Why you do NOT need an MFA.
You may not know this, but I do a lot of speaking to organizations around the country, including a lot of universities.
I should say, I did a lot of speaking at universities. Because after this blog, the higher education mafia might just wanna whack me.
Before you send your Grad School goons after me, all you Unis out there, let me get a a bit more specific.
You do NOT need an MFA . . . if you’re going to pursue a career as a Broadway Producer.
See? You can put those whip-like-tassels down, Professors.
MFAs can be good for a lot of different careers. It’s a safe place for writers to work, and more importantly to network with fellow students who are as serious as they are about their career. Same with actors.
But for Producers? Save your $150,000.
Commercial Theater Producing is a super specialty skill, and while I recommend everyone take a course in producing no matter what their major, there is currently no MFA program with a core curriculum that I believe is more effective than, well, what I’m going to suggest below. (Maybe there will be one day, and if any of the MFA programs out there want some assistance in designing one, give me a shout.)
You know what you could do what that $150k? You could get your name above-the-title on a Broadway show. Or you could invest in 10 shows. Or you could produce a NYMF show and be an above-the-title Producer on an Off Broadway show. Or you could produce four Equity Showcases. Or you could intern for three Broadway Producers for three years for free, using that tuition to live on. The combinations are endless.
All of the above is going to give you a heck of a lot more experience, knowledge, and training than any school could provide. And you’re going to leave with a real-life resume that’s going to open doors, increase your ability to raise money, maybe get you some nominations, or more.
You know how I know I’m right about this? Take a look at the resumes of some of the Broadway Producers you admire. See any MFAs in theater anywhere? That’s what I thought.
If you want to teach, go to grad school.
If you want to be a lawyer, or a doctor, go to grad school.
But if you want to be a Producer, save the time and the money, and get out there and produce.
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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.