Overheard at The Broadway League Conference: Day 1

Yesterday was the very first day of the annual Broadway League Spring Road Conference, when all the members of the Broadway League are invited to NYC to share in three days of seminars and shows about the business of Broadway.  And, since so many of the attendees are Tony Voters from out of town, the conference is also a chance for the Tony Nominated productions and performances to give it one last hard sell for a vote.

The conference is always a very cool thing.  Of course there are always fantastic and enlightening presentations (Jon Stewart gave the keynote, Denzel Washington told us about his favorite moment in A Raisin in the Sun, and Casey Nicholaw told us how he reworked what wasn’t working in Aladdin in Toronto to make it the hit that it is on Broadway).

But as with any conference, the coolest part is what happens in between the seminars and breakout sessions.  See, whenever you bring together people of the same industry under one roof, networking sparks are gonna fly.  But when that industry is Broadway, and the people in that industry have the passion that’s required to work in the theater, look out, because some great things are going to happen.  And I know that because my focus is this ten block radius in Times Square, I always forget that Broadway isn’t just in NYC.  It’s all over America.  And the conference brings all of Broadway’s players together.

I hope you all get a chance to experience it. (Join the League to do just that!)

In the meantime, below are a few of the choice comments from a variety of presentations that I took down just for you.  And follow me on twitter for some other conference hoo-ha throughout the week.

 “If you want a successful career in the theatrical arts, you must tour your shows to the capitals of the world.”  – Carol Channing’s words of wisdom to a young Tommy Tune

“Don’t fix shows out of town.  Change them.”  – Broadway Producer Extraordinaire Manny Azenberg

“When you can no longer speak, you sing, and when you can no longer sing you dance.”  – Shared by Director/Choreographer of After Midnight, Warren Carlyle, who claimed it was originally spoken by “someone smarter than me.”

“This is the 25th Anniversary of the Spring Road Conference.  Twenty-Five years ago, there were 30 attendees.  Today, there are over 700.”

“What the theater does is normalize humanity.  Ignorance is fixed through experience and art.” – Jon Stewart

“Theater by its very nature is political.” – Director of A Raisin in the Sun, Kenny Leon

“Not knowing if you have a theater is the modern producer’s greatest challenge.  The days of calling a theater owner and saying, ‘I’ve got a show for you,’ are over.” – Broadway (and Godspell) General Manager Charlotte Wilcox

“We work in an industry where one size doesn’t fit all.  The collegiate producer will work with a presenter to adjust a show’s artwork and materials for a particular market.” – Doug Baker, Producing Director, Center Theater Group Los Angeles

“Passion can’t be taught.  But it can be contagious.” – Victor Hamburger, Director of Marketing at ASU Gammage

“As a composer, there is no better way to train than to have people anonymously criticize you.” – Antonius Nazareth of YouTube sensation, AVByte

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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.