10 Reasons why I decided to be a Producer on Mothers and Sons.

One of the things that I love about working on Broadway, is that every day you wake up . . . and you never know what exciting opportunity may await you in your inbox.

Yesterday, I got an offer to be an above-the-title Producer on the brand-spankin’-new Terrence McNally play, Mothers and Sons, starring Tyne Daly.

And I took it before you could say Terrence McNally.

It has become my Broadway MO to attach myself to one musical and one play a season that I’m not lead producing (Kinky Boots, The Bridges of Madison County, etc.).  It’s a way to diversify my own portfolio, and invest in projects that I believe in artistically and commercially, but it’s also an opportunity to invest in people and relationships I believe in . . . and that I want to do business with now, and in the future.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure I would jump on a play this year, but when I started the due diligence process on M&S I knew this was the one for me and my investors.

  1. It had a highly successful tryout at Bucks County last summer that got reviews like this one.
  2. It stars Tyne Daly, who is not only a brilliant actress, but she’s someone Broadway theater lovers adore (people are still talking about that Gypsy turn in the early 90s), and this role fits her like a custom tailored glove.  
  3. It’s a four person play featuring a fantastic role for a woman of a certain age . . . which makes it a highly valuable subsidiary property.
  4. The numbers are spot on.
  5. The Golden Theatre is one of my favorites, and its on 45th street, which gets the most theater going pedestrian traffic of all the midtown streets (it has more theaters than any of the others).
  6. It’s directed by Sheryl Kaller, so if you saw Next Fall, you know she knows her way around an intimate and modern family drama (that producing attracted the likes of Elton John to its producing team, remember?).
  7. Lead Producer Tom Kirdahy’s passion for the play oozes out of every pore . . . so I know he’ll work even harder than he needs to in order to make sure we have our best shot at success.  And he’s also just a great guy.
  8. I don’t know Co-Lead Producer Paula Wagner personally, but I’m such a fan of what she did in Hollywood that I look forward to watching her work on this coast.
  9. Did I mention that it got great reviews out of town like this one and this other one and this other one? And finally and most importantly . . .
  10. It’s a beautiful play by one of the best playwrights of the modern age.

I was the Associate Company Manager on Ragtime, which I think has one of the best books ever written for a Broadway Musical (by one Mr. Terrence McNally, of course).  Whenever I needed a 5 minute break from processing house seat orders or paying bills on that job, I’d just go hang out in the house and listen to those incredible words . . . the libretto sounded like lyrics, they were so dang good.

And when I saw Love! Valour! Compassion!, I remember collectively gasping (along with 1000 other people) at a simple two line exchange between two characters.  It’s a moment that still affects me today.

So when that email bounced into my inbox, I thought, “Boy, I’ve got a lot going on right now . . . Bridges, a new theater, prepping Gettin’ The Band Back Together for Broadway . . . ”

And then I remembered that moment in Love! Valour! Compassion! and I thought, “Turn down the chance to be a producer on a new McNally play?”

Not on your life.

See you there.  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.