Your Favorite Daddy-Daughter Duo Is Back!

I think it’s safe to say that what the world needs now . . .more than ever . . . is love, sweet love.

That’s the mission of YouTube singing sensations Mat & Savanna Shaw, who found an audience of millions during this pandemic, with their joyous and simple videos.  That’s right, who needs special effects and high tech, when you have a duo like this, with a message like this.
And that’s why I produced their world premiere concert a few weeks ago.
It was so successful (thousands tuned in) that we wanted to give those who missed it another chance.  That’s why, through Friday, January 15th, you can see their livestreamed concert OnDemand!.
Grab your ticket here, and don’t forget to share with friends and family.
And I dare you not to smile when these two sing.
Enjoy!

My review of Ratatouille Musical on Broadway (well e-Broadway, that is.)

Have you ever read a New York Times review of a musical and wonder, “Wait a second – I’m three paragraphs into this review and I still don’t even know if he liked it or not!”

Critics have a skill . . . it’s like a fisherman who doesn’t try to land the marlin on the first bite . . . they drag you in . . . all slllllloooooowwww liiiiiikkkkke. And get you to read all the way to the bottom.

SPOILER ALERT: This is not a New York Times review.

So let me get the rat out of the bag right now.

My review of Ratatouille musical?

I liked it.

You can stop reading now, if you like. And if you want a more in-depth analysis of it, you can read the actual New York Times review here.

But yeah, I liked it. I couldn’t help but get the e-chills hearing Daniel Mertzlufft’s orchestrated version of Emily Jacobsen’s “Ode To Remy” (aka The TikTok heard ’round the world) sung by Titus Burgess.

I loved Andrew Barth Feldman, Kevin Chamberlain (who got in on this early), and can Adam Lambert please come back to Broadway now?

And kudos to the writers, Michael Breslin and Patrick Foley, for how fast they delivered something of this quality (with a score that was mostly pre-existing!) In a way, they wrote a jukebox musical . . . and they wrote it faaaaaast.

So yeah, I liked the show.

But I effin’ LOVED that it happened.

Seriously, Ratatouille should get the Nobel Peace Prize for musicals.

At a time when the theater is torn apart . . . because we can’t be together . . . leave it to the NEXT generation, Gen Z, to teach us to create something no matter what the circumstances.

Great leadership often comes from the young . . . because they aren’t trying to lead . . . they are just doing what they love and it’s impossible not to follow them. It’s why I jumped into the TikTok fray  . . . I wanted to be in their group.

While I give so much love and props to this group of creators, the next generation of theatermakers, I so respect Disney Theatricals under the leadership of Tom Schumacher, for letting it happen.

20 years ago? This would not have happened. No way. Too many lawyers. Too much corporate fear.

Today? You must learn to give the people what they want. And Disney did that . . . while simultaneously protecting its brand (the musical was only available for viewing twice) . . . and helping to raise $1mm for The Actors Fund.

So yes, I liked the performances, the choreography, the costumes even . . .

But I loved what Ratatouille represents . . . the future.

And I predict that review will be a rave.

One of the (many) great tragedies of yesterday was this.

I don’t write about politics on this blog.

But what happened at The Capitol yesterday wasn’t politics.

It was a riot.  It was an insurrection.  It was a criminal act.

And yes, the fuse was lit by an ego-filled, selfish, “I-don’t-even-care-for-the-futures-of-the-people-who-follow me,” “leader.”

There were so many tragedies.

A woman died.  Lawyers who hid under desks will be haunted by that fear for a long time to come.  Leaders around there world were laughing at us.

And for me, there was another great loss over the course of this election battle that we will never, ever get back.

Time.

Several elected officials from one faction of one party, followed the drumbeat of a despot.  They pursued fraudulent claims (for their own personal gain) that were refuted over and over again, included by the highest court in the land.

To them, I say this . . .

Folks, this thing was over.  Done.  You literally had your day in court.  And you lost.

But no . . . you kept going.  When you knew what the outcome would be.  Yes, my non-friends, the definition of insanity is doing something over and over and expecting different results.  And this was insane . . . as evident from what you witnessed personally yesterday.

Now, when someone who is not a politician pursues something a bit bonkers in their own life, I don’t care so much.  It’s their life.

But you are congresspeople.  Your job is to help better the country.

And there was so much more you could have done with the countless hours you spent pursuing something that had been refuted 147 times, that you knew you would never win.

But you wasted everyone’s time anyway.  For what?

Imagine for a moment . . . how much good could have been done if instead of wasting your own time, money, and resources fighting baseless claims and therefore wasted the time, money, and resources of those who had to refute those claims, you had used that time, money and resources on something that actually could make the lives of the people of this country better???

  • What if all that time was spent working on better ideas for vaccine distribution?
  • What if all that time was spent on brainstorming solutions to the issues of systemic racism in this country?
  • What if all that time was spent at an effin’ soup kitchen?

As I said on Tuesday if there is one thing this pandemic has taught us is that life is short.  Life is so short.

And if we want better lives, we must make use of the time we have.

Every member of Congress has an obligation to use the resources they have to better their district . . . and therefore their state . . . and therefore their country . . . and therefore the world.  Those who waste time not only don’t help, they hurt devastate.

Oh, and at the same time, they can also incite violence.

They won’t go to jail.  But those who stormed the Capitol will.  Good job, folks.  Way to help your people.

Now, what can you do about it?

Two things . . .

  1.  Vote for those who take advantage of the short time we have to make the world a better place.  (Need an example of a Politician, Leader, Hero who wastes NO time?  Stacey Abrams.)
  2. Take advantage of the short time you have in this life to work on things that can have the biggest impact on your life.  Life. Is. Short.

There.  End of rant.

Ratatouille Musical review tomorrow.

– – – – –

Speaking of time, take our “Take Charge of your ‘2021’ Theatermakers challenge and learn how some of the most successful in our business and making this their best year yet . . . despite what happens in Washington!

 

 

Take The “Take Charge of your ’21” Challenge with me and these super TheaterMakers!

Let’s agree on two things.

1.  This year is going to be better than last year.
 
2.  How much better depends on you.
 
If you agree (especially with that 2nd part), then read on.  If you don’t agree, please stop reading. And I’ll see you on Thursday when I review the Ratatouille TikTok musical.
 
Everyone where they should be?
 
Great.
 
Ok, look, truth time. We’ve got some work to do. We lost a year of theater-making. And the theaters aren’t even lit . . . yet.
 
But they will be. And sooner than you think.
 
As I type, that vaccine is getting put into the arms of people all over the world.
 
And all over that world, Producers, Theater Owners, Artistic Directors, Casting Directors, etc. are setting specific dates for the return of our art.
 
Which means it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work.
 
That’s right . . . get to work. Not wait for work. Big difference.
 
Most people wait for the phone to ring. Most people wait for someone to hire them. Most people wait.
 
That’s why most people don’t work.
 
But those TheaterMakers out there who take charge of their own career? Well, for them? Things have a way of always “working” out.
 
In 2020, the year took charge of us. Me included. It was like a @#$%ing bucking bronco that none of us could tame.
 
This year, we’ve got a tighter grip on the reins. And it’s time we take charge of it and make it work for us, instead of the other way around.
 
And I don’t think there has EVER been a more important time to make a commitment like this to yourself and to the theater.
 
See, if I learned one thing in 2020 it was this . . . LIFE IS SHORT.
 
You never know when your work will be taken away. You never know when a life will be taken away.  (I think about you every dad, Dad – and you continue to inspire me to do challenge myself.)
You never know . . . anything.
 
And for those of us out there who want to achieve a lot in the theatre (or in life!) . . . whether that is writing shows, producing shows, acting in shows, directing shows, designing shows or whatever . . . we know now, we don’t have any time to waste.
 
We know that more than ANY OTHER INDUSTRY on the planet.
 
Which is why the time to act is now.
 
Which is also why the TheaterMakersStudio is holding a free 5-Day “Take Charge of Your ’21” TheaterMakers Challenge. You can sign up here.
 
What is it?
 
It’s simple.  But it works.
Every day for five days, we’ll get on a live session . . . and me, PLUS TWO THEATERMAKER SUPERSTARS, will give you a specific strategy, productivity tip, secret, resource or something we’re doing to make sure we have our best year of theatermaking yet . . . that you can apply to your theatermaking too.
There will be tips on writing, directing, acting, mindset, and more.
Who are the those other TheaterMakers?
 
You can see them all on this page, but the action-taking, inspirational TheaterMakers you’ll be hearing from include:
 
 
I chose each one of them, because, I’m a fan of their talent and a SUPER fan of how they have achieved their success . . . by acknowledging fear, conquering it, and taking charge of their work, their art and their lives.
 
And boom. Look what happens when they do.
 
I’ll be honest . . . while I’m super excited about how the tips from these TheaterMakers will help you have your best 2021 yet . . . I’m just as excited about how they will help me! 🙂
 
In addition to the private livestream strategy sessions for five days straight, you’ll get access to a private facebook group with fellow TheaterMakers who are also taking charge of their year.
 
You’ll also get some homework, so be ready.
 
But I also guarantee that if you do that homework, you’ll be on the path to your best year yet.
Oh, and prizes.  We’ll be giving away fun theatermaking tools every day.
 
So . . . if you’re a writer, producer, actor, director, designer, or any kind of TheaterMaker . . . or not yet a TheaterMaker but WANT to be one . . . click here to sign up for the challenge. It’s totally free. And we’re even going to give away some stuff.
 
In just five days, you’ll be on your way to your best year of theatermaking yet.
 
And when the year is over, we’ll look back and flip off 2020 and say, “See what I can do when I take charge of my year?”
 
Click here to sign up and start your year off right.

The challenge starts in 13 days!

The Top 10 Best Broadway Moments of 2020: PART II

Hello and happy New Year, everybody!
 
As we all prepare to forge ahead . . . I’m still stuck in 2020!  I mean, why not. It was soooo much fun, let’s hang out here a wee bit more, shall we?
Ok, ok.  I get it.  Stop throwing the e-tomatoes.  I’ll be quick.
 
Today you get Part II of my “Top 10 Best Broadway Moments of 2020”. Then, I promise, we can move the eff on.
 
Let’s get to it!
 
(To see Part I of my Top 10 Best Broadway Moments #1-5 click here.)
 
6. A Prime Time Special

It took a pandemic for another network (besides our loyal friends at CBS) to give us an hour-long variety special . . . hosted by none other than Tina Fey! “One Night Only: The Best of Broadway” was a gift from the NBC gods.  From the Jersey Boys opening to a number from Hamilton as well as performances from new shows like Jagged Little Pill, interviews with our stars like Rob McClure, a peek into the process of making a show, and more . . . this show did its job.  It was a rest stop on this long highway of getting Broadway back up and running again.  Now, NBC, what do we have to do to convince you to do this event next year??? (You can watch the special here on demand.)

7. The Shubert Theater Board Room Shake Up
 
The Shubert Organization is like the monarchy of the Broadway theater world.  It’s the oldest.  It’s steeped in tradition.  It controls the most real estate.  And with an institution that is as large and powerful as that, change often comes slowly.  That’s why I was thrilled to see Pamela Newkirk, a journalist, scholar and Black woman, added to its board of directors.  And just in case you thought this was a symbolic addition to its knights-of-the-round-table like board . . . read on.  Pamela’s most famous work thus far is a book called . . . wait for it . . .  Diversity Inc.: The Failed Promise of Billion-Dollar Business.  So yeah, The Shuberts knew what they were getting into when they added her to their inner circle.  And they’re obviously embracing it.  It’s a leap ahead for the org and our industry.
8. The TheaterMakers Summit
 
I wasn’t going to put The Summit on this list, because obviously I’m a bit biased, having founded The TheaterMakers Studio and its yearly conference.  But I did, because to be honest, the success of this year’s Summit had nothing to do with me. 
The success was because of the 100 (!) speakers and 1000 attendees who came brimming with optimism and excitement about how Broadway could be even better when we come back.  It was one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever seen, never mind helped put together!  Even I walked away with 5 pages of notes from these A-list speakers on how I can make more theater and better theater!

So, I put it on the list.  You can see the inspiring and action-initiating talks here.

Oh, and yes, we are doing it again next year.  We already have a theme!  Ready?  It’s . . . “Places, please.” 🙂  Learn more here.

 
9. Prepare Ye for Godspell at The Berkshire Theater Group
 

Ok, let’s be honest.  Producers and Theaters are still figuring out how they are going to do theater THIS coming summer!  And yet Berkshire Theater Group and it’s formidable leader, Kate Maguire,  pulled it off LAST summer!

Godspell was the first production in the country to receive approval for production by Actors Equity . . . and even though the show had to pivot 147 times (including a last-minute change to present it outside), they pulled it off.  And they got multiple NY Times articles as a result!  While press attention wasn’t the goal, it did prove again that figuring out how to do something when no one else can, can get you a lot of attention.  Luckily, because of the leadership of Ms. Maguire, that attention was all positive.

We owe this theater and Kate a debt for not just dreaming about a production, but by doing one.  It inspired us to all to figure out how we can do it too.
 
10. Diana . . . and we haven’t even seen it yet!
 
One of my most-liked posts on Instagram this year was this one . . . a shot of me outside the Longacre theater as Diana, a new musical that hasn’t even opened on Broadway, was performing for cameras inside.
Netflix has been our fairy godmother this year, giving us Boys in the Band, The Prom and more.  But its biggest bet on Broadway this year was putting hundreds of TheaterMakers on a new musical BACK to work, and shooting Diana, on stage, for release in 2021.  Before anyone knows if it’s going to be a hit or not!  Not only could this help Diana build an audience before it opensbut if this works for Netflix, it could be the start of a brand new business model for developing new musicals.  Yep, you heard it here first . . . the streamed show BEFORE that show opens, could become the new concept album (like Jesus Christ Superstar, Waitress, etc.), that develops a show’s fanbase and therefore a marketing foundation.
And there they are . . . my favorite moments of 2020!  (Part I is here if you need to go back.)
And now, let’s get the @#$% out of this year and make 2021 the best that anyone of us has ever seen.  Broadway and the theater will be back.  And boy oh boy are the ovations at those first shows going to be enormous.
See you there.
Happy New Year everyone.
– – – – –
Speaking of “next,” my next blog will be on Tuesday, January 5th . . . and it’s going to be about a new survey about the vaccine and what that means for our start date.  Click here to make sure you get it first.
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