Why you shouldn’t do a Reading unless . . .

I love me some Readings.

One of the first action items I suggest to writers and Producers who’ve got a show they are looking to get off the ground is to do a Reading.

I usually suggest a “Pizza Reading” first . . . which consists of getting some friends together at an apartment, ordering some pizza, drinking some wine, and casually reading your show.  Why I love Pizza Readings is that when the reading/drinking is over, two things usually happen:

  1. You learn about the piece and can create a punch list of items you want to work on for next time.
  2. Someone at the Pizza Read usually asks, “What’s next?”  And then, you have to answer that question.  And nothing beats that motivation.

But a Pizza Reading, which is meant for creative work and some inspirational juice, is different than a Reading Reading, where you’re after Producers or Investors or Regional Theaters to take the show to the next logistical level with you.

I’m a fan of these too, but on one condition.

You should never do a Reading, unless you can get people to come.

Too many people come to me and say, “I have a show, I’m ready to do a Reading for investors!”  Then I ask them who is on their invite list, and they say they don’t have one.

And to get a little anti-Kevin Costner on you . . . if you build a Reading, they won’t necessarily come.

Yes, you can do a Reading if you don’t have a ton of contacts, as long as you are hiring people that do (General Manager, Press Agent, etc.).  It’s ok to borrow someone’s clout to fill up the Reading Room with some VIPs.

But I wouldn’t count on that.

Here’s my little exercise to see if you’re ready for a Reading:

Take out a piece of paper.  Write a list of 20 people that have the money or the clout to move your show along.  If you can’t get to 20, then you need to go out and meet more people that fit those qualifications.  When you do have the 20, you can start the preparations for the Reading.

And to get a little philosphical-ish on you . . . if a Producer produces a Reading, and the right people aren’t in the audience, well, it definitely does not make a sound.

Actually, it does make a sound.  It sounds like, “I can’t believe I just spent effin’ $25,000 on a Reading and since no one was here I have to do it all over again!  Aghhhhh!!!!”


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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.