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Archive for the ‘Venues’ Category

In honor of Father’s Day, I would like to dedicate this post to a wonderful man that the theatre industry recently lost, Seth Popper.

I had the good fortune to work with Seth while he was at Broadway Across America. Seth was a lawyer specializing in labor relations and I provided support to Seth in the tracking and management of the many collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) across North America that BAA negotiated directly, or had an association with via one of our presenting partnerships. Seth was terrific to work with. Reliable, responsive, patient and clear, it was easy to feel confident in him and know that the complicated task of dealing with all the various labor agreements was in excellent hands. I was sorry when Seth left BAA to return to The Broadway League, but knew that the change was one that would make him happy, so I was happy for him. I didn’t get to know Seth well, but I had an easy rapport with him and, even after he left BAA, whenever we crossed paths I was always happy to see him and greeted him with a hug, as I had done at the Spring Road Conference less than two weeks before his untimely death on May 26. I am still reeling from Seth’s passing and so cannot even begin to imagine what his wife and two young children must be going through.

Life is precious and unpredictable and if I can gain anything positive from Seth’s passing it would be to not let petty gripes and setbacks consume me, and to remember to appreciate every minute of what I have, and who is in my life.

So, thank you, Seth for passing through my life. I’m sorry we didn’t talk just a bit more in depth about our histories on those elevator rides to and from the BAA office. If we had, we may have discovered that we had gone to the same elementary school, P.S. 117 in Briarwood, Queens (though different years) and likely had some of the same teachers, and we also could have determined if my mom had been your kindergarten teacher there. Though I did not get the chance to know you back at P.S. 117, I am so thankful I got a second chance.

Rest in peace, Seth.

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SPIDERMAN - WSJNow that it’s lights out for the most expensive show in Broadway history, SPIDERMAN – TURN OFF THE DARK after a widely reported troubled run, does the show have a chance of spinning a new web somewhere else?

Maybe.

Check out this article in The New Yorker  that discusses ways of making lemonade out of a Broadway lemon. One of the ways is on The Road. I talked a bit about this in a recent post. The New Yorker article broad strokes things a bit about The Road, as making any show that goes out on tour a commercial success — Broadway flop or Broadway success — depends on a combination of smart producing, thoughtful season programming, attentive day to day management, and expert tour marketing. These missing details aside, however, there are plenty of useful takeaways here. Especially the reminder that “Theatre is a business, yes, but it’s a weird one.”

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Digital Image by Sean Locke Digital Planet Design www.digitalplanetdesign.com

Hey there, Road 101 fans! I’m back here in the blogosphere after a super busy several months during which I was completely immersed in a time-sensitive musical theatre commission, as well as deeply involved in our hectic, and, often-times dramatic New York City 2013 primary elections! For those of you who do not live in NYC, we’re in the midst of a significant change-over here, from the Mayor on down.

In addition to the work I do at BAA, I am also a member of a 501 (c)6 here in NYC called The League of Independent Theater and this election year has been crucial towards achieving our goal of helping to get candidates elected who are pro-performing arts, and who pledge to do everything in their power to help our economically and culturally vital, but ever-struggling independent theater scene throughout New York City’s five boroughs.

Being engaged in the local elections was an amazing and educational experience. Quite a few of the candidates who we endorsed won their primary races (which in the preponderance of NYC races is tantamount to being elected), and so we are excited about this being a real beginning towards sustainability, and making sure that the performing arts don’t get short shrift. I encourage everyone out there, wherever you live, to get involved during an election year. It could make all the difference to the future of the arts in your community!

LIT based its endorsements on a candidate’s willingness to commit to our 8-plank performing arts platform; if not the whole platform, then as many planks as possible. The most challenging of our planks, but one we feel is absolutely vital, asks our lawmakers to: “Implement a proposal that would reduce or eliminate property tax assessments for those non-profit organizations that have an artistic mission and/or rent performance space to similar non-profit performing arts groups with artistic missions of their own.”

Okay. Ho-hum, Whatever. What does any of this have to do with commercial theatre touring, you ask? Well, the independent theater sector in NYC is not the only sector looking for a little bit of a tax break. The Broadway League, and other stakeholders in the theatre presenting world, are currently in the midst of their own tax-credit initiative proposal that they are seeking from Albany that would incentivize touring productions and pre-Broadway productions to do their tech and initial productions in New York State. Tours have continually shown that they invigorate local economies, so it makes sense for New York State to find ways to get more productions to come and launch their tours here. Whether it was as a result of these efforts, or perhaps they saw the light on their own, Albany lawmakers via the New York State Senate’s Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation Committee, chaired by Sen. Betty Little, (a committee that thankfully also includes my fabulous, pro-arts State Senator, Brad Hoylman) will be considering a kind of tax credit for these sorts of productions during the 2014 legislative session. Here are two articles on the topic:

‘On with the show, with tax credits’

‘Proctors CEO: Boost local economies with tax credits for touring Broadway shows

As you already know because you are someone who is “in the know,” or because you read my previous posts on the topic, Louisiana and Illinois have already implemented a tax-credit for touring productions, and Massachusetts may potentially be next. Or, maybe, my home state will beat Massachusetts to the punch. 🙂

But the point I want to leave you with is that theatre touring, and performing arts in general, is ultimately a business, whether it be commercial or non-profit, that benefits the economy, and every once in a while, it’s important that those of us who participate in the performing arts, whether as a booker, a presenter, a producer, an actor, a stage manager, a director a designer, etc., get a bit more pro-active on the political front, so our elected representatives remember that they need us, and that we’re not just all song and dance.

Don’t forget to vote November 5th!!!

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arts and economy

I’ve talked before about how the arts benefit local economies. You can check samples of those posts here and here. But it is a topic that bears repeating, and you will see me repeat it again and again on this blog because it’s an argument that doesn’t always seem to connect with a lot of politicians.

Rather than a traditional touring venue, such as the Hippodrome, this article focuses on the non-profit, Center Stage, but I believe that all or most of the statements in this article can also apply to the touring shows that pass through the Hippodrome, as touring shows also have a positive economic impact on local economies.

“THE RIPPLE EFFECT OF THE ARTS”  – Baltimore Sun

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pricing institute logo

I brought up Dynamic Pricing in other posts. If you need some basic background on the subject, you can check those posts out here and here and here.

Dynamic Pricing will probably be the subject of more of my posts going forward, as more and more producers, performing arts organizations and arts presenters look towards this strategy to try and take as much advantage of their ticket inventory as possible.

If you are a member of Americans for the Arts, there is a FREE webinar on the topic this Monday, Feb 4th at 3:00p EST. For non-members, the cost is $35.00, but if you are not at all familiar with Dynamic Pricing, this webinar could be worth the money — money that you could ideally earn back down the road through Dynamic Pricing!  🙂

Here is a link to info on the webinar:

A Look at the Future of Dynamic Pricing

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The Broadway League has launched a new and improved Touring Broadway site, which according to the latest League newsletter, “will provide consumers in-depth info on the shows, venues, and presenting organizations that bring Broadway to 240 North American cities each year.”

Check out the site here.

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The Smith Center for the Performing Arts – Las Vegas, NV

Traditional musical theatre has had varying success in Las Vegas. For example, AVENUE Q angered presenters across the country when it initially chose Sin City over doing a National Tour, only for the puppet show to get its strings cut early there due to slow sales. On the other hand, JERSEY BOYS thrived on the Strip for several years at The Palazzo and then re-opened in March after a transfer to the Paris Las Vegas, and is currently considered by local press as the “Must see show of the year!”

The Smith Theater for the Performing Arts will now be offering its first full Broadway Series.  The Smith Center is a traditional theater, as opposed to a venue in a hotel on the Strip, and is apparently something the locals have desired a long time. Having a blockbuster like WICKED on season for six weeks should certainly help build a subscription base for the next year or so. Hopefully, the Smith Center will have more than just beginner’s luck!

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