On Broadway, your competitor can also be your partner.
Out of nowhere, Andrew Lloyd Webber announced a super high profile project last month to open this fall at the Winter Garden Theatre, the same theater where he and his feline friends squatted for so many years.
The show? School of Rock. Yep, that School of Rock . . . the Jack Black movie about a dude who turns kiddies into rock stars is gonna be a musical.
It’s a good idea, although honestly, I’m a bit disappointed that Lord Webber’s next project is a musical that will be half jukebox and half original. I’m a Webber-lover, not a Webber-hater, and when the most successful musical theater composer of the last 40 years, if not ever, announces a new show, I get excited. When I hear he’s doing something using pre-existing tunes . . . wah-wah. But hey, it’s something, right?
But that’s not what this blog is about. While I was certainly intrigued by who was writing the show, I was more fascinated by who was producing.
At the top of the Producer list was the owners of the Winter Garden Theatre, the All Powerful Shubert Organization . . . followed by the Equally As Powerful Nederlander Organization, owners of the biggest theaters (and biggest hits – with both Wicked and The Lion King as tenants).
That’s right, the two competitive theater owners, who often battle for the opportunity to house the same shows, are partnering up.
Now tell me, is there any other industry out there where competitors would join forces?
Would Coke and Pepsi ever co-produce a new soft drink?
Would Google and Yahoo ever create a new advertising initiative together?
Would the Yankees and Red Sox ever even hang out in the same room?
What I love about this business, and what is important to remember, is that we are one big giant family. A bit dysfunctional at times, sure, sure, but a family nonetheless. And our theater owners are great examples of what we should all remember . . . that someone you may be at odds with today may be your partner tomorrow.
So remember that when you’re getting into a heated negotiation, or want to talk behind someone’s back, or think you can make an extra buck or two by taking advantage of someone.
Treat everyone you work with like a partner, because in this business, they just may be that someday anyway.
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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.