A Midsummer Night’s Dream & Nightmare for Tony-Award Winning Broadway Producer

[ 0 ] October 7, 2013 |

The last time I updated you was the morning after the Tony Awards. I was in the fortunate position of celebrating the wins on three of my  co-productions pippin(CinderellaThe Trip to Bountiful and Pippin), especially the “Best Revival of a Musical” Tony Award  for Pippin. The Tonys were such a thrill—a dream come true and it is truly Broadway’s night to celebrate (some of us very late into the evening!).

The “nightmare” starts the next day when all the post-Tony Award excitement subsides. No long weeks basking in post-Tony Award glow. I use the summer to keep track of current shows, see all the off-Broadway and out-of-town shows that I can fit in, plan for the upcoming season and research potential new projects.

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On current shows, the producing teams have to decide what marketing strategies are working. My partners and I look at the numbers for our shows,  particularly the advanced ticket sales, to determine the best course of action for each show in the upcoming months. For example, we recently decided to release a new block of tickets through August 2014 for Pippin. The work doesn’t stop just because Tony season is over; the efforts go into new and even improved  marketing and sales strategies.

Most Broadway producers use the summer to prepare for the next season, whether it’s signing on to a new project or preparing a project for the fall season. I have to consider both the financial and artistic merits of the production. This fall, I’m thrilled to be a co-producer on a big, splashy, heartfelt new musical Big FishAndrew Lippa is writing the score, John August (who wrote the screenplay for Big Fish) is writing the book, and the incredible Susan Stroman is at the helm. Working with Susan was a “bucket list” dream, and she’s proven to be a wonderful collaborator. Big Fish stars two-time Tony Award winner Norbert Leo Butz. I truly believe Norbert is in the company of Nathan Lane, Patti LuPone and Bernadette Peters — that rare artist who inhabits a character and stays in your mind and heart forever.

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As co-producers, even though we are mostly involved with the financial side of the production, we still can voice our artistic opinions by communicating with the creative team and offering suggestions; a collaborative effort to make the show the best it can be. My favorite hangout to gleam information on a show’s progress during previews is in the theatre’s ladies room at intermission or right after the finale. The conversations get right to the point – it’s data directly from the consumer. After all, great theatre happens when the audience truly connects with the actors and the material; so audience feedback, especially in the early bigfishpreviews when changes an be made, is crucial.

My big Spring 2014 project is Rocky: The Musical, based on Sylvester Stallone’s iconic movie, helmed by the inimitable Alex Timbers. I’m thrilled to be a part of  bringing this to the Great White Way, and as we get closer to the opening (previews begin February 11 and opening night is March 13, 2014), I’ll be sure to bring you the details, like how you can sit “ringside” for the climactic fight.

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The summer is when I have more time to see off-Broadway shows and attend festivals, like Fringe and NYMF, as well as soak up regional offerings in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the New England area. It’s the time when my producing partners and I read through scripts, attend readings, go to workshops, and talk to investors about what they are looking for. It can become hectic if you’re not careful, but for me, my theatre is my passion and I consider myself very fortunate indeed to be living “my dream.”

In a few days I’m crossing the pond to check out the best and brightest of the London theatre scene; a ritual Broadway producers try to do as often as possible. I promise to fill you in.

Till then, enjoy a theatre performance in your home town!

For more information on Wendy Federman, please go to her web site www.foolishmortalsproductions.com . You can contact her at wendy@foolishmortalsproductions.com

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Category: Film, Music and Entertainment, Lifestyle

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About Wendy Federman: Wendy Federman is a Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, Drama League Award, and Outer Critics Circle Award winning producer. It’s no surprise that Wendy became part of the Broadway world as she comes from a [...]
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