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Daniel - California Highway Guy
Northridge, CA
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I seem to recall suggesting the notion of childcare at some point. I think it would be worthwhile to experiment with at small theatres to begin with. Offer one performance a week with childcare (a matinee might be a good start) -- either included in the ticket or a nominal charge. If the response is good, expand it. After all, if its good enough for Ikea, its good enough for the theatre.
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Actually, you might appreciate my 4/1 post of a few years ago, where I blogged that I had decided to give up my day job and become a broadway producer: Part 1: http://cahwyguy.livejournal.com/707226.html Part 2 (which has some show ideas): http://cahwyguy.livejournal.com/707493.html Today, I've decided I'm fed up with the clowns in Washington and Sacramento, and I'm going to run for office: http://cahwyguy.livejournal.com/1135186.html
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One of the things I truly appreciate is when shows begin with a few words from the artistic director. The Pasadena Playhouse did this in the 1990s under the previous artistic director (Lars Hansen, I believe); Sheldon Epps has never done this, and the theatre feels cold as a result. On the other hand, Barbara Beckley is a presence at the Colony, greeting people before each show and saying a few words before the production starts. I just got a letter from the Colony, and I could hear Barbara's voice as I read it. Which one am I more likely to support? It goes at all levels: Cabrillo Music Theatre has their executive directors out at every show and saying a few words. At little REP East the artistic director is handing out tickets and drinks, and the place becomes family. You gotta give money to family :-). On other other hand, the large touring and production houses in LA - the Pantages, the Ahmanson, the Mark Taper - are cold. I buy tickets, but there is no sense of that family. So I agree with what you say completely. Especially if you are in the market for subscribers, make the subscribers feel like family.
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Basically, the game (which is roll and move, to some extent) consists for three acts and a finale. In Act I, you are moving around the inner track, investing in the available shows for either a full or a discount price. Once a show has a full set of 10 investors (Act II), you move to the out of town tryout track, where you have do to things like meet payrolls, etc. If you can't cover that from the initial investment, you have to go to your investors for money, and if they don't have the funds, they may have to sell shares, which might move you to have to find investors again. If you make it through out of town tryouts, you open on Broadway, but again have to handle costs which could result in the show closing and having to go out of town again. Once all the shows have opened, there is an end-game with an odd voting scheme -- perhaps the weakest part of the game. There don't appear to be any copies in the BGG Marketplace, although there are some for trade ( http://www.boardgamegeek.com/collection/items/boardgame/477?fortrade=1 ). Perhaps you could trade for a copy of your new game.
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A game that might interest you more is "The Broadway Game" ( http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/477/the-broadway-game ). This game, which came out in the 1980s, involves getting investors for shows, going out of town on tryouts, and then going onto Broadway, with the goal of making a profit for your investors. I've played it (I got a copy through the BoardGameGeek marketplace), and it is reasonably good (although long... about 2 hrs), but the endgame is weak. Still you need to look at it. [You should also go to BoardGameGeek and add your new game to the database: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/ ]
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One other show of interest: I was listening to Broadway Bullet (http://www.broadwaybullet.com/?p=920), and the following show and music piqued my interest. Too bad I'm on the wrong coast to see it at NYMF: Written by Tony Winning Book Writer William Hauptman (Big River) and Broadway Composer Jim Wann (Pump Boys and Dinettes), THE GREAT UNKNOWN is one of the more high-profile offerings at the festival. Broadway veterans Tom Hewitt (Rocky Horror, Dracula) and Don Stephenson (The Producers, Dracula) stop by the studio to discuss the show. (that particular episode also has some of the musical and story about the "Deaf Musical" you cited).
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It would be interesting to see similar research at the regional level. For example, take productions of the Center Theatre Group here in Los Angeles. How would the makeup of a Saturday or Sunday matinee crowd differ from an evening crowd? Does the nature and timing of transit in different cities make a difference? I know that, for me, we tend to see Sunday matinees or Saturday evenings simply because our daughter is busy with tech crew at her high school on Saturdays, and I get up early Monday through Friday, eliminating most evening slots from consideration.
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Speaking of marketing shows, you might enjoy the following article from the LA Times Culture Blog: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2009/09/geffen-playhouse-embraces-bad-reviews-for-alpacas.html It is about how the Geffen Theatre is embracing the bad reviews for their latest show ("Matthew Modine Saves The Alpacas") and doing clever pull-quote selection -- shades of David Merrick and the ads for "Subways are for Sleeping".
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This is a definate "woo-hoo". I'm a big fan of Downstage Center, and are so happy they are back after an over 9 month hiatus. I enjoy your contributions to the Broadway Bullet podcast, so having you on Downstage Center should be great. It will give me something to listen to and enjoy as I fly from LA to Baltimore on Tuesday!
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The show you saw, Tin Pan Alley, is a good national example of that. I saw the show back in the mid-1990s (I don't have the exact date handy) when it was at the Pasadena Playhouse. Even in the regional theatre world (or should that be "especially in the..."), the non-profit is king: be that smaller theatres like the Blank out here in LA that starts a lot of LaChusa's work, to the mid-size regionals like the Pasadena Playhouse that have spurred on works such as Sister Act, Mask, Vanities, Looped, and others, to the larger regionals such as Center Theatre Group and the LaJolla Playhouse (CTG, and the former Chandler tenant LACLO) has been the source of many shows over the years. The main reason may be the subscriber base that comes for the fixed number of different shows every year (I just renewed my Pasadena Playhouse subscription of six shows, for example: two orchestra tickets, six shows, about $815). The regional non-profits are the ones originating work; the regional for-profits (such as Broadway/LA at the Pantages) seem to bring in the tours and not take the chances.
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I posted mine over in my journal, http://cahwyguy.livejournal.com/891087.html
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Why is it that people seem to think that theatre only exists in New York? After all, there is excellent regional theatre across the country, and it benefits just as much by the regional theatre bloggers. So where is that fourth area of the theatre: regional?
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Odd question: Are the same trends visible in (a) off-Broadway income or attendance, or in (b) the regional income and attendance figures. True, regional tends not to have the long runs, but it would be interesting to see those numbers. In terms of what I have seen, I've had mail from the Pasadena Playhouse emphasizing how they are cutting costs, but no cuts in the season yet. Similarly, no cuts in offerings, but Cabrillo Music Theatre has done a 2-for-1 in the balcony subscriptions. I believe I'm seeing fewer 99-and-under houses putting seats on Goldstar or LA StageTix, and we know the Ahmanson/Taper has done some cutbacks for next season. But the overall Southern California picture I don't know. So how is the overall state of the theatre marketplace, for the health of regional theatre and Broadway is intertwined.
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Well, I always write a review after I see a show: either the day of, or the day after. Saturday night we saw Maritius at the Pasadena Playhouse, the review was posted on my Livejournal blog the next morning. You can see it at http://cahwyguy.livejournal.com/871258.html In my eyes, it helps publicize the theatre for those in my local area, and promotes the idea of going to the theatre for those that aren't in the area.
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This is likely because I'm in my last day of studying for my CISSP (Certified Information System Security Professional) exam, but I can think of one reason for the paper: so that there is better proof that they came from you (paper is harder to tamper with, especially large reports that would have to be scanned and reprinted, especially on things with signatures). Thus, if you are going to be distributing PDFs, you might want to ensure they are digitially signed (Acrobat provides that ability), and you might set the security permissions to prevent modification. Lastly, if these reports are not something that could be posted on the Internet (i.e., public information), you might consider encrypting the PDF and distributing the password via an out-of-band mechanism. Of course, you might also consider having a authenticated, protected area of your site for the investors, from which they could download the signed reports via HTTPS. That would also eliminate bulk email, and provide you with confirmation that your investors have actually retrieved the report. Just my 2c, from someone with security on the brain :-)
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Well, I'll give you a comparison with another industry. I work in the aerospace industry. Each week, I pay $53.33 for my share of the medical (California Blue Cross PPO), and $9.28 for Dental (Delta Dental PPO). According to our enrollment brochure, the cost to the company (Employee+2 or more dep) is $260.39, for a total of $313.72, per week. If we were talking just one employee, that would be $23.45 employee, $114.47 company, total $137.92. It would be cheaper with CaliforniaCare (the Blue Cross HMO), totalling $97.74, or with Kaiser ($84.92). Thus, I'm thinking their average cost is low, or there are a lot of people on HMO plans such as Kaiser with rationed service, vs. the more expensive PPO plans. I can't give NY numbers, as my company doesn't operate in New York.
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Are these cumulative grosses or weekly? I'm asking because Avenue Q's gross seems awfully low for a show that has been running that long.
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