What I want from Santa Claus this Broadway Christmas.

My Mom is the best.

I’m in my 5th decade now, and still, every year right after Thanksgiving she shoots me an email and says, “What does my boy want from Santa this Christmas?”

Gone are the days I wanted the newest Nintendo game or the latest Dungeons and Dragons adventure.  Now mostly what I want for Christmas has to do with Broadway and how it can get better in the coming year decade. In the spirit of the old saying, “you can’t get what you don’t ask for,” (one of the simplest of lessons when raising money for your show, by the way), I thought I’d make public my Xmas wish list in the hopes that Santa or the Theater Gods would grant me one or two or all ten.  Because I’ve been a very, very good boy.  I promise.

Here goes, in no particular order.

1.  Tax Incentives for Broadway Investors

I gave the government one idea yesterday, and I know the Broadway League is lobbying away for something for the folks that fund our shows, but we could use this gift stat.  Otherwise, except London to start stealing some of our shows.

2.  A New Broadway Theater

With all of our Broadway theaters booked like tables at Per Se, thanks mostly to our long running shows, we could use another space for a medium to large scale musical.  Because right now, the line of shows waiting for theaters is longer than the line for the women’s restroom at a Broadway theater.  (And I’ve got 2 shows waiting, Shuberts, uh, I mean, Santa, so see what you can do about that parking lot you bought, will ya?)

3.  Profit Sharing Union Deals

Everyone knows the costs of some of our union deals is onerous.  Except when you’ve got a hit, then the deals look cheap, right?  (And in the unions’ defense,  that’s one of the reasons we’ll never scroll back these rates, because Producers can still make plenty when the stars align.)  That said, what about the shows that struggle to find an audience at first, that have to close too quickly because of the high costs of labor in our fair city?  Oh, Santa, I know it’s a dream, but wouldn’t a profit sharing deal that paid bonuses on the big weeks, and less on the little ones be beneficial for all?

4.  A Redo of the .045.

Speaking of onerous costs, one of the biggest budget bustin’ leftovers involves some tax and pension legislation from 1963 called The Burton Turkus Award.  I talked about some of the issues of this Award here, but just know this – because of the changes in the Broadway industry over the last 50+ years, the Award is all out of whack and has Producers paying more than they should into union benefit plans.  It’s time for fix it, although it will take a Christmas miracle.

5.  A new play by Aaron Sorkin 

Did you watch Newsroom like I did and dream of a new play by the words-slayer, Aaron Sorkin?  It’s hard to imagine that he’s only had two plays on Broadway, but it’s time for a third, Santa.

6.  Week long golf camp with Jim McClean

Sorry, Santa, but had to slip this one in.  All Broadway and no golf makes Ken a dull boy.

7.  A “Chatter” gets a reviewing post at a prominent NY paper

Sure, sure, chat rooms are chat rooms, and can be filled with a lots of bluster, gossip, and misinformation . . . and that’s just from the Producers who post!  Hey yo!  But if you read ’em thoroughly, you’ll also find some super-smart and insightful reviewers, who love the theater and who all stay for the second act!  Hey yo x2!  Wouldn’t it be great, Kris Kringle, and a sign of our shifting times, if one of the people got a job as a critic?  I’d be the first to want to know if he/she liked it.

8.  More diversity in our audience and on our stages.

Almost 80% of our audience is white.  While that’s just sad, it also means that one of the ways we can expand the Broadway audience is to get to the minority theatergoers out there.  You can help, Santa, because you speak all languages.  And so should we.

9.  Health Insurance Redo

Employee contributions to union health plans are too high.  Obamacare is too confusing, and no one wants to take it.  And small business insurance still keeps going up every year.  Oh Santa, what do you do when you’re feeling under the weather?  You know what I do?  I don’t go to the doctor.  And that’s not good for me or anyone around me.  Heal Health Insurance, Santa.

10.  All Broadway Discounts websites get hacked by North Korea.

Hehe.  I just wonder what would happen if discounts weren’t so easy to find.  A wealthy theatergoer just told me yesterday that she “never bought tickets to any Broadway show without getting a code from INSERT DISCOUNT SITE.”  Would she and all the others like her stop going?  I doubt it.  Only one way to find out.  Kim Jong-un?  Get this, Un!  I hear a few of our discount sites want to do a Broadway musical about your life.  It’s gonna be called, North Korean Cuckoo Bird The Musical, and it’s going to feature a song called, “In A Few Years, My Waist Line Is Going To Be Bigger Than My Country.”  Hack at it!


That’s my gift wish list . . . what are you wishin’ for this Christmas?  Comment below what you want for Broadway, and maybe, just maybe, Santa/Mom will slide it under your tree.

Merry, merry everybody.


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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.