Podcast Episode #49: The President of MTI (aka The King of Licensing), Drew Cohen.

When a show is a hit on Broadway, everyone looks at the grosses and thinks, “Look at how much money they are making.”

Drew Cohen looks at the grosses and thinks, “Look at how much they are going to make.”

The licensing of theatrical properties around the world is a ginormous business.  And the numbers and dollars associated with it aren’t publicized anywhere (and very few will talk about them).  But just think about this for a second.  The American Association of Community Theatre estimates that there are around 7,000 CTs around the country, who do several shows a year.  Add to that the 36,000 high schools out there, and you’re talking a lot of licensed productions.  And that doesn’t even include the professional companies and regional theaters . . . and what about the rest of the world?

It’s a lot to deal with . . . and as the President of MTI, Drew Cohen deals with it all, for a ton of titles, from Annie to Folliesall the Disney properties, and the Cameron Mackintosh musicals too.

Since the licensing industry isn’t one that gets talked about a lot, I was thrilled that Drew invited me into his office for this candid talk on everything from:

  • Can a show get licensed if it is never produced in New York City?
  • What do high schools look for when choosing a show to do?
  • How has technology changed licensing?
  • When should the rights to a show be released . . . after a show closes or (GASP) before?
  • What you can do to get your show licensed by a company like MTI.

One of Drew’s greatest assets is that he loves the theater, but he didn’t grow up in it.  So he tackles it with the same passion we all have, but he’s got a pure business background.  That’s good for all of us, since he’s distributing content to our future actors, authors . . . and audience.  The more he distributes today, the healthier Broadway will be tomorrow.

Enjoy hearing Drew’s perspective!

Click here to listen.

Listen to it on iTunes here.  (And give me a rating, while you’re there!)

Download it here.

Click here to read the transcript.


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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.