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What Is Theater

What Is Theater



Trying to describe theatre to MBA students

Trying to describe theatre to MBA students



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  • AEA – Actors’ Equity Association48,000 membersActors and Stage ManagersSDC – Stage Directors and Choreographers Society2,400 membersDirectors and ChoreographersIATSE – International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees110,000 membersalmost all Scenic Costume, Lighting, and Sound Designerson Broadway and in larger regional theatres Stagehands and Stage Carpenters
  • Touring companies travel the country, performing for days or weeks in a particular city. Sometimes a second company of a show will open for an unlimited run in another city.4-6 mainstage. Depends on # of venues.
  • $377.7million) impacted to New York City,On average, Broadway tours contributed an economic impact of three times the gross ticket sales to the local metropolitan area’s economy.
  • compared to only 22% of Americans overall.

What Is Theater What Is Theater Presentation Transcript

  • What is Theater?
    Devon Smith, Meghan Pressman & Michael Barker
  • Managers in the Theatre (or what the heck is a theatre manager?)
    Stage Manager
    Box Office/House Manager
    Technical/Production Manager
    Marketing Manager/Director
    Development Manager/Director
    Business Manager
    Theater Managers
    General Manager
    Executive/Managing Director
    Producing Director
    Believe it or not, but all of these jobs are different.
  • Here’s where we talk about ourselves a little
    General Managers
    Day to day operations (budgets, contracts, HR, etc)
    Internal management
    Managing Directors
    Business leader of the organization (CEO!)
    Internal and external management
    Interaction with boards and donors
    Producing Directors
    Often work without an artistic leader
    Art and business decisions
  • All Broadway theatres are on Broadway…right?
    40 theatres, each with 500-2,000 seats, located between 40th & 54th Streets and 6th & 9th Avenues
  • Broadway Economics
  • Fun with Charts and Graphs
  • How a Broadway Play is made
    Case: In the Heights
  • An independent producer (Kevin McCollum) finds a:
    • property to develop
    • play to produce (In the Heights)
    • production to transfer
    Producer ensures that production is ready for Broadway
    2000: In the Heights is written
    2004: Jill Furman sees a reading ITH in the basement of the Drama Bookshop, brings it to the attention of Kevin McCollum & Jeffrey Sellers at The Producing Office
    2005: ITH is workshopped at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre
    2007: ITH begins off-Broadway run at 37 Arts Theatre
    2008: ITH opens on Broadway
  • Where the $$ Comes From
    Producer finds investors ($2-$20M)
    • Sander Jacobs (businessman)
    • Robyn Goodman/Walt Grossman (theatre producer)
    • Peter Fine (real estate developer)
    • Sonny Everett & Mike Skipper (insurance salesman)
    • Ruth Hendel(wife of investment banker)
    • Harold Newman (oilman, grew up in WaHeights)
    Producer hires:
    • General Manager to run the business
    • Casting Agent to find actors, musicians
    • Director, Choreographer, Conductor
    • Designers (scenic, costume, sound, lights, video, props)
    • Press Agent to manage publicity
    • Advertising Agent to manage marketing and advertising
  • Producer contacts theatre owner (Nederlander) to arrange a long-term lease. Theatre owner takes a flat fee per week or a percentage of the gross. May opt to invest as a co-producer.
    Theatre owner hires:
    • Stage hands (to build set, hang lights & sound & video, run show backstage)
    • House Manager and ushers
    • Run is open ended (94 weeks so far)
    • Cast recording is produced and released (debuts #1, wins a Grammy)
    • Nominated for 13 Tony awards
    • Universal Pictures acquires motion picture rights
    • Original cast begins to leave production
    • National tour announced for 12 US cities
    Quick Math
    • $10 M capitalization
    • $500K weekly running costs
    • 94 weeks running
    • $70 M total grosses
    • Operating Profit = $13M and counting
  • Issues in the field
    • Unions (STRIKE!)
    • Rising production costs (aka: how the film industry mentality is killing Broadway)
    • Premium ticket prices ($300!)
    • Lack of investment capital (economic recession what?)
    • Non profits on Broadway
    (no fair!)
    • Film stars on stage (or how to get street cred)
  • The future of Broadway
    Increased consolidation
    Fewer original properties
    Decline of unions
  • Random Facts
    • Longest running show: The Phantom of the Opera premiered January 3, 1988. It has grossed $750 million and sold 13.5 M tickets.
    • Highest returns: Producers of Wicked invested $14 million in 2003, the production has grossed $1.5 billion worldwide.
    • Most $$ production: Spider-Man, Turn off the Dark $52 million
  • Those lovable unions!
  • Definition of Regional Theatre
    • Almost 500 members of Theatre Communications Group (TCG)
    • 76 members of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT)
    • At least a few hundred others
    • Generally not New York City (although there are exceptions)
  • Some Context
    Little Theatre Movement – 1920s & 30s
    Ford Foundation as Johnny Appleseed
    Regional Theatre was about what it’s not
    • Not New York
    • Not Commercial
    • Not Presenting
    Regional Theatre has come to mean
    • Based in the community
    • Nonprofit
    • (Mostly) Producing
    • Mission-based
    • Broadway feeder team?
  • Regional Theatre economics
    nonprofit theatre is big business! (well, business anyway)
  • Case Study: Goodman Theatre
    Chicago, IL
  • The Skinny
    Founded in 1925 as a division of the Art Institute of Chicago
    Moved to the Loop location in 2000
    Stable executive leadership in Roche Shulfer and Bob Falls
    Artistic Collective comprised of 6 directors
    Expenses of $19mm; Assets of $80mm
    Albert theater (856 seats); Owen theater (374-468 seats)
    Eleven productions per year
  • By the numbers
    The mix...
    The magic...
  • Mission
    Goodman Theatre, Chicago’s oldest and largest not-for-profit theater, has won international renown for the quality of productions, the depth and diversity of artistic leadership, and the excellence of its many community and educational programs. Under the guidance of Artistic Director Robert Falls and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, the Goodman is committed to producing both classic and contemporary works, giving full voice to a wide range of artists and visions. Central to that mission is the Goodman Artistic Collective, a diverse group of outstanding theater artists whose distinctive visions have given the Goodman an artistic identity of uncommon richness and variety. By dedicating itself to three guiding principles—quality, diversity, and community—Goodman Theatre seeks to be the premier cultural organization in Chicago, providing productions and programs that make an essential contribution to the quality of life in our city.
  • The Art
  • The future of regional theatre
    Decline of Unions
    Dwindling (?) subscriber base
    Aging (?) audiences
    Consolidation & Expansion
    Boise ain’t Chicago!
    Commercial cooperation (enhancement)
  • Performing Arts Presenters
    • Primarilypresent other people’s work such as:
    • Broadway tours (musicals and plays)
    • Dance
    • Family shows
    • Cabaret and one man shows
    • Music
    • Association of Performing Art Presenters
    •  1900+ members, 60% of members are presenters
    • Performing Art Centers
    • Community Theatres
    • Regional Theatres
    • Universities
  • Case Study:
    Orange County Performing Arts Center
    Orange County, CA
  • Organizational Structure
    Orange County Performing Arts Center
    1 concert hall (seats 1,704), includes pipe organ
    1 theater (flexible seating from 300-600)
    1 opera style house with 3 tiers (seats 2,994)
    1 performance hall (seats 230-270)
    1 outdoor plaza (seats 500-2000)
    Also a café and an education center
    Resident companies:
    Pacific Symphony, Philharmonic Society of Orange County, Pacific Chorale
  • The Numbers
    Orange County Performing Arts Center
    Fixed assets worth 340 million
    Investments of 183 million (incl 35mm endowment)
    (FY 2009 showed a overall 5.6mm loss in investments)
  • The Season
    OCPAC 2009-2010 Season
    113 different events spanning 365 performances days
  • Where the work comes from
    Scouted by the presenting organization at another venue, a conference, grapevine
    Submitted by creator of the piece
    Packaged by an outside party
    Created by an “in house” partner organization
    Created by the presenting organization
  • Back to Bway: Touring Economics
    2008-2009 Season
    Approximately 100 shows in over 250 cities
    $883 million
    14+ million tickets
    Cumulative economic impact spending:
    $3.25 billion on metropolitan areas across the United States during the 2004–2005 season
    (an average of 3x the gross ticket sales)
  • Who attends?
    2008-2009 Season
    Women represent 70% of audience and 73% of buyers
    Average theatergoer attends 6 shows per year
    Average theatergoer age was 50 years old
    Vast majority of theatergoers were Caucasian
    73% held a college degree and
    41% held a graduate degree
    43% of national theatergoers reported an annual household income of more than $112,300
  • Future Present(ers)
    Audience Demographics
    Aging Audience
    “My audiences have gone up significantly, my income has gone down.”
    Decline of Effectiveness of Traditional Media
    The negative effects of “mission light” presenting houses
    Increased Presenting Costs = Higher Prices and Higher Risk
    Significant Decline Among Traditional Presentation Genres Like Classical Music
    Increased Competition to Buy as Well as to Sell
  • But wait, there’s more!
    small theatres
    community theatre
    culturally specific
  • Questions?