Monday, November 12, 2007

Strike 2.0, Now the Theatrical Stage Employees Union Local One and the League of American Theatres Battle it Out

So now we go into labor strikes with Local One and the League. Check out the link to to get the summary but here is my take as an independent producer.

It seems one show a year gets to move from off-Broadway to Broadway. It seemed to be the model over the past five years to raise a smaller amount of money to get your show/musical up off-Broadway and then see if you get the kind of reviews that would merit investors/producers to move your show the Big Time, i.e. Rent, Urinetown, Spelling Bee, and most recently, Grey Gardens. I certainly tried to use that model with Fanny Hill, but although we got very good reviews, we were unable to get enough buzz going to move.

That being said, I believe the model of mounting your show off-Broadway is falling out of favor. Reason being: even that is too expensive! You simply cannot make a business case for spending up to 1 million bucks to mount a decent production off-Broadway just to roll the dice... unless you have some very rich friends or an Angel investor.

So what can you do? Well if you've got a musical, you need to submit it to the New York Music Theater Festival. This festival is basically the "Sundance Festival" for new musical works. If you are selected to participate in this festival, they will work with you in mounting a full-scale production over 6 to 8 performances over three weeks that will run in rep with over 30 shows. There is no other festival out there that has had the type of success they have had for a fraction of the cost of mounting a reading/performance yourself.

What makes them work is simply this, collaboration and sharing resources. Instead of 30 shows all trying to pay for 30 different theaters, advertising, lighting, etc., they have put in place a system in which everyone shares these costs. Basically they "shine a spotlight" and give great exposure to all the shows in the festival that each one would have great difficultly doing by themselves.

I produced Richard Cory there in 2005 and got great exposure for the show. Cory won an award for best musical and best actress. I'll post about that at another time.

Click here to submit.

By dreampeddler

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