The newest additions to our slate.

I made some pretty juicy announcements about some new musicals we’re developing recently, and yesterday I realized . . . I never blogged about ’em!

Well, today’s the day . . . especially since these two will definitely count towards our #5000By2025 mission we announced here two weeks ago.

So here are the two new musicals we just announced and more importantly, why we’re producing them.

JOY

Like so many people on earth, I first met Joy Mangano when I was hanging up a shirt.

That’s right, if you have a velvet hanger in your closet, then you know her too.

Joy is also the woman behind the Miracle Mop. And the mini steamer.

But this isn’t a story about consumer goods.  This is a rags-to-riches story about an unstoppable single mother of two, who defies the odds and turns a dream into a reality and then into a mega-million dollar empire.

Hollywood spun her story into a movie starring Jennifer Lawrence, but there’s so much more to it than that.

It’s a joy-filled tale of a female who triumphs over adversity. . . which is exactly what Broadway needs right now.

Oh, and the dancing mop number is going to be amazing.

BROADWAY VACATION

I’ve been after the rights to the Vacation movie franchise for years.  Literally years.  Every twelve months, an alarm would go off on my ToodleDo and say, “Bug Warner Brothers for the rights to Vacation.”

Well, not too long ago they finally said they were open to it . . . and they also said, “Hey, you know who also has been bugging us?  Kurt Deutsch.  You two should talk.”

Talk we did. And then we secured the rights . . . but not to do the movie on stage.  But instead, to take those iconic Griswold characters, and set them out on a new adventure.

That’s right, you’ve seen Vacation, European Vacation, Vegas Vacation  . . . here comes Broadway Vacation The Griswolds take Manhattan.

As I mentioned in my Facebook Live video on the day of this announcement, I’m a believer that if you’re going to take a big brand and adapt it into a musical, you gotta do something different with it.  It has to be unique.  You can’t just put a movie on stage . . . that’s not the medium that the story was designed for!

But when you can take the characters and create a new story (like what Harry Potter has done) you get all the value of the original brand, and you get the excitement of creating something new.

We’ve got a long “Holiday Road” ahead, but we’re excited.

(Oh, and note to you folks trying to get the rights to something . . . in business, “No” often means “not now.”)

Both of these rights acquisitions have been in the works for some time, and are all part of a new focus of mine towards the development of large-scale new musicals (In the last year, I even raised money for a “front money fund” to pay for the development of up to ten musicals so I could focus solely on the creative).

You’ll see a few more announcements in the coming months about the other shows that I’m growing up from the ground floor.

And they are just as exciting as the above.

Stay tuned.

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I announced both of these shows LIVE on my Facebook Page.  Join me every day for an impromptu Facebook Live giving you a glimpse into the day and the life of a Broadway Producer.  Click here to see the past videos . . . and make sure you like the page, and turn your notifications on to see the next time that I go LIVE!

 

GUEST BLOG by Mike Rafael: Broadway by the numbers: the company you keep.

10 Years ago, Ticketing Analyst wasn’t even a job on Broadway.  Now, every show has one.

One of those analysts is Mike Rafael, who I interviewed here, and who is the number-crunching author of this week’s guest blog.

Enjoy the stats, and be prepared to hear a lot more from people like Mike in the next 10 years.  And kids, if you want a stable career?  Look into ticketing analyst school.

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Broadway by the numbers: the company you keep.

For the week ending March 4th, 2018 there were 30 shows running on Broadway.

  • 10 of these grossed at least $1,000,000.
  • 10 grossed between $600,000 and $1,000,000.
  • The last 10 grossed between $250,000 and $600,000.

If 1/3rd of your business is in the “millionaires club,” the 1st week in March, you’re in good shape.

By comparison, for the same week in 2016 (w/e 3/6/16) there were 32 shows running.
  • Only 5 were “millionaires.”
  • 7 shows grossed between $60,000 and $850,000.
  • The remaining 18 shows grossed less than $600,000.

With baseball season around the corner, let’s use a sports analogy – Broadway is no longer a couple of star players on a generally weak roster. Our lineup is strong top to bottom, with a good bench to boot.

And, contrary to popular belief, Broadway isn’t just increasing grosses by increasing prices.

In 1996, the year before THE LION KING opened, Broadway sold 10.2 million tickets and grossed just under $500m.

In 2010, the year before THE BOOK OF MORMON opened, Broadway sold 12.1 million tickets and grossed over $1 billion for the first time ($1.03b).

Last year, having added HAMILTON, DEAR EVAN HANSEN, HELLO, DOLLY! & SPRINGSTEEN, Broadway sold 13.7 million tickets and grossed $1.63 billion.

In fact, speaking of sports teams, for the last three years Broadway has outsold the top 10 New York professional sports teams combined. In 2017, Broadway attendance surpassed the combined NY Sports teams by 2.6 million tickets.

[bonus question: name the top 10 NY sports teams – answer below]

Here’s another comparison: the movies.

In 1996,  1.309 billion people bought a ticket to a movie in the US.

In 2010, 1.328 billion people went to the movies in the US.

But in 2017, 1.225 billion people bought tickets, the lowest figure since 1995.  [source: the-numbers.com]

One might also note that the 3rd highest grossing movie of 2018 so far is a musical, THE GREATEST SHOWMAN, with a distinctly Broadway pedigree (Hugh Jackman, Pasek & Paul, Keala Settle).

So while moviegoers continue to decline, the audience for Broadway continues to grow. Last year’s record year for both attendance and grosses on Broadway and this year, thanks to HARRY POTTER, FROZEN, MEAN GIRLS et al, those records will be broken again.

Let the good times roll.

[The answer to the bonus question?  The Top 10 NY sports teams by attendance: NY Yankees, NY Mets, NY Jets, NY Giants, NY Rangers, NY Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, NJ Devils, NY Islanders, NY Red Bulls]

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Mike Rafael has worked on ticketing for over three dozen Broadway shows and has set the house record in 5 different Broadway theaters. Last year he helped WICKED set the all-time single-year attendance record for Broadway.

Broadway Grosses w/e 3/25/2018: The first week of spring and snow?

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:

Podcast Episode 151 – Tony Nominated Lyricist, Michael Korie

Last week I wrote about how so many fantastic musical theatre writers come from the advertising world, and one of the primary reasons why I postulated that they do was because they learned how to write for an audience, instead of just writing for themselves.

Well, advertising ain’t the only training ground for writing for an audience.  You know what another one is?

Journalism.

And guess what this week’s podcast guest did before he started writing lyrics for operas and getting nominated for Tony Awards for his Broadway show?

Michael Korie, the lyricist of Grey Gardens, War Paint, and more, talked about the similarities between writing for the theatre and for the papers, as well as . . .

  • Why he does so much research for his shows and why you should too.
  • The biggest mistake beginning songwriters make . . . and it’s an easy one to fix.
  • Why he never speaks his lyrics out loud when working with a composer on a song.
  • Rhyme . . . and the purpose of it, and how to use it for the greatest impact.
  • A secret method to making sure a song that you love stays in your show.

Michael is an artisan of words, and the only thing this podcast left me wanting . . . was more musicals with his name on them.

Click here for the link to my podcast with Michael!

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

Download it here.

 

3 Reasons Why Ad Men & Women Make Great Musical Theatre Writers

Quick . . . riddle me this . . . what do Tony Award winners Rick Elice, Lynn Ahrens and Joe DiPietro have in common?

Answer?

Before they wrote the books/lyrics/etc to shows like Ragtime, Jersey Boys, Memphis, Once On This Island and more . . . they all worked in advertising.

That’s what I call a trend, my friends.

And where there’s a trend, there’s me, trying to figure out why it is the way it is.

I dug into this idea with each of the above writers on my podcast (click the links above to listen), and a few other writers who also worked on Madison Avenue (including School of Rock and Little Mermaid lyricist Glenn Slater).

My research led me to three reasons why working in advertising is a great foundation for writing musical theater.

Here we go.

1.They learn to write fast. If you have a job, and your boss says an assignment is due tomorrow, you do it, right?  It’s not so easy when you’re your own boss (even though the rewards can be so much bigger than a weekly paycheck). When you’re an advertising writer, you have a certain period of time to write copy, a jingle, etc. and then you have to present it to the client.  It’s an assignment.  You have a deadline. All of the musical theatre writers I spoke to said that learning to write quickly (instead of writing to be perfect) helped them not only get their personal projects done faster, but it also . . . and here’s the big one . . . prepared them for the “preview process.” One of my more widely read blogs talked about how I believe the true judge of a creative team is how they handle the preview period. Because writers who write fast have a much higher chance of turning out great material under pressure.And writing for advertising teaches you just that.

2. They learn to write without ego. I work with advertising agencies all the time on my shows and some of my small businesses.  When designing a campaign, the first drafts usually look or sound nothing like the final.  Commercial edits, radio copy, website layouts, etc. all can change 180 degrees after a client gets a hold of it. I’m constantly sending stuff back and saying, “No.  Not right.  Try again.  Use this.  Bigger.  Softer.  Do it over!” In fact, just this morning I was working on a Broadway TV commercial and we asked for a change . . . when it has to be delivered to stations later today! (Remember that write fast thing?) When you’re forced to change your work so often, you get numb to people telling you they don’t like it.  (Notice how I said “they don’t like it,” which is much more different from “it’s not good.”  HUGE difference.)Learning to write without ego, and just write, write and write without self-judgment or worrying about other people’s judgment helps Authors be more productive, which gives them greater opportunity to better their material.

3.They learn to write for others. Ok, this is my favorite. What’s your goal when you write to advertise a product? You write to sell that product.  You write to communicate a message to other people.  You write to get emotion out of your customer, not to get emotion out of yourself.  And if you’re successful, those people who hear your message will act on that emotion and make a purchase.  That’s the goal. Don’t accomplish that, and you won’t work in advertising very long. Too many musical theatre writers I know write only for themselves.  They sit in a room, write tome after tome and say, “Oh!  This is brilliant!  I love it!  Look at what I’ve done!”And maybe it is brilliant.  But it actually doesn’t matter what you think.  It matters what an audience thinks.  Yes, love what you do, be proud of what you do, but your sole goal as a writer is to communicate a message to your audience, and get them so riled up that they act . . . and after seeing your show, they tell other people to do the same.Training in advertising reminds you that all writing, from musical theatre to novels to poetry, is about the customer.  Because yes, theatre is art, but it still has to be sold (at a very high price).

If you want to pursue a career as a musical theatre writer . . . study the greats, take writing classes, join a writer’s group . . . but also consider a marketing class.

Because there’s no doubt that the success of the above Tony Winners has something to do with the fact that all of them know how to sell.

 

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