Why I am producing Allegiance on Broadway.
In addition to the shows that I lead produce each season, I also like to attach myself to a show or two that is being led by one of my peers. For those of you coming up in the producing game, I recommend you do the same. Not only do you meet a whole new group of people that you may not have met before, but you diversify your projects for your investors, and most importantly . . . you can learn a different producing style than your own as you watch other lead producers up close and personal. And like a great producing mentor of mine once said, “If you don’t continue to learn as a Producer, you might as well produce dinner theater.”
This year, I’m honored to have signed on to be one of the Producers of the upcoming Allegiance on Broadway.
And why did I choose this one?
There are all sorts of great people involved, from star Lea Salonga (who I fell in love with from Row L at the Broadway Theatre when I saw her in Miss Saigon in 1991 – keep my affections for her between us, because she doesn’t know) to ultimate Trekkie George Takei, whose true-life experiences have inspired this incredible tale of one of the darkest parts of American history, to Telly Leung, who I knew would be leading a Broadway show someday the moment I heard him sing “All Good Gifts” at an audition for Godspell, to my visionary friend and director of Altar Boyz, Stafford Arima, who I conspired with about our eventual careers on Broadway in the basement of the then Ford Center for the Performing Arts when we were pups on the staff of the original company of Ragtime.
And there is also lead producer Lorenzo Thione, who comes to Broadway from the tech world, and who has done one of the best jobs I’ve ever seen in building a brand of a musical before it got to Broadway. Lorenzo and the team of Allegiance have proven that there is a ton you can and you must do before a show lands on the shores of the Great White Way in order to make sure you’re not starting from square one. So many new musicals have to go from zero to sixty in just a few weeks of previews. But not Allegiance. Allegiance has 525,178 fans on Facebook. Yep, that’s right, 525k and they haven’t even started performances. If that’s not some pre-opening activity, I don’t know what is.
But that wasn’t all that Allegiance did. On Broadway, because we sell through third-party ticket providers like Telecharge and Ticketmaster, we’re often handcuffed to when we can go on sale (we have to wait for a theater, a contract, dates, etc.). Allegiance worked around all that and did the first ever Broadway pre-sale and sold a ton of spots . . . proving that there was interest in the show itself.
And they had George Takei speaking at events like TEDxBroadway, they made videos documenting their journey, and more.
They didn’t just wait by the phone for their Broadway call and then start to work. They’ve been working during their entire decade of development. And that impressed me. Because if they did that before the show got to Broadway, it’s gotta mean they are going to work twice as hard now that they are here.
And I want to pitch in and lend my support, especially since they are trying so many new and different things, which you all know I love.
Finally, there is the story itself, of a Japanese family at a World War II internment camp, which is a story that has never been told on Broadway before, and one that needs to be told.
And hey, since this is already shaping up to be one of the most diverse seasons on Broadway, this seems like the perfect time.
So I joined up. And I hope to see you in the audience.
Learn more about the show and get tickets here.
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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.