I went to see this show because of the name above the title. And it wasn’t a star.

I was in London a few weeks ago, and while I was shopping for a show to see, I noticed a familiar name above the title that got me excited enough to buy a ticket.

It wasn’t Jude Law.

And it wasn’t Sienna Miller. (ok, it was sort of Sienna Miller)

It was Cameron Mackintosh.

I bought a ticket to the very British musical comedy Betty Blue Eyes for no other reason than who produced it.  I didn’t know the story. I didn’t know the stars.  And I didn’t know the source material.

But I did know that Cameron has been associated with a bunch of shows that have kept me entertained for decades, so I trusted his taste and bought a seat in the “stalls” (the London version of orchestra seats).

That’s quite a brand Cameron has, don’t you think?  When was the last time you bought tickets to see a show based solely on who produced it?  Have you ever?

It used to happen more often, when the likes of Merrick, Ziegfeld, and so on were putting up shows on the boards.

But nowadays?  There are a few folks out there that could get me to buy a ticket, for sure, but it’s certainly not the way it was . . . mostly because of the number of names that appear above a title nowadays.  The potential for the buiding of a Merrick-like brand is almost impossible when the number of producers rival the number of cast members in the show (of course, the number of producers above a title is also due to the escalating costs and escalating risk, so it puts us in a bit of catch-22, doesn’t it).

Building a brand is something that all Producers should work on, whether you’re producing at a non-profit in Chattanooga, on the Broadway, or even in Cameron’s backyard.  You may never have a brand as big as a Mackintosh, Merrick, or Ziegfeld, but it doesn’t matter . . . every little bit of branding helps.

Because these days, consumers need as many reasons as we can give them to help them make that ticket-buying decision.  And knowing who is calling the shots as well as who is appearing on stage, just might be enough to tip them in your direction.

You can bet a bucket of bacon there was no way I would have seen Betty Blue Eyes otherwise.


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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.