Singers Key Notes Creativity and Courage
Ken Davenport, the young man the NY Times has dubbed the P.T. Barnum of Off-Broadway, was my guest on Singers Key Notes this week. As a result, I am confident that Broadway will not only survive but thrive because we have this brilliant young man leading the way.
Ken is an innovator. He has unbridled creativity. He lives and works in the moment and uses technology to build his shows, the audience and the buzz necessary for a long-running show.
Not only is he the only producer with three shows running off-Broadway at the same time The Awesome 80s Prom, Altar Boyz and My First Time but they have all recouped their investment, grossing a total of $30 million worldwide. Combined, his productions have grossed more than $ 100 million worldwide and are being produced internationally in 25 countries including Germany, Mexico, France, and Korea.
Financial success Off-Broadway is a feat in itself. Financial success in a major worldwide recession is monumental. How does he do it?
First of all, he's been in the theater all his life from childhood actor to NYU to general manager on several Broadway shows. Ken spent 10 yrs working backstage to prepare himself for the role of producer. None of this success was due to luck. It's a lot of hard work and years of learning the ropes and a willing and relentless spirit.
Also, and this is the piece of the puzzle for our discussion today. Ken Davenport, has the creativity and the courage to use it, wrote and directed My First Time, the first-ever Theatre 2.0 Ken set up a website, and asked its users to tell about their first time stories. All the words in My First Time as from real people who shared their stories on the website. Ken then crafted their words into the show we now see.
Ken is creator, crafter, actor, director, PR guy, producer, you name it, he does it! I questioned him about playing all these rolls in his business and how he gained experience in all these areas. His answer was wise beyond his 38 years.
To paraphrase, Ken said that you'll never be ready to take on a task until you actually do it. Will you always be successful? Maybe not. But if you don't ever try, then you have no chance of succeeding. This does not mean that you should produce a Broadway play your first time out, but produce a high school musical, get involved, stretch your wings and learn.
Nike is right: Just do it!