TRU (Theater Resources Unlimited – www.truonline.org hosts panels and workshops for theater professionals at all stages of their careers. Audiences and Speakers include Producers, Investors, Artists, and Self-Producing Artists (SPA’s – because it’s so relaxing to produce your own show 🙂 ) Panelists include Commercial Broadway Producers: Eric S. Goldman (Entertainment Attorney), Patrick Blake, Van Dean, Jeremy Handelman, Cheryl Wiesenfeld, and James L. Simon. Here are my notes from the panel – with questions:
Why People Invest – How to Pitch and Choose Projects
1. People invest and produce for different reasons, including: profit– everyone hopes to make money, but people may invest for other reasons – relationship to creative team and/or producer, experience – the thrill of being part of a glamour industry, with opening nights, parties, and the chance to mingle with stars, passion for the project – the artistry, message, etc.!
2. Is this show well-crafted? (I had the opportunity to successfully present my musical SSS…WITCH! ssswitch.net as part of the TRU series “How To Write a Musical” – the experience was quite helpful!)
3. Does this show have a selling point? Is it based on a popular property? If so, does the producer and/or writer own the rights? Does it have a celebrity star? Will that star sell tickets?
4. Who is on the production team? Is there a capable general manager? Does it have a realistic budget? (cast size? sets? etc.)
S.A.F.E. – An Acronym for Smart Choices
1. S – What will Sell this Show? A name-brand property? the concept? the celebrity star? the writing team?
2. A – Audience Who is your Target Audience (not “everyone” be specific – and spill over). Do these people go to the theatre?
3. F – Funds How are your investors going to recoup their money – and how long will it take? How many tickets do you have to sell – and how much will it cost to keep that show afloat? (You can make money beyond Broadway in stock and amateur rights. Musicals are more likely to tour than straight plays – and don’t forget licensing – shared by authors and sometimes producers!)
4. E – Environment What is happening in the world and current theater environment? Aim for relevance and avoid repetition.
Producers and Projects need to Match!
Producers choose shows for a several reasons – passion for the subject, love of the artistry, money-making potential, entertainment and fun, etc. Nobody does everything well – or wants to – talent and funding need to match!
Most shows don’t open on Broadway. They start in regional theatres, off (and off-off Broadway), festivals (for example, fringe and New York Musical Festival) London’s West End, International Venues, and today’s trend – the movie-cal a slick move from Screen to Stage!
Dr. Sue Sings “You Can Be a Hero”
Hope you enjoy hearing me sing my original song “You Can Be a Hero” from my musical show “Cupid’s Dart” (performed at Theater for the New City)“You Can Be a Hero” copyright 2015 Susan HorowitzCreative Living by Dr. Sue: Do What You Love!
These tips are intended to help you make smart choices. But even if you never make a dime, if you do what you love, you’ll have the time of your life!
Support the Arts!: Without the arts, many children have no chance for a better, more fulfilling life! Without the arts, there is no real beauty, joy, or civilization!
JCT Awards Dr. Sue Horowitz “Entertainer of the Year 2013”
JCT Multi-Media Awards Dr. Sue “Entertainer of the Year 2013”
Where to go to catch a show? Beat the heat, drink and eat? Air-conditioning on full blast – so chill out – enjoy the cast: Funny Comics who can talk, Models struttin’ the catwalk Dancers with and without shoes – Singers and fun Interviews Tangos, Tappers, Actors, Rappers, Broadway ballads, Caesar salads Entertainment – a full menu – dinner – drinks – you’ll love our venue!The JCT Variety Show (August 2013) was tons of fun! The talent was definitely varied and entertaining: “The Amazing Amy” Yoga-Contortionist-Dancer (who demonstrated flexibility at any age) ; Fabielle – a handsome model (who showed me how to catwalk); a teen dancer(who tapped her way through a Beatles song ); an actress (with a monologue about a hamburger flipper); a model/singer (who warbled “Sistah” from The Color Purple) to Miss Asia – an R&B singer. I hosted the show and sang my original songs “Dare to Believe” “Celebrate Your Life” and “Yo Te Amo (I Love You)” .
After the performances, I did a group interview of show biz kids with their parents (including Producer Poppa T.) All agreed that being in show business is intense, demanding work that takes patience and persistance – plus (from the parents) a willingness to chauffeur their talented offspring to auditions, invest finances and time (and handle the jealousy of siblings who may be too young for the biz – or just not interested). A bad stage parent pushes the child past his/her own needs and interests to satisfy what is really an adult agenda. A good stage parent and mentor knows when to step back – to avoid making a performer feel pressured – and when to step forward to encourage, teach, and protect – and to know the difference between the child’s interests – and the parent’s own needs.
All this is a mental health ideal – and it’s not so easy to draw the line – especially when a child is gifted. What we call “genius” is a combination of unusual talent, hard work, and determination. Where would young Wolfgang Mozart have been without pushy poppa Leopold? What about young Michael Jackson and driver dad Joe Jackson? More peaceful? Perhaps. Less productive? Probably.
Whatever your talent or taste, there’s something for everyone at JCT”s variety show. The audience gets free entertainment, delicious food and drink. If you’re an aspiring star, this is your chance to be seen! “Success Awaits Us!”
Live your dream – and your talent – you don’t know if you’re hot till you give it a shot!
If you’re pushing your child or significant other(s) to achieve – make sure it’s their dream – not yours.
Enjoy good entertainment good food -and do what you love!
Drama Desk Panel 2013 at Sardis (L to R) Bertie Carvel, Jane Houdyshell, Ronald Rand, Isa Goldberg, Kristine Nielsen and David Hyde Pierce Photo: Barry Gordin.
The 2013 Drama Desk Luncheon at Sardi’s served up convivial buffet of seasoned Broadway actors. Moderated by Ronald Rand Founder/Publisher of The Soul of the American Actor, the panel included David Hyde Pierce (Frasier’s brother psychiatrist) and Kristine Nielsen (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike), Olivier Award Winner Bertie Carvel (Matilda), and Jane Houdyshell (Dead Accounts Wicked, Follies). Topics included: Acting vs. Life: Carvel asserted, “Acting is artifice –not life. Your job is to make it as lifelike as possible.” Nielsen quoted Stella Adler, the famed acting teacher, “Your imagination is more interesting than your life.” Comedic Acting: Pierce advises, “Tell story and be funny, humor is in writing. Comedy is musical and rhythmic. Really good actors have some kind of music in them.” Acting in Farce, Fantasy and Musicals: Houdyshell, who performed in the fantasy musical Wicked, said, “Wicked is a fantastical story, broader than life. For and actor pretending comes from believing. When you wear a 35 pound costume and enormous wig, you know you must become something else!” Directing: Houdyshell stated, “I respond most creatively to directors who create a safe environment in rehearsal and don’t judge. I prefer collaborative directors who are interested in what actors bring to the table.” Pierce added, “I recently started directing, which is natural for me. I’m always conscious of the arc of the whole story, not my character’s story.” Audiences: Houdyshell commented, “Audiences sometimes don’t realize that the actors on-stage can hear them. I was once on stage pretending to be asleep, and these two ladies in the front row started arguing about whether I was a dummy. The first one said, “I just saw her breathe.” The second one answered, “She’s a dummy – just look at her legs!” Reviews: Pierce recalled the opening night of a play in which he played a lead role. After the show, he was sitting with his parents in a restaurant, and the reviews came out. The New York Times critic Frank Rich was very negative. The after-show party was cancelled and soon after that the production closed. Pierce said, “I just sat on that stage and cried – but I love this fantastic business!” Houdyshell nooded in rueful understanding. “One reviewer said my accent was a thick as my ankles. See, it always goes back to the legs.” Nielsen commented, “Reviews are a necessary evil. I don’t read them, but my friend does and gives me general tenor.” In contrast, Carvel, who reads all reviews said, “There are as many opinions as there are reviewers, and now with blogs, it’s infinite. I forget the bad reviews.” Happiness/Success Habits:Take Reviews and Opinions with a Grain of Salt – take what’s helpful and ignore what’s useless or mean-spirited. Most spiteful remarks come from ignorance, envy, or constipation (of the body or spirit.) This is easier said than done. As the great actress Ethel Barrymore quipped, “For an actress to be a success she must have the face of Venus, the brains of Minerva, the grace of Terpsichore, the memory of Macaulay, the figure of Juno, and the hide of a rhinoceros.” (Photography: Harry Kierman, Barry Gordin, Editor: Jay Berman)