How Theater Can Save The Malls . . . of America.

I spent my teenage years either at the mall, going to the mall, or coming from the mall.  Give me an Orange Julius, a Chess King, and a Spencer Gifts and I might as well have been at Disney World.

Now?  Shoot, my 10-Month-old daughter probably won’t even know what a Mall is unless she watches a future Netflix documentary when she’s 15 called, “What the @#$% happened to the Malls?”

Because they are going out of business.  And fast.

Here’s just one of the tons of articles about the “death of the Mall” and how these giant monstrosities are becoming the drive-in movies of our time.  Just last week, Mall staple Payless shoes announced they were closing all their US stores, another victim to the online retail movement.

All that empty real estate gave me an idea, which honestly I just stole from the successful Storefront Theater movement in Chicago.

That’s right . . . you see where I’m going with this, don’t you?

See, shopping for stuff in stores is out.

Live entertainment is in.

If I were a Mall with a bunch of empty storefronts, I’d invite new emerging organizations in . . . and start a Mall Theater Movement.

Imagine a former Payless that housed a children’s theater company.  Or an ex-Sharper Image store turned into a home for a Shakespeare troupe company.  Or heck, a pop-up haunted house around Halloween, Rudolph at Christmas, or even a “Little Shop of Horrors” in the former pet store.

So many of these Mall storefronts are empty and tons of artists need space for their shows, so why not?

There are probably even some tax savings for the Mall Cos. just for cutting non-profits good deals on rent, never mind all the goodwill these big corps would get.

A Mall Theatre Company is an example of a win-win.  You use what people are excited about these days (LIVE!  EXPERIENCES!) to infuse energy into the areas where they’re not excited (MALLS!).

Like it?

I do.  So here’s what I’m going to do.  I’m going to email/snail mail this blog to all the big Mall companies out there and hope that something takes root.

BUT there’s probably an even better, faster solution for YOU to get a space for YOUR show at a Mall.  Go there yourself.  Cut a deal.  Make something happen.  Be one of our #5000By2025 by taking the Mall into your own hands.

Someone had to be the first theater company in Chicago to move into a storefront. And look at what has happened as a result.  An entire movement!

Here’s to you starting a movement of your own.

– – – – –

Want to know how to promote your show and yourself in this biz?  Click here for an action plan on how to do get yourself out there, even if you hate the idea of having to!

How to get yourself out there and Promote Urself (even if you don’t want to) and why you must.

If you follow the blog, then you know that last year I set a pretty ambitious of a goal, to help get 5000 shows produced by the year 2025 (#5000By2025).

Things are going along swimmingly with some amazing success stories so far.   But the more Theater Makers I talk to along our journey, the more I realize some of the things holding them back.

And that’s when we kick into high gear to try and come up with a solution to help them break through to the other side.

One trend that I’ve noticed is this fear of promoting oneself or just the lack of knowledge of how to do it.  And who can blame anyone for getting lost in the sea of social media, hashtags, websites, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc., etc . . . and there’s probably a new platform called etc.!

And how the heck do you even find the time to do it all?

But here’s the one thing I know for a fact . . . if you’re not promoting yourself . . . no one will.

And, if you’re not promoting yourself, someone else is certainly promoting themselves, and they will, without a doubt, have an advantage over you in this business.

Period.

How do I know this?

Oh, because I’ve been known to google an actor’s name during an audition to check on the number of social media followers they have (and this is a super common practice in Hollywood).  I’ve come to like the work of a designer through an Instagram account.  YouTube videos from songwriters have gotten me to reach out and find out what show the writers were working on next.

Years ago, before all this stuff existed, everyone was on the same playing field.  Everyone had the same basic marketing tools in their toolbox.  A resume.  A phone.  The mail.  And their work.

Now, that toolbox is ever-expanding, and when you know how to work all those tools, you can get to your goals so much faster.

But you have to do three things . . .

  1.  Acknowledge that marketing is essential.
  2.  Admit what you know and what you don’t.
  3.  Take action today to improve.

Since we’ve got a lot of shows to help get on in the next six years, we decided to put together a conference on exactly this subject.  Introducing PromoteU:  The Marketing and Productivity Conference for Theatre-Makers.

On Friday, May 17th, join me and some superstar speakers including Broadway Star Sierra Boggess, YouTube sensation Tyler Mount, Branding Guru Tony Howell, and more to be announced when we spend a day breaking down how you can get yourself out there, get more gigs, and enjoy it in the process.

We’re going to have sessions all about:

  • Finding Your Brand: Creating Your Branding Toolkit
  • How to Use Social Media to Gain Loyal Fans
  • Creating a Website that Tells (and Sells) Your Story
  • Lightning Round Deep-Dives on Specific Social Media Platforms
  • Productivity and Accountability Tools for Artists
  • And Much More.

And, the conference will also include:

  • Expert Keynotes and Presentations from Marketing, Branding and Creative Experts
  • Valuable Networking Opportunities in Our Private Facebook Group AND at Our 2-Hour Networking Open-Bar Party
  • 3 Months of Follow-Up Accountability Training from Our Team of Experts

You’ll leave armed with a specific plan of attack and all the tools necessary to build your own marketing campaign for whatever kind of Theatre Maker you are . . . Writer, Director, Actor, Producer, and more.

And we’re even adding in three months of accountability check-ins after the conference to make sure you stay productive and focused.

You can learn more about it and register here.  Just do so quickly, as we’re in a theater half the size of our Super Conference, so the seats won’t last.

I hope you’ll come.  Because I know what we’re going to share with you is going to work.  Because marketing always works.

And everything and everyone requires marketing to get ahead in 2019.  And the unfortunate truth is, if you’re not marketing your brand, then you’re not just standing still . . . you’re falling behind.  Sorry to have to say it like that.

But this conference will help.  In fact, here’s a promise for you . . . if you’re not in a better position with your career after the conference and the built-in coaching, just drop me a note, and I’ll refund you the price of your conference ticket.  Simple.

Register here.  And prepare to be a productive promoting machine . . . without even looking like you’re promoting anything.

See you at PromoteU on May 17th!

 

Broadway Grosses w/e 2/17/2019: More Chill, More Money.

The following are the Broadway grosses for the week ending February 18, 2018.
The Broadway grosses are courtesy of The Broadway League
Read more here:

Podcast Episode 178 — Broadway Licensing President, Sean Cercone

If you listen to this podcast, in the midst of Sean’s passion for our art form, you’ll hear a lot of data and stats roll off his tongue like he was a baseball nerd talking about the batting averages and RBI stats for the Yankees.

He chats about the # of high schools in the US, the percentage of licensing in the global market, etc., etc.  His approach to licensing is firmly based on market research and data and how he can use that to get more theater into the world.

And it’s working.

Broadway Licensing has only been around a few years, but they are already making their mark and acquiring titles like crazy.  And his data-driven approach is why I gave him the rights to this show, which is already starting to light up the licensing market.

Licensing is such an ENORMOUS part of the Broadway economic model, yet it’s one we don’t think about enough when launching our shows, which is why I wanted Sean on the podcast.

Listen in to hear us chat about . . .

  • The biggest pain points of theaters around the world who want to license properties.
  • Should we release our titles to the subsidiary market earlier than we have been?
  • Can I show make a big splash in licensing that never plays NYC at all?
  • The most important characteristics of a popular show in the high school market.
  • How to market a show for licensing.

And his answer to my Genie question is so unexpected for a numbers guys like him.  Listen in to hear his heartfelt response.

And here’s to your shows getting licensed as often as Oklahoma!

Click here for my podcast with Sean.

Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review while you’re there!)

Download it here.

The Broadway Producer Pick List for 2018!

It’s that time of year, readers!  It’s Producer Pick List time!

Don’t have a @#$%ing clue what I’m talking about?

Ok, let me recap.

We get a ton of scripts submitted to us here at the office from all sorts of folks . . .  agents, friends, investors, PROs, and cold submissions too (although we’ve had to turn those off for a bit as we catch up on all of the ones that have come in from years past).

We can’t produce them all.  Heck, it’s hard to produce even a few.  (Truth be told – more often than not submissions don’t end up getting produced.  Instead, writers from submissions go on our list of folks to track and meet with for future projects – and we’ve hired a bunch of people that way.)

But just because we don’t produce them doesn’t mean the submissions aren’t good!  In fact, we’ve stumbled on some GREAT ones.

We hated not giving some recognition to these unproduced plays and musicals, so . . .  we started a list of the Top 10 Unproduced Plays Or Musicals We’ve Read This Year . . . also called The Producer Pick List!  (See here for the original post about The List from back in 2016.)

And so . . . our list for 2018 is below, along with links to the material from each show, all for your reading pleasure.

Our hope is that while we can’t produce these right now . . . one of you just might!

Congratulations to everyone on the list and here’s to productions for all of them in 2019!

  1. A Green Umbrella by Loren Lester and Jeffrey Silverman
  2. Bonhoeffer the Musical by Scott Wilkinson and Richard John Lewis
  3. Girl from Treblinka by Leonard David Stone
  4. Leveling Up by Deborah Zoe Laufer (directed by Wendy C. Golberg)
  5. Mary Marie by Chana Wise and Carl Johnson
  6. Michael Collins by Joshua Salzman and Ryan Cunningham
  7. Poor Players by Ron Kaehler
  8. Scotland, PA by Adam Gwon and Michael Mitnick
  9. The Secret Court by Tony Speciale and members of Plastic Theatre
  10. The Sycamore Street Kite Flying Club by Juliana Jones and Roy M. Rogosin

 


Want to submit your script?  Click here to sign up to be notified when we are accepting scripts again.

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