever Community Produced Broadway Musical.

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UPDATE:  This offering closed back in 2011.  Want to learn more about Broadway InvestingClick here to get the only book published on the subject, and learn it works, how to pick “winners,” how to avoid “losers,” and how to get started.

Harry Potter and The Elusive Sponsor.

Getting a sponsor for a Broadway show seems like the stuff of fantasy. At every early ad meeting for a show that I’ve worked on, someone usually pipes up that we should find a sponsor to pay for some major expense, and trade away their name in our media, tickets, etc.

It’s always a great idea, and everyone around the table usually nods their head, yes.  Because in theory it makes perfect sense. Broadway shows are a highly visible, high-class product, and other big brands would definitely benefit from associating their wares with ours.

So why is it so rare?

Why, to give you a specific example, did not one of the 15 Marketing Directors for big brands fail to even return my call when I reached out to them with a very unique Broadway branding opportunity?

Here are a few of the excuses I’ve heard over the years from potential sponsors:

  • “It’s hard to associate ourselves with a product, before seeing the product.”
    • Brands don’t like to put their money or their name on something until it has already been introduced to the public.  It makes sense. If a show isn’t well received, does that feeling transfer to the brand? Besides, if a show gets out of the gate and is a hit, we usually don’t need the sponsor.
  • “There are not enough eyeballs.”
    • Even the most sold-out musicals can’t put more than 16,000 bodies (or 32,000 eyeballs) in the seats every week.  A lot of the live event sponsors like to sponsor one-time events that have 20,000 people plus in one night (think concerts, sporting events, etc.) PLUS millions on television.  Thems a lot of eyeballs!
  • “You may close tomorrow.  Then what?”
    • Since we can’t guarantee the length of the run, it’s hard for them to quantify the exposure of their brand.  And at the big brand level, it’s all about dollars and guaranteed impressions.
  • “I can’t advertise in the theater.”
    • Current contractual relationships between most theaters and Playbill, or their program provider, prevent the advertising of other commercial products inside the venue.  No signage, no manned or womanned display booths getting our customers to sign up for services, etc.
  • “It’ll take me too long to get this approved.”
    • Big businesses plan their quarters, their years, and sometimes their decades of underwriting in advance.  Often shows approach potential sponsors just a few months before opening, and at that point, discretionary underwriting funding is gone.

So what are we to do?  Is sponsorship an impossibility?

No.  Of course not.  We’ve got to come up with answers to these “my dog ate my homework” excuses, because there are work-arounds for everything . . . if we’re all willing to do the work.

– Want to know what the product is before you sponsor it?  Try a revival.  Or do you want to come to a reading?

– Not enough eyeballs?  The average Broadway musical probably spends $5 mill a year in paid media.  Get on some of that.  Or try a tour.  And we’ll start working on new media options for you.

– We may close tomorrow?  Put up less money if the risk is greater, but don’t stay on the sidelines.  Or find a show specialist that can tell you what shows have a potential of going down quick and which don’t (we all know, don’t we?).

– You can’t advertise in the theater?  The shows have more ways to reach our customers than ever before, so we can get to them (or start lobbying the theater owners).

– Too long to get approved?  We’ll start coming to you earlier.  We promise.

Everyone wonders why CBS continues to broadcast the Tony Awards every year despite disappointing ratings.  From what I hear, it’s because of the type of viewer that tunes in.  Tony Award watchers and theatergoers are highly educated and usually high-income individuals (Now it makes sense why Lexus, Cadillac, etc. advertise during the telecast, doesn’t it?).  And while there may not be a lot of them watching, they can afford big-ticket items.

Our audiences have significant value to corporations of all shapes and sizes.  We just have to do better at communicating our value, and finding more value for them.

Like Harry P himself, we’ve got to find a way to put them under our spell.

I’m going to cut this post short now, because I’ve got 15 corporations to follow-up with.

The 2 shows I would have liked to produce this season

I have Producer envy.

Come on, you do, too.  We all do.

We’ve all seen shows and thought, “Oh man, would I like my name above the title
of that one!”  Maybe we’re jealous of the profits pouring out of the
production. Or maybe we’re jealous of the art that was created.

Or maybe, when the stars align, it’s a little of both.

All of this is why I’m going to start wrapping up each Broadway season with a
post like this one, telling you the Broadway Play and Broadway Musical I wish I would have
produced.

Here goes.

1.  La Cage aux Folles

Admit it.  When this import of La Cage was announced, I was not the only one
that thought, “Ummm, we just saw this sucker.  Do we really need to see it
again?”  Well, ironically, I believe this production benefited from having
been revived only 5-and-a-half years ago, if only to show the contrast between the two
productions.  I enjoyed the previous revival, but I didn’t need to see
another production like that.  But this?  This I’d see again.

This production succeeded at satisfying all of my requirements for a revival,
with the added bonus of the current gay marriage debate in the cultural background. When I saw the audience, the standing ovation seemed to be as much for
the show as it was for the concept that this Family with a capital F was the
kind that we would all be lucky to have.

2.  Fences

At intermission of Fences (which was the first time I took a breath in the
previous hour-and-20-minutes), I tweeted that Denzel received the largest
entrance applause I had ever heard.  It felt like I was at a Bon Jovi
concert . . . And Elvis had just made a surprise appearance.

On top of the excitement and the event-type atmosphere of the production,
Denzel, Viola and the terrific ensemble, led by the Wilson guru, Kenny Leon,
hit a homer that Troy Maxson would have been proud of.

But take away Denzel’s constellation-like status, and this show would still be one of my top two shows of the season.  As the
head of the drama department said when I was at NYU, “When you work in the
theater, it’s hard to enjoy shows, because you’re always dissecting every
element: the acting, the set, the direction.  How I know I love a show is
when I don’t analyze anything.”

At the end of Fences, I just smiled, like I had just eaten a great big juicy
steak . . . with Elvis.

What are the two shows you wish you’d produced this year?

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Broadway Producer Seeks A Few Good Men for Broadway Revival

And that Broadway producer is me!

I’m thrilled to confirm yesterday’s NY Times announcement that I am planning a revival of Aaron Sorkin’s A Few Good Men to be directed by David Esbjornson for Broadway for the upcoming season.

It’s been twenty years since Good Men graced the stage of The Music Box, and I couldn’t think of a better time to bring it back.  For me, there has to be a reason to do a revival.  The piece has to resonate differently now than it did when it premiered.  And as I was quoted in The Times, A Few Good Men asks the difficult question of how far we’re willing to let our military go to protect our freedom.  That’s never been more relevant than today, especially for a play that deals with Guantanamo Bay.  Add to that the fact that Aaron is willing to roll up his sleeves, get his pen dirty and do a little re-writing, and you have the recipe for a thrilling revival.

More news on Good Men soon…

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