Podcast Episode 184 – The Pitch Perfect, Tony Nominated Director, Jason Moore

Not too many Directors can work in both Hollywood and on Broadway.

And of the few that can, only a handful can do it well.

Jason Moore is one of ‘em.

And get this, that was his plan all along!

Jason helped put Avenue Q on the subway map and directed ShrekCher, and others on Broadway, as well as directed Pitch Perfect, Sisters with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and more.

On this episode, we talked about that plan and how it flies in the face of conventional wisdom, as well as . . .

  • Why assistant directing or searching for your own projects is the fastest path to success for a Director.
  • What Broadway can learn from Hollywood and vice versa (this is turning into a favorite question of mine for those with a foot on both coasts).
  • What it’s like directing a bio-musical where the songs can’t change, compared to a totally original musical like Avenue Q where everything can change.
  • Reviews and how they can help (or not).
  • How directing on Broadway has changed since he got his start.

Enjoy the podcast by clicking here! And sign up to make sure you’re the first to know when the next one will be released!

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

Download it here.

Broadway Grosses w/e 3/31/2019: They Posted April 1st, But These Figures Aren’t Foolin’

The following are the Broadway grosses for the week ending April 1, 2018.
The Broadway grosses are courtesy of The Broadway League
Read more here:

Podcast Episode 184 – 3 Time Academy Award Winner Meryl Streep!

 

 

Sometimes this biz is all about being in the right place at the right time.

If you follow me on Instagram, then you know I’ve been traveling a lot lately.  And, well, when you’re sitting in the Flagship Lounge at JFK, you’d be amazed at who’s hanging around, especially when high winds have delayed every flight by at least an hour.

Honestly, I didn’t even see her at first.  We were both in the buffet line for the scrambled eggs.  Then she asked me to pass the pepper.  I did.

And when I realized who it was, I almost passed out.

I told her that I produced Broadway shows.  She told me how much she missed the theater and wanted to do more of it.

I told her I’d produce her reading one phone number in the phone book. She wouldn’t even have to read the whole book!

She laughed and was as sweet and gracious as you’d imagine, and as she walked away toward the baked goods on the buffet line, I said, “Hey – looks like we’re both gonna be awhile.  Would you be interested in doing my podcast?”

Imagine my surprise when she said, “I love podcasts. Have you heard of Serial?”

We ducked into a corner of the lounge and recorded this ‘cast on my phone (apologies in advance for the less than perfect audio, but frankly get over it – you take Meryl when you can get Meryl).  Her handler grabbed her after about 10 minutes so it isn’t a long one . . . but hey, it’s Meryl Effin’ Streep!

During our 10 minutes, we talked about . . .

  • How she chooses material . . . when she can do anything she wants.
  • The craft and importance of playing a diverse set of roles.
  • How she’s still honored to be nominated for Academy Awards, even though she’s been nominated 21 times!
  • Why the theater will always be her first love.
  • And yes, why she WOULD consider starring in a revival of Mamma Mia!

Ok, that’s enough, because I’m sure you’re as excited to hear this as I was to interview her.

Ladies and gentle blog readers and podcast subscribers, please enjoy Meryl Streep!

Listen to the podcast here.

 

The Three Types of Broadway Producers: Lead Producer, Co-Producer and Executive Producer EXPLAINED.

When I first started the blog, one of the most common questions I got asked was, “What does a Broadway Producer Do?”  That’s why I wrote this post way back when (which is one of the most read/searched blogs of the thousands I’ve written.)

Recently, I’ve gotten a slew of that exact same question . . . with one word tossed into the query.

“What does a Broadway (Lead, Co, or Executive) Producer Do?”

Because Broadway producing has become more complicated over the years, and since the responsibilities of a Broadway Producer have increased (in the same they have for Directors, Actors, etc.), there has been a need for different types of Broadway Producers to make sure a show is properly served.

But what are the duties and responsibilities of these three different types of Producers?  I wrote a bit about this in my new book on Broadway Investing, but I thought I’d flesh it out in a little more detail here.

So whether you want to be one or you need one, here is the definition of the three types of Broadway Producers.

LEAD PRODUCER

The Lead Producer of a Broadway show is like the CEO of a company.  Or, more specifically, since each show is a brand new enterprise, a Lead Producer is like the founder of a startup.  In fact, I often refer to myself as “a serial startup guy,” because if I have two shows in a season, that’s like two brand new companies, each with a unique product, a different creative team, a new round of capital, etc.

The Lead Producer of a Broadway show is responsible for finding the product (play, musical), whether he, she, or they come up with the idea themselves, or if he, she, or they are handed a script by a writer, or sees a show Off-Broadway and moves it to Broadway.  The Lead Producer is responsible for raising all of the money, overseeing advertising and marketing strategies, finalizing the budget, etc.

The buck stops with the Lead Producer, just like a CEO.

CO-PRODUCER

As producing on Broadway became more expensive over the past several years, Lead Producers started “subcontracting” out the financing to Co-Producers.  Co-Producers on Broadway invest or raise a certain level of capital in order to receive a preferred rate of return on their investment, as well as additional perks, including billing (which earns a Co-Producer Tony Award eligibility), attendance at advertising meetings, etc.

If a Lead Producer is like a CEO or a Chairman of the Board, then Co-Producers are like board members.  They bring money to the table, and therefore,  are able to get access to and have an influence on the producing of the show.  (How much access and influence depend on the style of the Lead Producer, and, of course, the experience of the Co-Producer.)

While a Lead Producer may earn a royalty and an office fee, most Co-Producers only earn money when a show recoups (unless they are investing or raising significant amounts of capital, in which case, they can also negotiate a piece of the Producer royalty, etc.)  To learn more about how Producers are paid, watch this video.

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

The Executive Producer on Broadway is the newest type of Broadway Producer on the block.  This position emerged as a result of the increase in the number of individuals looking to shepherd a show to Broadway as a Lead Producer, but who wanted an expert to help guide them through developing the business model, shaping the marketing strategy, securing (the right) theater, raising capital, advising the creative team on the script, maintaining the show in the 3rd year and beyond, etc.  While the Lead Producer still makes all of the final decisions, an Executive Producer serves as the Lead Producer’s consigliere, advising them along each step of the way.

There are many reasons Lead Producers hire Executive Producers.  They may be new to the industry.  They may be working on the production in another area (writing, etc.) and want to make sure someone always has their eye on the producing ball.  They may be extremely successful in another industry (entertainment related or not) and need someone to focus on the day to day because they lack the time to give the show what it needs to thrive.  Or, they may be a corporation that needs a figurehead in the rehearsal room as a representative of the company.  When $15 million is on the line (or even $5 million or $500,000!), having an experienced expert’s opinion and advice can be one of the smartest investment a Lead Producer can make.

While Executive Producers are “hired guns” for Broadway shows, a good one pays for himself, herself, or themselves several times over, by either saving the company money or making the company money through financial efficiencies, and/or by providing creative ideas (in the marketing, in the dramaturgy, etc.) that have a positive impact on the production itself for years to come.

(SIDE NOTE:  I expect that with the boom that Broadway is experiencing right now and the number of new Lead Producers getting into Broadway producing, especially those corporations, more and more Executive Producers will appear on the title pages of Playbills in the next ten years.)

If you are looking for more information on what a Lead Producer, Co-Producer or Executive Producer on Broadway does, or want to be one (or need one), we’ll help.  Check out TheProducersPerspectivePRO for more resources or just drop us a note here.

 

Broadway Grosses w/e 3/24/2019: Ain’t Too Shabby

The following are the Broadway grosses for the week ending March 25, 2018.
The Broadway grosses are courtesy of The Broadway League
Read more here:

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