A List I Dreamed About Being On, but Never Thought It Would Happen

One of my missions as a Broadway producer is to make the world understand that Broadway is a business like any other.  It’s not a hobby.  It’s not a game.  It’s not some crazy place where wealthy people throw their money around just to attend an opening night party at Sardi’s.

Sure, parties and perks are great, but Broadway is a business like any other.  Our product just happens to be one of the greatest art forms around . . . the theater.

On the flip side, I’ve tried to introduce tried-and-true business practices into all of my shows because I believe all products are the same, no matter the industry.  And they all respond to the same marketing techniques, sales processes, etc.

That’s why I go to general marketing conferences, attend entrepreneurial masterminds, and . . . read Inc. magazine.

I’ve gotten tons of tips from Inc. mag over the years, from tools on project management to inspiration from the interviews with CEOs.

And every year when they published their “5,000 Fastest Growing Companies in America,” which previously featured companies like Microsoft, Zappos, and GoPro, I imagined, “How cool would it be if a Theater Company was on this list amongst all these tech and retail companies?  And how cool would it be if MY company was that company???”

Well . . . it happened.

I’m so honored to report that Davenport Theatrical Enterprises was just named to this year’s Inc. 5000!  And I’m so proud to represent our industry by being the first Broadway Producer ever on the list!!!


Woo-freakin’-hoo!

Of course, I couldn’t have grown even a smidgen without the help of my incredible staff, as well as all of the artists and audience members all over the world who have been a part of my shows.  Backstage, onstage, or in those seats.

And a special thanks to Inc. for helping me achieve my dream of putting Broadway right up there with “real” businesses.  It’s huge for me.

See, I’ve always believed the more theater there is in the world, the better off the world is.  All I’ve tried to do over the last 15 years as a Broadway Producer and Theater Maker is put more theater out there, whether through my own shows or by helping other Theater Makers with their shows.  And I’m thrilled that we’ve grown the way we have because that means the theater has grown along with us.

And now I’m thrice as committed to growing even more over the next 15 years.

Thank you, everyone!


Interested in learning more about the business of Broadway and getting some of the tips and tools I’ve taken from the traditional business world for your show?  Click here.

Broadway Grosses w/e 8/11/2019: Summer Days, Drifting Away

The following are the Broadway grosses for the week ending August 11, 2019. The Broadway grosses are courtesy of The Broadway League.

Three Reasons Why College Basketball Is Better Than Pro and What That Has to Do with Theater

Warning:  Sports metaphor ahead.  Proceed at your own risk.

If you’ve ever watched basketball, you know that at times, college ball can be a heck of a lot more fun to watch than the pros.  What does that have to do with us and why is a Broadway Producer talking about basketball on a Monday morning?

Stay with me, non-sports fans.

Here are three reasons why watching college basketball is better than watching pro:

1. It’s more about teamwork.

Pro b-ball is about those big star players.  With a shorter shot clock and only “man-to-man” defense allowed, the most popular play is, “Get the ball to INSERT NAME OF SUPERSTAR HERE and let him shoot.”

College hoops, on the other hand, is much more collaborative.  That ball whips around the perimeter looking for the open man or woman, and no one cares who scores . . . as long as the team wins.

2. It’s where the next Superstars are.

When you watch college b-ball, you’re getting to see the next big stars before they become big stars.  Can you imagine seeing Michael Jordan play in college?  Or Stephen Curry?  I mean, not only is it exciting while you’re watching, but later, when they’ve made it to the Hall of Fame, you can say that enviable phrase, “I saw INSERT NAME OF SUPERSTAR HERE before they were INSERT NAME OF SUPERSTAR HERE.”  You can almost see the wonder on other folks’ faces, can’t you?

3. It’s about passion, not a paycheck.

College players aren’t paid for what they do.  Sure, sure, there’s a lot on the three-point line for their future, but they’re on that court because they love basketball, not because they have a 5 year $10M contract and a sneaker deal.  They play because of their passion of the game . . . and, of course, because they dream of playing on bigger courts and in front of bigger crowds.  And that dream makes them run a bit faster and sweat a little more in the hopes that it will come true, and soon.  They also know that pro coaches, scouts, and owners are watching their every dribble.

So what does that have to do with us?

Seeing a show in a theater festival is like watching college basketball.

🙂

Think about it . . .

Festivals aren’t about stars.  It’s where the next big stars are cutting their teeth.  And God knows, they aren’t there because they’re being paid a ton of $ to do it.

They just love it.

And just like college fans have their rabid fans, these hard-sweatin’ “players” need a lot of cheering and support.

So go see a show at a festival.  Yes, we have one . . . it’s called Rave Theater Festival, there are over 20 shows in it, it’s on RIGHT NOW and it runs through August 25th.  (See a list of shows you can see THIS WEEK below – and note TWO shows have already sold out – so get tix quick.)

But if you can’t make it to our festival, go check out a show at another festival.  Or in any Off-Off-Broadway or Off-Broadway theater.

Because if you care about the future of the theater (and since you read this blog, I’d bet cash you do), I’ve seen it.  And it’s in the small theaters with passionate people doing it for the purpose of making something that people like you can see.

Oh, and here’s a bonus reason why college basketball is better than the pros . . .

4.  It’s cheaper.

No explanation needed.  🙂


This weeks’ schedule for Rave is:

MONDAY:

Stormy Weather

The Perfect Fit

The Tycoons!

Young Pilgrims

TUESDAY:

Back

Big Shot

Ni Mi Madre

Sweet Lorraine

WEDNESDAY:

911 Gnomes: A Christmas Emergency

Big Shot

Fancy Maids

Just Laugh

The Erroneous Moby Dick

Young Pilgrims

THURSDAY:

911 Gnomes: A Christmas Emergency

Oceanborn

Stormy Weather

Training Wheels

FRIDAY:

911 Gnomes: A Christmas Emergency

Back

Noirtown

Rose’s War

The Tycoons!

SATURDAY:

911 Gnomes: A Christmas Emergency

Fancy Maids

Ni Mi Madre

Noirtown

Oceanborn

Sweet Lorraine

The Erroneous Moby Dick

Training Wheels

Waiting for Johnny Depp

SUNDAY:

911 Gnomes: A Christmas Emergency

Back

Doppelganger

Girls on Tap

Rose’s War

The Perfect Fit

Training Wheels

Waiting for Johnny Depp

Young Pilgrims

FOR THE FULL SCHEDULE AND THE FOLLOWING WEEK’S SCHEDULE CLICK HERE.

Six Says “Suck It” to Traditional Development Path, Which Is Sick! (In a Good Way)

People ask me all the time why Broadway doesn’t change.  The answer is the same as to why most things don’t change.

Fear.

See, our business model is super fragile.  It’s like carrying around an egg, while you’re walking on a sheet of ice . . . wearing slippers made of ice.  And because of that, we trudge very, very slowly, taking very small steps towards our goals, for fear of not only dropping the egg, but of falling on our face and breaking our a$$ (dollar signs intended).

So whenever the question comes up of bucking a traditional way of doing something, most of us (including me, a ton of the time) say, “We’ll just do it the way that it has been done . . . because it can work that way.”

But that doesn’t mean that’s the BEST way for it to work.

Take bringing a new show to Broadway, for example.

The “what’s always been done” approach is the reading to the workshop to the out of town tryout to Broadway.  (Click here to access a free webinar on “The Road to Broadway” if you want a more in-depth description of this path).

The “what’s always been frowned upon” approach is putting shows in lesser markets or exposing the title to the regions before launching on Broadway.   “It’ll lessen the brand,” “You gotta save it for the tour,” or “You have to show everyone you are first class and first class only!”

Blah, blah.

Then, along comes the courageous producers of Six, including Kevin McCollum (who is no stranger to trying new things – who, with his partners, moved Avenue Q to Broadway when everyone said it wasn’t a Broadway show, then downsized it to Off-Broadway with a Tony Award in tow to get another ten years out of it), and Kenny Wax (who has built an empire on a little show called The Play That Goes Wrong and its spinoffs – a strategy that hasn’t worked on any other show since Nunsense) to say . . . “Eff the traditional model!  We’re going to do something different!

Here’s what I’m talking about:

Earlier this week, the buzzy West End smash that tells the story of the six wives of Henry VII as a pop concert announced that it’s opening on Broadway in the Spring.

But the show isn’t coming direct from the West End.  It’s playing both Boston and Chicago this summer.

“Ok, ok, that’s not soooooo crazy.”

But then they announced they were going to Australia.

“Before Broadway?  Huh. What are they . . . ”

And then they announced that they are going BACK to Chicago next summer.

“Now why . . .”

And THEN they announced that they are going to play cruise ships.  Cruise ships, I tell you!  Cruise ships!  Where other shows wouldn’t even consider playing.

If you heard that sound, it was the system . . . getting bucked.

And I love it.

Why?

Six has a ton of buzz, great reviews and audience response . . . but it’s not yet a brand.  It’s not a Hollywood movie turned musical.  It’s doesn’t have a songbook with 147 Top Ten hits.

And because Broadway is a brand snob these days, it would have been challenging to bring it in the usual way.

So, these uber-smart Producers are building its brand . . . before they arrive.

The show is already getting press.  It’s already getting talked about (some folks are even blogging (!) about it).

And most importantly, by the time the show opens, more people will have seen it!  With all of these productions, the Producers are putting more marketing foot soldiers on the streets to sell tickets through word of mouth. #Brill

They’ve smartly checked their egos at the box office and planned a path that could lead not only to Broadway success but to global success as well, with a title that came out of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where it started.

But now, I’m predicting big “sick” things for Six.


If you want to check out the webinar on the path shows take to get to Broadway, click here for free access.

Speaking of shows coming out of festivals, do you have your tickets to a RAVE show yet?  Many shows are SOLD OUT already!  Come support new theater!  Who knows, the next Six may be just a few blocks away!  Click here.

Broadway Grosses w/e 8/4/2019: Hirschfeld Hit

The following are the Broadway grosses for the week ending August 4, 2019. The Broadway grosses are courtesy of The Broadway League.

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