Buy Tickets Now Donate Now

What does a Broadway Producer do? Over 100 Producers respond

February 24th, 2016 by admin

I got an email a few weeks ago from a high school student with the simplest question ever.

“Ken,” she typed, “Can you tell me . . . what does a Broadway Producer do?”

I try to answer all of my reader’s questions, but I have to say, I was a bit overwhelmed at the thought of trying to answer this one.  First I thought about directing her to my Producer Mission Statement.  Then I thought about trying to come up with a list of my day-to-day duties on a show.

But then I remembered how different every single Broadway Producer I know is . . . and how each one of them focuses on different areas of the biz, depending on what they know, what they love, and what they do best.

So, rather than come up with a long-winded answer of my own, I decided to come up with a Wiki answer to my reader’s question.  I went to my Broadway League brothers and sisters and asked all the Broadway Producers I know to answer my reader’s question in one, short sentence.

And now, right here, I’m going to list all of them.  Put them all together, and that’s what we do!

I promised all the Producers on this list to keep it anonymous, but I will say this . . . there are some heavy hitter answers below.  There are more Tonys on this list than at a West Side Story reunion.

Enjoy the answers!

– – – –

Question:  What does a Producer do?

– Have fun while keeping all the balls in the air until we open.

– Producers do everything!  We are the bank, the therapist, the negotiator, the scapegoat, the creative, and we rarely get credit! I should add its awesome. Because I think it is.

– Getting everyone to do what I want done while making them all think it was their idea.

– We manage the business behind the show.

– Create solutions.

– Producing is the art of saying yes judiciously and no politely.

– Look at a blank slate each morning and figure out – “what has to happen next” – and then make it happen.

– What do I do?  Emails… decision maker and cheerleader.  (mostly emails)

– Producers inspire others to be as passionate about the project as they are.

– Encourage and foster excellence for the purpose of optimizing profit and art.

– We raise money for projects we have faith in and then try our hardest to repay all of those wonderful investors who have had faith in us (hopefully with a profit).

– Make ideas real.

– Create/ facilitate product, then get butts in seats.

– Find the right project.  Raise money.  Hire the creative team.  Raise money.

– It’s a lot of blocking and tackling, with the occasional touch down.

– Partner with the best creative team and let them work their magic!

– Pray.

– Create a safe space for new art to be born.

– Everything but act, write, direct or design . . . In other words, everything you wouldn’t hire someone else to do.

– Deliver an engaging production that appeals to the widest possible demographic.

– Encourage, empower and embrace.

– Create a collaborative, focused, dynamic and exciting team-working environment where everyone shares a common vision for the material.

– How about “everything.”

– I don’t UNDER spend or OVER spend, but WISELY spend every dollar avail on creative advertising and marketing.

– No matter how difficult the biz may be, I always remember the passion which enticed me to be a Producer in the first place.

– I try each day to prove I am the natural heir of Max Bialystock (to collect the royalties he amassed).

– I would say my greatest challenge as a producer is putting together the right team (director, choreographer, music, lyricist, etc).

– Create a safe and supportive environment for artists to make magic.

– A Producer is a midwife for writer(s) and the creative team. .

– To make the impossible possible.

– Assess, finance, assess, stay out of the way.

– Make the best art possible with the available financial resources.

– Find works and artists you feel passionate about and to put them on the stage.

– Realize the world of the play.

– Passionately advocate for the creator’s vision of the play and the investors’ right to recoup their investment.

– A Producer does whatever needs to be done, from A ( finding the property ) to Z (making sure the johns have enough toilet paper).

– Producing is the art of making the deal.

– A theatre Producer manages the collaborators of the most collaborative art form that exists.

– The three F’s:  FIND IT (the show), FUND IT, FILL THE SEATS (preferably with paying customers)

– Create an experience for an audience they never knew they needed.

– Guidance Counselor

– Visionary.

– Advocate/ambassador, sounding board.

– A producer coordinates all aspects of the project and hopes the people he or she picks does the best job possible creating his vision while at the same time getting the most bang for his buck.

– Deal with the people who invest that think they know more than we do re: advertising and everything else.

– Maintains the connection between “show” and “business.”

– Raise money.

– I hold a lot of hands and smile & agree with everyone.

– The Producer is the mother that nurtures the baby until it grows up!

– A benevolent (collaborative) Dictator.

– Make their dreams come true.

– I don’t believe that any writer, actor or director has ever made a live stage event happen.  Without demeaning the incredible talent that the team brings to the table, without a Producer wanting to see the product, nothing would ever get on stage.

– In my view, the Producer is the project manager of the show, who also acts as the CEO/entrepreneur.

– This is a big topic and not one I am comfortable addressing with a sound bite.

– Identify the project, the creative team, and get out of the way.

– I bring together all the resources necessary to transform an intangible idea into reality.

– Support the general partners.

– I often say the Producer is “The glue that holds it all together.”

– A producer ensures that: the show is good, sells well, and runs smoothly and…remains calm.

– Have a vision and find the right team to execute it.

– “Put it all together.” (to borrow, if I may, from Sondheim)

– Producing is keeping the ball moving down the field until hopefully, you help to allow the entire team to score a winning goal.

– Discover & nurture new works, try and keep everyone happy, create a “family”

– Keep myself constantly inspired by reading everything I can get my hands on.

– Make shows happen

– A producer produces.

– Get the show on.

– Choosing what to produce is the most important decision a producer makes.

– To present a writer who is able to spark the thoughts or feelings of an audience in a fresh and unprecedented way.

– If a show is the equivalent of a small company, the producer is its CEO.

– A producer is like the CEO of a company: hires and fires everyone and most importantly, makes sure everyone’s paycheck clears at the end of the week.

– Develop great work and persuade audiences to buy tickets to it.

– Keep the herd moving forward

– To me, producing is development and marketing.

– My response to this often-asked question is that producing each new show is like starting a business – you have to raise the money, hire a business manager (GM), raise money, hire an attorney, raise money, hire a marketing/advertising/promotions team, raise money, hire a director, raise money, select and hire a design team, raise money, deal with the unions and raise money, etc.

– Oversee the financing, marketing and creative process to deliver a show that connects with audiences.

– My first reaction to your question is one word: “nurture.”  Actually, it’s just like mothering.

– Identify the kernel of greatness and execute a vision for making it so

– A producer is (among so many things), both . . . the owner of the sheep, and their border collie.

– Oversee every element both creative and financial

– A Producer is ultimately responsible for everything, but actually does nothing.

– A Producer always keeps the lines of communication open so that artists, management and money are unified around the same vision.

– Strike a balance between artistic vitality and commercial appeal.

– All encompassing; responsible for every detail

– Maintain an environment where your creative team can do the best work they are capable of…

– Focus on the product, not the money. If the product is really good, the money will find you.

– Happily enabling artists to execute their visions.

And lastly, I’ll include one longer answer on this subject because this guy agreed to go on the record with his answer, and because, well, this guy just has a certain way with words.

A producer is a rare, paradoxical genius: hard-headed, soft-hearted, cautious, reckless, a hopeful innocent in fair weather, a stern pilot in stormy weather, a mathematician who prefers to ignore the laws of mathematics and trust intuition, an idealist, a realist, a practical dreamer, a sophisticated gambler, a stage-struck child.  That’s a producer.

– Oscar Hammerstein II Thanks to all the Producers that participated!

– – – – –

Reproduced from Ken Davenport’s website:



Hi. I’m Ken Davenport. I produce stuff. You can too. For more information about me, click here.

A Love Supreme for Ruth Bader Ginsburg – Only one thing can distract U.S. Justice from the law: the opera

February 11th, 2016 by admin

What do I love about opera?

Its glorious music, high drama and gorgeous voices. An operatic voice is like no other. I was a super once — an extra —in Die Fledermaus, and was seated within three feet of Placido Domingo. I had never heard a voice of that beauty so close up. It felt as if an electric shock were running through me.

I think Mozart’s operas The Marriage of Figaro  and Don Giovanni are the two most perfect ever written. The music is magical. The sextet in The Marriage is the most hilarious piece in all of opera. And Don Giovanni has the most seductive duet, “Là ci darem la mano,” sung when the Don attempts to seduce Zerlina. One day I’ll say The Marriage is my favorite opera. The next day, the Don.

Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg walks with two Carmen extras at Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center. — Mark Peterson/Redux

Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg walks with two Carmen extras at Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center. — Mark Peterson/Redux

In 2015, an opera opened about me and Justice Antonin Scalia. It’s called Scalia/Ginsburg. The composer, Derrick Wang, has degrees in music from Harvard and Yale. Enrolled in law school, he was reading dueling opinions by me and Justice Scalia and decided he could compose an appealing comic opera from them. He uses lines from opinions, speeches and articles we’ve written. The opera is really touching because it shows two people who interpret the Constitution differently but genuinely like each other. The last duet we sing is “We Are Different, We Are One”: different in the way we interpret written texts, one in our reverence for the institution we serve, the Supreme Court of the United States. 

How do you get to know opera?

For me, it began when I was 11, in 1944. My aunt took me to a high school in Brooklyn  for a condensed version of La Gioconda. I loved it. In high school I started attending the New York City Opera. To save money, I’d go to dress rehearsals. Or I’d buy tickets for seats in the last row of the top balcony.

 When it came time to introduce my daughter to opera, I played a recording of Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte,  libretto in English, during dinner. After she had heard it maybe four or five times, we read the libretto together. Then my husband and I took her to a performance. By then, she knew most of the lyrics by heart. She was 8 years old. My son’s first exposure was Aida.

One way to get to know and love opera is by attending the Metropolitan Opera simulcasts in a movie theater. I went to four or five last year.

Most of the time, even when I go to sleep, I’m thinking about legal problems. But when I go to the opera, I’m just lost in it. Loving it. And I don’t think about any legal brief.

—As told to Frederick Allen by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, AARP The Magazine, December 2015

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 82, is an associate justice of the Supreme Court.

Does this article put you in the mood for a little opera? …

Yale Opera presents A Midsummer Nights Dream at the Shubert

February 19-21, 2016 

Benjamin Britten’s magical opera based on the Shakespeare play

is performed in English

Before you go to the show – have some tasty fun baking these Book of Mormon cookies!

October 12th, 2015 by admin

Dancing Mormon Cookies

“We love to dance and shout

and let all the feelings out,

and work to make a better Latter day.”

cookie 1


So, how about some happy, dancing, jumping mormon cookies?


I was inspired by this fun t-shirt. Let’s get crackin’!





▪   Hand cut sugar cookies in any shape you want based on your own designs (or use that t-shirt for inspiration!). Mine just looked like amoebas before decorating 🙂

▪   Black icing (outline, flood)

▪   White icing (outline, flood)

▪   Pastry bags, couplers, and #1 and #2 tips

I apologize for the dark pictures – it was a very rainy, dreary day!

Get your cooled sugar cookie:

cookie 3








See? Very amoeba-ish. Amoeby? You get the idea.

From my inspiration, I loved that the white of the shirt blended into the background, so I outlined the black parts first with a #1 tip:

cookie 4








cookie 5








Then, I outlined the whole cookie in white icing with a #2 tip:

cookie 6








I let it dry for a bit before flooding, since I didn’t want the black icing to bleed. Then, I carefully flooded the cookie with white icing.

cookie 7








It was hard to get into all of those little crevices with the tip, so I used a toothpick to get into all of those hard to reach places until I had this:

cookie 8



Can I just say that I was having a killer time with my icing that day, hence the bumpier look. Humidity and royal icing don’t mix!




Wait a bit,  flood the black parts, and then you’re left with a platter of happy Mormons (add in some orange Africa cookies too)!

cookie 9








“Why are Mormons happy?

It’s because we know it’s a Latter day tomorrow.

So if you’re sad put your hands together and pray,

that tomorrow’s gonna be a Latter day.

And then it probably will be a Latter day.

Tomorrow is a Latter day!”


Find more Book of Mormon inspired desserts here


From: Not Your Mommas Cookie:

by JENNIFER on APRIL 24, 2012



Why the Hit Show ‘Kinky Boots’ IS a Family Musical

August 31st, 2015 by admin

kinky The original Kinky Boots cast(Credit: Matthew Murphy)

In advance of “Kinky Boots” at the Shubert June 8-12, 2016, we are sharing blog posts from various  sources to give our patrons an idea of what the show is about, and understand why it’s such a smash hit! 



“Children are smarter than any of us,” said Bill Hicks, the late comedian and satirist. “Know how I know that? I don’t know one child with a full time job and children.”

But seriously, kids are often wiser than we give them credit for. And sometimes they can find true inspiration in places that may not seem initially obvious. Take the Broadway hit show Kinky Boots, which is now touring throughout the United States. In the Tony Award-winning musical, the owner of an old school shoe factory has to find a fabulously creative way to keep his family’s business from going under. So he takes some untraditional steps to save the company. But more than that, as the show’s lyrics tell us, the musical is about how to “celebrate yourself triumphantly” and “accept yourself and you’ll accept others too.”

Some people may not automatically think, Kinky Boots – great family show. But don’t be thrown by the title. I asked Daryl Roth, a Kinky Boots producer with Hal Luftig, why the show is wonderful for families.

What lessons can children learn from the show that they can bring with them into adulthood?

At the end of the day, Kinky Boots is about acceptance – accepting yourself and accepting other people for who they are: the importance of kindness, understanding, and friendship. What better lesson could you want to teach your child? It also addresses bullying, and that’s sadly an issue so many kids face now. Not only that, but there’s lots of costumes with glitter and great music which makes you want to dance in the aisles, and I think kids love that, too!

Roughly what percentage of your Broadway audience includes families?

In recent months, around 21% of our audience has been families, which is approximately the Broadway musical average. That’s definitely higher than it was when the show first started running, so I think people are less scared off by the title than they used to be. And the word of mouth is that it’s a great show for young people and families. When I visit the theater, I see families all the time, and young people really enjoying the experience. My own grandchildren (ages 10, 12, and 14) have seen the show numerous times, love it, and know the soundtrack by heart!

 What’s the youngest age that would you recommend a child should be to see Kinky Boots?

While Telecharge recommends 10 and up, my youngest granddaughter saw it for the first time at 8 and enjoyed it as much as her older sisters. We have had children as young as 6 come to see it. And one young girl who came to visit the show posted a video about how much it meant to her. It was really charming. It depends on the maturity of the child, but there’s absolutely nothing inappropriate in this show that kids cannot see – no bad language, no scary characters. When you learn about acceptance, understanding, and love at a young age, it will help define how you live your life.

What kind of response have you gotten from families who have seen Kinky Boots?

I hear all the time from friends, colleagues, and people I meet at the theater about how their families and the young people in their lives have had a meaningful experience at Kinky Boots. And I met with a sixteen-year-old from New Jersey who has seen the show over twenty times. The heart of the musical is about families, friendship, and love – something for all ages, a show that families can share together.


For tickets to Kinky Boots at the Shubert New Haven June 8-12, 2016, visit or call the Shubert Box Office at 203-562-5666 or 888-736-2663.








By JERYL BRUNNER @jerylbrunner

February 11, 2015

A behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to become the wicked Miss Trunchbull

May 22nd, 2015 by admin

The Miss Trunchbull character in Matilda the Musical – is certainly memorable for a number of reasons… one being her appearance.  Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to become one of the wickedest characters in a musical!



Craige Els plays Miss Trunchbull at the Cambridge Theatre, London

trunch 1

Trunchbull is an ogress. I need a dresser to help me into the fat suit; once it’s on I can only just do up my shoes. She has a very masculine look, with hair that’s scraped back in a tight bun. It’s only when people come to see me after the show and go, ‘Oh my God’, that I remember I’m a man wearing a big, foam-padded costume with fake boobs, belly and hunch.

We call it ‘The Trunchformation’. I do my own make-up but I’ve got a brilliant team to help me. I have a monobrow made from real hair and two moles glued on, then they dry my teeth and paint on this liquid that looks like a mustard-coloured nail varnish – luckily it’s tasteless. Then my wig is pinned on. The worst part is the fixing spray at the end; it’s like your nan’s firmhold hair spray and it coats your face to stop your make-up shifting.


trunch2I’ve had some horror stories with the fake moles. When I started, I used to get very sweaty and I lost my moles a couple of times — they flew off into the audience. Once I was halfway through one of my big numbers in the second act and I managed to bite off one of my thick mole hairs and then, on a big in-breath, inhaled it.

Inside the costume it’s roasting. When I take the suit off you can wring fancy that! Regular open auditions are held for the role of Matilda to find actresses under 4ft 3in required to play the role. So far 23 girls have stepped into her shoes, from nine to 13 years old. out the T-shirt I wear underneath. I get through about four litres of water a show.

I really like being unrecognisable. It’s a requirement of the Dahl estate that I remain in character when I’m dressed as Trunchbull around children. There have been nights where I’ve got on the Tube home and there’s been a family next to me with the Matilda programme and none of them has any idea that it’s me.

trunch 3

Article courtesy of the Daily Mail UK

Read more:


trunch 4

100th Gala “Confessions” from a member of Rex Smith’s Fan Club

April 20th, 2015 by admin

Please enjoy this wonderful recollection from the Shubert 100th Gala, held on Saturday, March 21st, by one of the members of Rex Smith’s Fan Club.  Rex was one of our Honorees that evening, along with Betty Buckley and Barbara Cook. Lucille traveled from New York to see her favorite performer…enjoy her story…71xolE4I-rL__SL290_


The Gala was wonderful, all the men were in tuxes and ladies were in gowns … Rex and Brandon(Rex’s son) were in tuxes – Tracy (Rex’s wife) and Lailina (Rex’s daughter-in-law) were in floor length gowns. Rex looked terrific in his tux – and I believe there is nothing as sexy as a man in a tux. Brandon had on tails – Lailina told me the tux Brandon had on was the one Rex wore in Sunset Blvd. When Brandon tried it on it fit him perfectly – not an inch of tailoring was needed.

Rex was his animated, happy, normal self – working the room (as I say). The dinner was on the Shubert stage – very nicely done – food was good and there were tons of wait staff to take care of everything from drinks to wine to dinner to coffee and dessert. When the time came for the awards, Betty Buckley told some funny stories of what took place on the Shubert stage in shows she performed in – it was great to hear how back in the day she did her own stage make up which actually turned out to be a fiasco … after that the Shubert’s hired a professional makeup artist ….you had to be there to get the full joke. There was a video on a large screen from other stars that performed at the theatre wishing the Shubert another 100 years … Barbara Cook was not able to attend due to illness. Then it was Rex’s turn …Rex talked about the shows he did at the Shubert Theatre and talked a little about his “Confessions” show and he told me later he wants to bring “Confessions” to New Haven, CT and perform it at Shubert Theatre. I thought hmm, maybe the gang can campaign to make that happen – more to be continued on that one….

Rex with fellow Honoree Tony Award winner Betty Buckley

Rex with fellow Honoree Tony Award winner Betty Buckley

Rex sang “This Is The Moment” (from the musical Jekyl & Hyde) as some of his videos from Confessions were being shown on the big over head screen behind him. He sang great with such enthusiasm and his BIG voice – he was perfect. A guy sitting at my table said “I didn’t know how well Rex Smith could sing” : I said “OH THE MAN CAN SING ALRIGHT!” Rex actually got a standing ovation ( by me of course) and another guy at my table – along with some others in the room, but the applause went on for what seemed a very long time – after Rex sang the MC concluded the evening and thanked everyone for coming andhoped everyone enjoyed the evening. Then there was no way for me to get to Rex he was mobbed (politely) with tons of people wanting to talk to him and take pictures with him. Rex was such a gentleman – he spoke to everyone, signed autographs, and continued to take pictures for a long time. Music was playing and people started to dance. Then the crowd started to dwindle out and I saw Rex and Brandon leave the stage and run up the aisle and looked like they were leaving and said they would be right back . That’s when I was able to talk to Lailina and next thing I saw, about 20 minutes later in the back of the Stage, was Rex at the bar talking to more people who had formed a new long line to talk to him and take more pictures with him – that was basically when I waited to talk to him and said good night and he thanked me for coming and to “Keep Showing up” – I said “OK my friend, No Problem”.

Lucille G.

Member of Rex Smith Fan Club

Beyond The Construction

August 14th, 2014 by admin

Currently around its midpoint, the first phase of the Shubert Theater renovation project is in full swing. However, there is more than just your typical construction going on. Some of the unique murals created and signed by the casts that have performed at the Shubert Theatre have been carefully removed from the walls. shay and rob graffiti photoWhy? Because some individuals felt that they needed to be saved! When Shubert Board Member Shay Atluru of DTC and Rob Bolduc of Boldwood Interiors approached Sheri Kaplan, the Shubert Theatre’s General Manager, with their idea, she immediately agreed and was invaluable in brainstorming ways to save these important snapshots of history. She saw the importance of saving these murals and was beyond helpful in rescuing them. If left on the walls, the beautiful murals would be destroyed by the renovation efforts taking place at the Shubert. Some of these works of art date back to the 60’s, complete with signatures of every cast member. This salvation process was made difficult by the fact that these murals were not created on material then pasted on the wall, but rather created right on walls, stairwells, doorways and any other imaginable space. This required precise work that was perfectly executed by Rob and overseen by Sheri. Their dedication and commitment to this is truly an inspiration.

Photo of Rob Bolduc with some of the newly removed murals

Guest Blogger

Shay Atluru, Shubert Board Member

President & Corporate General Manager, Diversified Technology Consultants (DTC)

Meet the Shubert Blog Writers – Ian Galligan

June 24th, 2014 by admin

The Shubert Theatre blog will feature articles from staff and guest writers covering a variety of Shubert topics. Instead of the standard writer biography, we thought our readers would enjoy learning some non-traditional fun facts about our contributing writers.   We hope you enjoy the Shubert blog experience — happy reading!

Name:  Ian Galligan


Official Occupation/Company: Operations Assistant (aka jack of all trades) – CAPA/Shubert Theatre

Favorite Restaurant in New Haven?  Miya’s SushiIan


Favorite Pizza place in New Haven?  Modern, hands down!


Favorite Pizza to get at your favorite place?  Eggplant… and now I’m starving. Thanks!


Hobbies/Interests?  Theatre, Directing, Performing


Sports/ Sports Teams?  I don’t understand the question…


Vacation Spot?  Any spot where you can be neck-deep in the ocean and still clearly see your feet!! A tiki bar is also a plus.


Dunkin or Starbucks?  Dunkin for hot coffee, Starbucks for iced… not sure why.


Nicknames you have, why?  Given my short, 3-letter name, none, really. One professor in college called me “E”, and it just made me think he was lazy. Come on, it’s ONE more syllable!


Interesting facts about you that people might not know?  I was born two weeks early, after my mother got hit in the head by Fuzzy Zoeller’s golf ball at the Greater Hartford Open (now the Travelers Championship) and went into labor. I was on the cover of all the papers and dubbed “The GHO Baby” by Al Terzi. That’s right, kids… making headlines at 2 days old.


If you could have one famous person narrate your life, who and why?  Maggie Smith – but she’d have to do it as the Dowager Countess from Downton Abbey. Otherwise, Vincent Price.


What living celebrity do you most look like? i.e.? who would play you in a Movie of the week?  I’ve been told I’m a dead ringer for a young Jerry Lewis (not sure he could play me… but I could play him! Any producers out there looking to do The Jerry Lewis Story??)


Name a fictional character (think Marvel comic heroes, super hero, Disney character, etc) you would be? Peter Pan… he can fly and gets to pay kid prices for the rest of his life. No brainer.


203 or 860?  Born & raised in the 203, and still rockin’ it.


If you had to write a twitter post about yourself (140 characters or less) what would it say? Without wonder and insight, acting is just a business. With it, it becomes creation.


If you were “trending” on twitter, what would be your #hashtag? #organizedchaos


Beverage/cocktail of choice?  Can’t go wrong with a nice Pinot Grigio… but I love a good Margarita!!


Favorite New Haven place to meet a friend for a drink? Geronimo


Favorite summer activity in New Haven? Preferably something air conditioned…