(1) Commercial Appeal
(2) Operating Costs
(3) Artistic Merit
(4) Investor Interest
Each day this week, I will cover one topic and, using well known examples, explain how my thought process would work in evaluating a property.
It is so important to produce and/or invest in works that you love and can be proud of. To produce is to balance the business with the creative. Well-known producer David Stone (Next to Normal, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Wicked) said, “Every time I thought I knew how to create a hit, I failed. But every time I produced out of love, I had a hit.”
When evaluating a work for its artistic merit, I often look at a few specific areas:
1. Material and Creators: Good composers/lyricists/playwrights more often than not write good plays and musicals. The best theater starts with great texts. Some of my favorites include: Christopher Durang, George and Ira Gershwin, John Guare, Kaufman and Hart, Tracy Letts, Eugene O’Neill, Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hart, William Saroyan, Tennessee Williams, etc.
2. Directors and Creative Teams: Good material will be elevated by a strong director and his or her creative team. Whether a traditional revival or new, innovative premiere, the best creative teams interpret works in intelligent, exciting, and insightful ways. How a story is told is as important as what story is being told. Some of the best working in the theater today include: Nicholas Hytner, Kathleen Marshall, Diane Paulus, Bartlett Sher, Susan Stroman, Daniel Sullivan, Michael Wilson, etc.
3. Actors: As the famous saying goes “90% of directing is in casting and the remaining 10% is fixing your casting mistakes.”
When all three of these elements come together, you have a show to be proud of and one that both critics and audiences will hopefully want to see.