April 23, 2021: What TheaterMakers Are Talking About This Week

Every week, there are many conversations involving our industry — new shows in development, scholarship opportunities, virtual events, discussions about Broadway’s reopening, and more! Sometimes it can be too much to keep track of week after week so my team and I have decided to share the top 5 news articles each week to help you stay in the know!!

From another In The Heights announcement to Scott Rudin “stepping back” from his projects, here’s what TheaterMakers were talking about this week . . .

 

1 – ‘In the Heights’ to Open Tribeca Film Festival

“It is such an honor to open the 20th anniversary Tribeca Film Festival with ‘In the Heights,’” Miranda said. The opening night screening will be held at the United Palace Theater in Washington Heights. The movie will also be shown across the five boroughs in locations like Pier 57 Rooftop, the Empire Outlets in Staten Island, and The MetroTech Commons in Brooklyn.

Read more: variety.com 

 

2 – Broadway producer Scott Rudin steps aside amid accusations of abusive behavior going back decades, apologizes for the pain he caused

Scott Rudin will be stepping aside from his Broadway productions after accusations of “acts of intimidation” and humiliation against his employees.

Read more: washingtonpost.com

 

3 – Win Two Tickets to the Return Performance of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA on Broadway

In entering this giveaway, you have a chance to win two tickets for the reopening night of Phantom and be one of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s personal guests! Collectors and fans around the world are invited to participate digitally in this landmark live auction event for tickets and one-of-a-kind memorabilia on Wednesday, April 28, 2021, beginning at 10 AM ET.

Read more: broadwayworld.com 

 

4 –  The Theater Industry Isn’t Lacking in Visionary Leaders. They Just Aren’t Given Seats at the Table.

After the news about Scott Rudin broke out, there was more to be said. The industry has been blocking visionary leaders for years, and now it is time for the change.

Read more: theatermania.com

 

5 – There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing

Remember the PANDEMIC WALL? Well, now there’s a new word in town: LANGUISHING. By definition, a sense of stagnation and emptiness- quite possibly the dominant emotion for 2021. But we will get through it together. Adam Grant from NY Times recommends challenging yourself and starting with the small wins.

Read more: nytimes.com

 

FUN ON A FRIDAY

Have you seen Pasek & Paul’s film, “The Greatest Showman”? Check out Jeremy Jordan’s story of his journey with the show early in its development.

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Want to be part of an online community of #theatermakers? Join 600+ theatermakers here. Best part? It’s completely free.

Will Broadway come back to fewer shows per week?

If my blog were a person, he’d be feelin’ pretty old right now.

Because I’m about to go way back in time.
In 2007 (!), 14 years ago, I wrote a blog entitled “8 Shows A What” which questioned why the 8-show-a-week model even existed.

I wrote the blog because I was producing Off-Broadway at the time and it was painfully clear that there wasn’t enough demand for 8 shows a week. So using the Actors Equity “Per Performance” contract, we were able to keep shows running for a much longer period of time, and therefore keep people employed for a much longer period of time.

 And here’s some case study data for you:

The shows that did less than 8 shows a week were more commercially successful than the shows that did 8.

You can read the blog here.  Reminder, it is 14 years old.  I like to think I’m a better blogger now.  But you’ll tell me, I’m sure. 🙂

Why am I rubbing my blog’s age in his old face?

Because this past week, news broke (by Philip Boroff again) that one of the ideas on the table between Producers and the Unions is the concept of a pro-rated return.

 In other words, some shows might come back for 7 shows a week or 5 or. . . . whatever they can agree on.

 And yes, that’d mean a pro-rated salary as well.

 Fewer shows per week, allows you to reduce other expenses as well.  You don’t have to spend as much advertising to fill 5 shows as you do 8.  You shouldn’t (!) have to pay as much rent (this was what made the Off-Broadway model work).

 So, since we know that demand is going to be less when Broadway comes back (due to the fact that tourism won’t be at the levels we need to support 8 shows a week for so many shows – and locals are still not wanting to go out on a Tuesday night), I believe pro-rating is a “makes sense” solution for our first step back.

 Provided that everyone gets on the pro-rating page, of course.  This comeback means every party pitching in to make this work, from unions to producers to accountants and managers and . . . everyone.

 But if it worked, pro-rating could get MORE shows back and FASTER, because there will be less risk for returning or new shows. They will not only be exposed to less risk, but they’ll be more likely to fill a house, provided a better experience for the audience and those on stage as well.

Want more news like this? Join the TheaterMakers Facebook Group and connect with more theatermakers like you.

Unlike Hollywood, we DON’T do it this way.

Some say Broadway and Hollywood are sister industries.

Eh.

Stepsisters with the same hair color that often get confused for real sisters, maybe.  But I’m not so sure we’re related by blood.

One of the primary differences between the two sort-of-siblings is how things get purchased (aka produced.)

I was reminded of this the other day when I was talking to a Hollywood screenwriter of mine. I caught her on the phone while she was celebrating the sale of a pilot.

“Wow,” I said. “How did that happen?”

“What do you mean, Ken? I went into a meeting.  I pitched the idea. They’re paying me for it.”

That’s right. She sold it on a pitch. And lots of folks in Hollywood have similar stories.

Now, imagine going into a Broadway Producer’s office and pitching a play or musical . . . and someone buying it right there!

It doesn’t happen.

Because on Broadway as opposed to Hollywood, we don’t buy on pitches.

So what does that mean for you if you’re a TheaterMaker looking to get produced?

First, remember that when you make a pitch, no one is going to produce your show based on only that pitch. Remove that possibility and you’ll remove some of the stress about it.

Your goal at a pitch meeting is to get the Producer impressed about the idea, and more importantly, impressed with YOU. Your goal is only to get them to want to read your script or attend a reading when something is on its feet.

This is the same advice I gave when I spoke to a group of actors a few weeks ago. Don’t go to the first audition trying to get the part. Get the callback first. THEN we’ll figure out how you can get the part.

Second, and related . . . if we don’t buy on pitches, how does Broadway “buy”?

Well, it’s baked into the above, but the truth is . . .

Broadway doesn’t buy on pitches.  Sometimes we buy on pages. But more often than not, we buy on what we see PERFORMED.

That’s right . . . the fastest way to get someone like me to produce your show is to get it up. In some way shape or form.

It doesn’t have to be a full production.  It doesn’t even have to be a reading. Tony Winners Pasek and Paul got their first show on by putting songs on YouTube.  Pulitzer Prize finalist Lisa Kron wrote and starred in short plays of her own. Lin-Manuel was performing in the basement at the Drama Book Shop (which he now OWNS).

If you want to get produced, yes, prepare your pitch. And yes, perfect your pages.

But figure out how you can get show your show performed.

(Oh, and before you run to Hollywood because you want to sell some stuff just based on your idea, let me break it to you . . . sure, they buy stuff on pitches, but there is no guarantee they’ll ever make it.)

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Want more advice like this? Join the TheaterMakers Facebook Group and connect with more theatermakers like you.

10 Inspiring Books By TheaterMakers To Read Right Now (And how to win them all!)

So, who doesn’t need a little inspirational pick-up right now?

And who better than to inspire you than some of the most successful TheaterMakers?

Below is a list of 10 Inspiring Books written by your favorite TheaterMakers, that will help inspire, entertain and educate . . . at the same time. 

And get this – we’re going to give away ALL TEN to one lucky person!  Keep reading, and at the end of the list, I’ll explain how.

I hope you’ll support the incredible hard of these TheaterMakers by picking up a copy.  Or two (I like to buy two copies of books – one for myself and one to give to someone who I know would enjoy it.)

  1. Take You Wherever You Go  by Kenny Leon
  2. A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stage by Kristen Chenoweth
  3. Born Standing Up by Steve Martin
  4. Failing Up: How to Take Risks, Aim Higher, and Never Stop Learning by Leslie Odom Jr.
  5. Fearless by Mandy Gonzalez
  6. The Chance to Fly by Ali Stroker
  7. Too Much Is Not Enough: A Memoir of Fumbling Toward Adulthood by Andrew Rannells
  8. They Called Us Enemy by George Takei
  9. Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You by Lin-Manuel Miranda
  10. The Backstagers and The Ghostlight by Andy Mientus

 

Ok, to win this basket of books, here’s what to do!

  • Head over to my Instagram post about the books.
  • SHARE this post to your story and TAG me @kendavenportbway.
  • I will BUY all 10 of these books for the winner (to be announced tomorrow on my Instagram).

 

Good luck and happy reading!!!

 

UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to Anne-Lise Koyabe for winning this collection of books by these incredible theatermakers.

 

April 16, 2021: What TheaterMakers Are Talking About This Week

From the announcement of the first show to open in NYC to top theatres acting to root out ‘system failure’ of racism to Lin Manuel Miranda and Mayor DiBlasio opening up a vaccination center in Times Square. . . here’s what TheaterMakers were talking about this week . . .

 

1 – PERFECT CRIME to Reopen as First Show with Equity-Approved Cast in New York

It has been officially approved and announced by the Actors’ Equity Association that Perfect Crime will reopen. The show is set to open beginning April 17th and will be the first show to open with an Equity-approved cast in New York City.

Read more: broadwayworld.com

 

2 – ‘The heat is on’: top theatres act to root out ‘system failure’ of racism

“The Young Vic and Royal Court theatres have entered into a process that aims to root out systemic racism from their venues. Both London institutions have signed a partnership with the social enterprise Sour Lemons that will interrogate the internal structures that uphold institutional racism, raise awareness and accountability, and listen to staff’s experiences of racism inside the buildings.”

Read more: theguardian.com

 

3 – ‘Bridgerton The Musical’ TikTok Creators Abigail Barlow & Emily Bear Sign With CAA

Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear, creators of the viral TikTok smash Bridgerton The Musical, have signed with CAA and Kraft-Engel Management.” The duo first came into the spotlight because of their viral Bridgerton-inspired number in January. They’ve been documenting the journey on TikTok, with their songs and performances reaching more than 165 million views with fans all over the world.

Read More: deadline.com

 

4 – T. Fellowship to be renamed in honor of Hal Prince

The T. Fellowship has been renamed the Prince Fellowship in honor of its founder, the late Hal Prince. The 2021 Prince Fellowship, which will open up applications at the end of April, will run from September 2021 through August 2022. 

Read more: broadwaynews.com

 

5 – Lin-Manuel Miranda, de Blasio open Broadway vaccination site in Times Square

A vaccination center was opened on Monday in Times Square for all Broadway workers. Appointments will be reserved for the community of theatermakers living in NY and working on Broadway. The center will be staffed by fellow community members, including “Wicked” company manager Susan Sampliner.  

Read More: broadwaynews.com

 

Fun on a Friday: The Late Show spoofed Hamilton with a ‘My Shot’ vaccine parody

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Want to be part of an online community of #theatermakers? Join 600+ theatermakers here. Best part? It’s completely free.

 

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