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Dec 18, 2019

Tony Award-winning Broadway producer, writer, and artrepreneur, Ken Davenport, stopped by this week to talk with me about what it takes to consistently create hit musical theatre, his passion for storytelling, and lessons on today's business of Broadway.

“I'm on a mission to help 5000 shows get produced by 2025.” – Ken Davenport

Over his storied career Mr. Davenport has had multiple Tony Award wins and nominations for his productions including 2018's Best Revival of a Musical for Once on This Island.

His lengthy list of credits also includes The Play That Goes Wrong, Groundhog Day (Tony nomination), Awakening (Tony nomination), Macbeth starring Alan Cumming, Godspell, Kinky Boots (Broadway – Tony Award, National Tour, Toronto and West End), The Visit (Tony nomination), Mothers and Sons (Tony nomination), The Bridges of Madison County, Chinglish, Oleanna starring Bill Pullman and Julia Stiles, and Will Ferrell’s You’re Welcome America, to name only a few.

Ken is a co-founder of TEDxBroadway whose productions have been produced internationally in over 25 countries and his one-of-a-kind production and marketing savvy have been featured in the New York Times, MSNBC, Fox News, BBC and even Jay Leno's "Tonight Show" monologue.

His blog and podcast about the business of Broadway – TheProducersPerspective.com – have also been featured in Vanity Fair, New York Magazine, and The Gothamist and he's written several books including How to Succeed in the Arts . . . or in Anything, and How to Write a Script in 30 Days.

NOTE: This episode is marked explicit because we say a word that means "poop" a few times, as my daughter pointed out.

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In this file Ken Davenport and I discussed:

  • Why theatre is the original storytelling medium
  • Secrets behind the intensely collaborative, NASCAR-like process to making a hit
  • How creating a musical is like getting 17 people to recreate the Mona Lisa
  • The power of deadlines and the greatest challenge of capturing an audience's attention
  • Why ideas are worth nothing without a sh*tty first draft
  • And advice and free resources for writers who want to break into Broadway

Show Notes: