One of the biggest challenges in producing theater on any scale is to fill a house with people paying the "right" price. Producers want to maximize revenue. Audiences want to be entertained for a price that keeps the entertainment enjoyable.
Over the summer, I aim on developing the skillset to determine the perfect price point for shows so that houses are at 100% capacity with audiences that are paying prices they are most comfortable with. Revenue is maximized, producers can make more shows, actors + creative team have more jobs, and the industry grows!
Financial services already use these technologies. So do airlines, hotels, Facebook, Google, and Amazon. Let's use data science in Broadway!
I am most enthused by Kevin R. Williams's study from Yale: "Dynamic Airline Pricing and Seat Availability." Similarly Ian Boneysteele, Konstantine Buhler, James Kernochan, Mike Mester, and Soren Sudhof study at Stanford: "Forecasting Broadway Show Gross Revenue."
Wish me luck as I begin this next stage of my journey!
Boneysteele I., Buhler K., Kernochan, J., Mester M., Sudhof S. (2016). Forecasting Broadway Show Gross Revenue. [online] Stanford School of Business. Available at http://zoo.cs.yale.edu/classes/cs458/lectures/old/Broadway/Final%20report%20vF.pdf [Accessed 18 Jun. 2018].
Steinmetz, J. (2016). Exploring Broadway Data in Tableau | InterWorks. [online] InterWorks. Available at: https://interworks.com/blog/jsteinmetz/2016/08/03/exploring-broadway-data-tableau/ [Accessed 18 Jun. 2018].
Williams, K. R. (2017). Dynamic airline pricing and seat availability. Yale School of Management; Yale University - Cowles Foundation
Sorry for the late update! With the Jewish holidays, things have been particularly busy at this moment. I'm therefore "checking in" for this month instead of my usual longer update.
My play MAGIC is coming along smoothly, SOCIOPATH ROOMMATE is too, internship at National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene is great, I started a producer class at TRU (Theater Resources Unlimited) where I'll be learning a lot for the next 11 months, and I hosted a cold reading series at The Artist Co-Op.
Media: I was quoted in an article about faith in modern orthodoxy: Faith and Doubt Among Young Modern Orthodox.
You'll have a warmer update from me next month. Chag Sameach! (Happy holidays!)
This past August got off to a fast start and continued at an even faster pace.
The first Sunday of the month was the sold out gala for MAGIC? The event included a brilliant music performance (Kelly, Marcel and David), delicious snacks including cupcakes by Chloe’s, a superb bar (by Chelsea Davis), our actors, and a dazzling view. Amazing photographers Emily Chan and Amy Marin captured it all. View Emily’s here. View Amy’s here.
The success you see in the photos is owed to the supportive and generous attendees who came to the gala – thank you to all those who took the time to show support for my, Kelly and Christopher’s work. Also, thank you to the cast, musicians, volunteers, and hosts who formed the large yet seamless staff.
August’s gala gave us more than great photos: it raised the funds to make a deposit for a theater! That’s right, MAGIC? will be happening mid-February in midtown Manhattan (more details to follow at a later time).
Along with the financial progress of the show, Christopher and I have begun revising the script, which needs a rewrite. Kelly has begun composing the music as well. This revision will be an enormous effort: about 75 pages, which, given the complexity of writing rhymed, metered drama, will take our team about two hours per page – an estimated 150 hours for this revision, alone. Nonetheless, Christopher and I will persist and complete the next draft of MAGIC? before long!
I’ve also developed a new play, SOCIOPATH ROOMMATE, which I started writing last month. I had a table read mid-August and got some great feedback, which I’ve included in a revision. For the meantime, I’m going to let this draft “marinate” while I focus on revising MAGIC? It feels good to have completed something (complete at least for now – scripts are rarely “finished”).
In other news, I’ve begun interning at National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene – the major Off-Broadway production company behind AMERIKE THE GOLDEN LAND. Their calendar is packed with high quality events and shows, so there’s always something happening. Working with their production team is an incredibly meaningful experience – and highly educational, as well.
Speaking of educational experiences, I’ve reviewed A KREUTZER SONATA; check it out here: LINK.
Almost lastly, I’m taking a breather from Write the Night. While the project was incredibly fulfilling, it had begun to demand a larger commitment from me – preventing me from focusing as much as I’d like on production. Other opportunities, better aligned with my goals, have presented themselves. The trick with working on several projects at once, is to monitor which are succeeding, which need work, and which to put on hold. Write the Night falls into the last category.
Actually lastly, thank you to the 44 people who donated to MAGIC?
Until next month… Cheers!
“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”
Most of what I did this past month could fall into the category of preparation. My biggest aim as of lately is getting my show MAGIC to an Off-Broadway stage. To accomplish this, my collaborators Christopher Erlendson, Kelly Catlin, and I are producing a showcase production for industry professionals. To accomplish this, we are fundraising – a vital step in preparing for our venture.
For those that received a phone call or text message with an exuberant request for a donation, you’ve already heard why fundraising is vital for a project like MAGIC?. Because our goal for the show to garner investors and create a commercially viable product, raising pre-investment capital allows for a higher value product and can potentially bring in more investments later. Alexander Graham Bells’ quote above, regarding preparation, has significance in this respect – that a successful production requires much preparation, the first being an extra push at its beginning.
I must thank those who recognized the importance of this moment and donated in our first month of efforts. A special thank you to our “Magician level” donors: Christine Catlin, Cindy Vail, Dasi Gobioff, Emma Lieberman, Izzy Gilden, Jons Besch, Justin Niederman, Larry Rinkel, Liam Unger, Mordy Siegel, Soloman Rosenzweig, Zoe Laidlaw. A special thank you to our general donors: Adam Orlow, Baila Kornbluth, Ben Grodensky, Chaim Gluck, Chavie Fleisher, Ethan Scheinberg, Jacqueline Legazcu, Jake Cohen, Kara Cutruzzula, Marc Gerstein, Michael Guggenheim, Michael Halpern, Michael Wilhelm, Michael Ziegler, Moshe & Ilona Bressler, Nosson Warman, Rache Shadruz, Sam Weinberger, Samuel Boland, Stefanie Amanda Lai, Yisroel Pupko, Yonah Danzig, Yoni Akerman.
Thanks to the gallant people above, our project has been able to raise almost $3,000! This is enough money for us to put down a deposit on a theater space and begin planning our November production. You can still donate and add your name to this list of brilliant supporters. Funds would go towards marketing costs, specifically high quality graphic design and online distribution. Consider contributing here.
To supplement and celebrate our fundraiser, Christopher, Kelly, and I are hosting a fundraiser gala to raise money and awareness for the project. The event will take place on a rooftop in the West Village with a 360° view of the Manhattan skyline and will feature live music from the show composed by Kelly, an open bar with the talented mixologist Chelsea Davis, delicious vegan cupcakes from Sweets by Chloe, a diverse vegetable spread, professional photographers Emily Chan and Amy Marin, and more! It’s not surprising our gala quickly sold out. Stay tuned on social media for a livestream and photos of the event!
In other less exciting news, I’ve begun writing a new play – for the fun of it. It’s titled SOCIOPATH ROOMMATE where living with a sociopath is a dark comedy. The story centers around three adults with different mild (or so they appear) mental illness living together in NYC. Friction ensues when their internal struggles boil over onto each other forcing these roommates to confront both their own and each other’s mental illnesses or terminate their lease and find new places to live. The theme I attempt to address is the positive aspect of being communicative and transparent about one’s struggles. Also, that some people are dangerous to live with.
I’ve also started writing reviews (I call them analysis) for some shows I’ve seen and had strong reactions to. This past month I’ve reviewed 1984 on Broadway and AMERIKE THE GOLDEN LAND Off-Broadway. You can read my reviews here LINK.
Write the Night is continuing well. With help from Dana Espinosa, WTN has expanded to include an advanced writers workshop. Our feedback, via questionnaires, proves this workshop to be highly popular, so we will be including more of these in the future. Attend one, bring material from a project you’re working on, get feedback from other writers, and grow! Next workshop is August 22nd, click here to register.
Until next month… Cheers!