Why did I decide to be a Producer of this Broadway show?

We all know the odds:  4 out of 5 Broadway shows don’t return their investments.  So for those of us nutty enough to want to do it, how do we choose the right project?

What do we look for when putting our record and reputation on the line?  A good score?  A reasonable economic model?  Passionate creative team?  Producing partners you admire?  A show you can say you’re proud to be a part of even if He doesn’t like it?


But that’s not all.

For me, there has to be all of those things . . . and something else.  Something unique, something remarkable, something purple.  Something that can cut through the noise of the other 30+ Broadway shows screaming for attention in the 12 block stretch that is Broadway.

Something that advertises and markets itself, so you don’t have to.

And that’s why I just recently signed on to be a Producer of 13, the new Broadway musical by Jason Robert Brown and Dan Elish and spearheaded by one of the most prolific and respected producers on Broadway (and on television), Robert Boyett.

So what does 13 have that made me call Bob to see if he was looking for partner like me?  Yes, it has all of the above in super-spades (wait until you hear this score), but it also has this . . . a cast of 13 teenagers.  No adults.

And a band of teenagers.  No adults.

Now that’s something that gets attention, don’t you think?  It’s the special little spark that makes us stand out from the crowd without having to buy our place in the front with full page ads, stars that cost $35k/week, etc.

Producing a hit, like having a successful marriage, is super hard.  You wouldn’t marry someone that just looked good on paper would you?  You’d wait until you met someone with something really special before making that huge commitment.  Something that others didn’t seem to have.  Something that made this person stand out from the crowd.

That special spark is no guarantee that you’ll be married for 50 years or that you’ll run for 50 years.  But add it to everything else and I’d bet on it.

Oh wait.  I am.

A game I like to play . . . look at the longest running shows on Broadway or any big hits.  Find their SS (special spark)?   What did Cats have?  AnnieMamma MiaThe Producers?   Find it in these shows . . . then find it in your own before you get down on one knee.

Stay tuned, readers . . . lots of Producer Perspective ahead as 13 readies to bow on Broadway in September.

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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.