Sunday, December 5, 2010

Broadway Awarding the Best of Today…Building the Winners of Tomorrow

I Want To Be A Producer

Have you ever considered becoming a Broadway producer or investing in a show? Are you a producer or investor looking for some assistance in building the success of your show?

Broadway League Executive Director Charlotte St. Martin
Photo credit: Connie ashley

There are many industry and trade associations that exist to support the performing arts throughout the United States and worldwide. Some are broad-based organizations whose mission is simply to provide networking opportunities while others may have very specific goals and are tailored to niche markets. One of the most visible, and yet invisible, is The Broadway League, Inc. One look at the masthead on their site says it all: The official website of the Broadway theatre industry. Currently under the leadership of Executive Director, Charlotte St. Martin, The league focuses on education, professional development and building audiences for today and the future.

Never heard of them? Maybe you are familiar with the their work and just didn’t know it.

Founded in 1930 by theater owners and operators, their original goal was to assist in negotiations with the unions. They first expanded to include producers, and then touring productions and today leads the way in supporting the growth and financial viability of professional theatre on Broadway and beyond.

Still haven’t heard of them? Here are some of the many programs and services they provide:

The Tony Awards. Co-produced annually with the American Theatre Wing, the Tony Awards honor the best of Broadway each season. Probably one of the most visible things The Broadway League does, the nationally televised event honors some of the best contributions to theatre each year, behind the scenes and on stage.

The Broadway Concierge & Ticket Center. The League operates this valuable service inside the Times Square Information Center in the heart of Broadway (1560 Broadway). There you can purchase theatre tickets, find restaurant and hotel reservations and parking information in six languages. 

The Broadway Fan Club. If you want to stay current on the latest shows, promotions and ticket discounts, you can sign up online to receive regular updates.

Touring Broadway.Com. Looking for a touring production of a Broadway show? Search the database and find what shows and special events are coming to one of over 240 theatres across the America. You can search by show, theatre, or location.

Internet Broadway Database (IBDB). The most extensive archive of its kind, the IBDB is a searchable source for productions, people, songs, awards, theatres and much more. IBDB archives shows back to the earliest available information about New York theatre.

The Broadway league also sponsors two huge events geared towards audience development: Broadway on Broadway, a big Times Square concert event, featuring performances by the stars of current and upcoming Broadway shows; and Kids’ Night on Broadway, offering free tickets, special activities and education events to children, giving them their first magical Broadway experience. This event has expanded to add over 30 theatres hosting touring productions across the United States.

The most important work the League provides to the industry is in the areas of education and professional development:

New Producers Alliance.  Established and maintained by the Broadway League, the New Producers Alliance promotes the development of future producers and gives them a place to network and dialogue with established, working producers and other would-be producers. They hold an average of six panel discussions and networking opportunities annually that are also available to the public.

Commercial Theater Institute (CTI). In cooperation with the Theatre Development Fund, the League provides this invaluable training program for individuals pursuing commercial theatre producing. The two main programs they provide include an intensive three-day program that is open to the general public and a 14-week program available to a small number of professionals selected through an application process. They also published an excellent book, The Commercial Theatre Institute’s Guide to Producing Plays and Musicals (2007). The book is an invaluable source of interviews, advice and resource directory for producing professional plays and musicals throughout North America.

Research and Information. The League maintains the most detailed reports of statistics and demographics for Broadway shows and touring productions I have been able to locate anywhere online. There is a searchable database of Broadway grosses and attendance arranged by year, economic studies, and detailed studies of attendance for national tours. Some of the information is readily available to anyone and some is available for purchase if you are not a league member. They also manage a one-of-a-kind database available on a subscription basis, Stage Specs, A Technical Guide to Theatres. This is a current source of all the theatre technical specifications for many live performance venues across the United States and Canada. Here you will find current contact information, stage dimensions, seating capacities, load in and rigging specs and much more.

I just found The Broadway League website a few months ago and having been using it regularly ever since. Actual membership in the League is highly selective and is made up primarily of producing theatre professionals in New York and several other metropolitan cities. The services and information they provide are available to everyone. This year’s CTI Chicago Weekend Intensive will be held in March. I’m hoping to attend. The opportunity to explore the possibilities of producing commercial theatre with working producers would be an invaluable experience.


The Broadway Concierge & Ticket Center

Internet Broadway Database

No comments:

Post a Comment