How to build a Broadway side business.
I’ve got entrepreneurial ADD.
In a business like ours, when there are certain things that are beyond my control (when a script is going to be ready for the big stage, when I get a Broadway theater, etc.), I have to keep busy. I need to do something.
So I come up with other ideas that are Broadway-centric so I can get my fix, and hopefully generate revenue to help support my producing habit (or help support the shows that I will eventually produce).
One of the first examples was the group sales office I started when I wanted more focus on my first Off Broadway show. Another is DidHeLikeIt.com, which I started because I kept forgetting to check the NY Times the day after a big show opened and ended up looking like a tuba when someone in the industry asked, “Did you see the review of so-and-so?” Then there’s Be A Broadway Star, the Broadway board game. Of course there were some that didn’t work. (Remember my Broadway social networking site, BroadwaySpace? Of course you don’t. Because it didn’t work.)
Because of my extracurricular entrepreneurial activities, I get a lot of pitches from folks who are pursuing Broadway related businesses.
From my own successes and failures of building other bizes, I’ve come up with this quick shortcut to success that I thought I’d share.
The best way to guarantee success when looking for a new biz in any industry . . . is to find something that people are already doing . . . and then make it easier and/or cheaper for them to do it.
That’s what not only made my side businesses work, but that’s the theory behind Uber, Netflix, Dollar Shave Club, the advertising everywhere DraftKings, and more.
So before you decide to sink time and money into your pet project, and as you wait for your play to make it to the stage, ask yourself, “Does my product or service provide a solution that makes it easier and/or cheaper for the consumer?”
If it does, it’s go time. If it doesn’t, try something else.
Careful though – the above does NOT apply when creating shows. The most successful and most important art pieces of all time give the world something they don’t even know they want or need . . . until they see it.
For examples, please see the original productions of Show Boat, A Chorus Line, Rent, Fun Home and . . . Hamilton.
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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.