Event Details
  • November Panel: Understanding Off-Broadway
    November 14, 2017
    7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Understanding Off-Broadway: Defining and Achieving Success
Tuesday, November 14th
Actors Temple Theatre, 339 W. 47th Street
 
Speakers to include Peter Breger, entertainment attorney and chairman of the Off-Broadway Alliance; Charlotte Cohn, actress/writer/producer (Church and State, Handle with Care, Rated P for Parenthood);  Jack Cummings III, founding artistic director of the Obie Award winning Transport Group (Strange InterludeInge in Rep, Lysistrata Jones, Once Upon a Mattress, The Audience, Normal); William Franzblau, producer (Sistas, This One's for the Girls, Evil Dead the musical, ILuminate, Jewtopia); Ed Gaynes, owner/manager of St. Luke's Thatre and The Actors Temple; Meredith Lucio, producer (Tony award winning Porgy and Bess, Rooms: a rock romance, The 39 Steps, Bedlam Theatre's St. Joan/Hamlet; upcoming: Absolutely Filthy).
 
Off-Broadway was born in the 1950's as an alternative to the commercialism of Broadway, and a more affordable means of getting works (and artists) seen. In July, we looked at the challenges presented by the economic realities of today's off-Broadway. Most of us are well aware of the difficulty of financially maintaining a show in the current economic environment. Perhaps we need to re-evaluate the purpose of off-Broadway. In this much-requested follow-up panel, we will focus more closely on producing models that are working, as well as examine how to best use the 100 to 499-seat theater presentations as part of a development plan, or as a way to increase visibility for your theater company. We will include the periodic performance model and the cross-promotional opportunities they offer, strategies for front-loading audience through limited runs, and consider how not-for-profit companies work and thrive within the off-Broadway paradigm.  Are there still ways to make use of this essential component of our theater culture? Can it provide a useful step in a development plan for new works, and a fertile ground for creating important works of theater? And who is the off-Broadway audience?  
 
Doors open at 7:00pm for networking and refreshments, roundtable introductions of everyone in the room will start at 7:30pm - come prepared with your best one-minute summary of who you are, and what you need. Free for TRU members; $12.50 for non-members in advance ($15 at door), free for TRU.  Please use the bright red reservation box on this page, or call at least a day in advance (or much sooner) for reservations: 212-714-7628; or e-mail  TRUStaff1@gmail.com 
Panelists
  • PETER BREGER

    is an entertainment attorney who has represented theatre and film producers, investors, commercial and non-profit theatres, writers, directors, and performers for over twenty-five years. He is a Tony-Nominated producer of Broadway, Off-Broadway and Regional Theatre. He owned and operated The Actors’ Playhouse, an Off Broadway theatre in Greenwich Village, New York for 12 years. Mr. Breger is a founding Director and the President of the Off-Broadway Alliance (OBA), a non-profit corporation organized by theatre professionals dedicated to supporting, promoting and encouraging production, and to making live theater increasingly accessible to new and diverse audiences. OBA operates the 20at20 program, which cooperates with Off Broadway theatres and producers to make $20 tickets available for dozens of Off Broadway shows for two twenty-day periods each year. It also sponsors the OBA Seminar Series focusing on the culture, business and history of Off Broadway. It created the Off Broadway Economic Impact Report, which details Off Broadway's over $500 million annual impact on the economy of the City of New York. And it presents the annual Off Broadway Alliance Awards, presenting honors for best work of the season.

  • CHARLOTTE COHN

    is a producer, director and actor. She recently produced the Off-Broadway hit Church & State by Jason Odell Williams which was nominated for BEST NEW PLAY by the Off-Broadway Alliance. There are already 10 regional productions scheduled for the 2017-18 season, including a production at The Berkshire Theatre Festival, which Charlotte will direct. Other directing credits include Baltimore in Black & White at The Cell Theatre, Emancipation at The United Solo Festival at Theatre Row, and the upcoming one-act play Dog Park at the Stage Door Playwrights Festival in Irvington, NY. Charlotte was a lead producer on Jason Odell Williams’ Handle With Care which was a New York Times Critics’ Pick, ran for over 100 performances Off-Broadway starring Carol Lawrence, and has been produced 21 times in the last five years in the U.S. and Canada. Charlotte was a co-producer on Rated P For Parenthood at The Westside Theatre and she is a founding producer of the New York Music Theatre Festival (NYMF) and Main Street Musicals. As an actor, performing highlights include Baz Luhrmann’s La Boheme (Broadway, Ahmanson), Coram Boy (Broadway), and Happy End (A.C.T., BATTC Award Nominee, Best Leading Actress in a Musical). Charlotte offers a ‘Page to Stage’ seminar giving artists a step-by-step guide to producing new work.

  • WILLIAM FRANZBLAU

    created and produced the Tony Nominated Best Play Say Goodnight Gracie, Produced David Mamet’s American Buffalo on Broadway, and the tour of Little House on the Prairie the Musical starring Melissa Gilbert. He also served as the Executive and Lead Producer for Broadway’s Wonderland. He licensed and produced the off-Braodway shows, SISTAS the Musical (recently shot and broadcast on BET, now in its sixth year off Broadway) Jewtopia, Evil Dead the Musical, the male intellect: an oxymoron, Respect and ILuminate (America’s Got Talent Finalist) while developing several Broadway shows including Paramount’s Crazy People and the new Rupert Holmes play, Kennedy/Reagan. He currently is Producing and Co-Directing Rocktopia for the 2016 PBS National Pledge Broadcast with a 2017 tour. As Chief Executive Officer of the high technology company, KATrix Inc. he created strategic alliances with the Walt Disney Company, Microsoft Corporation, MGM and the Intel Corporation. In the early nineties, Mr. Franzblau co-founded Interfilm Inc., a publicly traded company combining interactive technologies with cinematic art. He was the driving force in putting together an $18 million initial public offering underwritten by Smith Barney and subsequently facilitated the sale of the company via a reverse triangular merger with Palatin Technologies, Inc. From 1990 through 1992 Mr. Franzblau served as producer of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles touring show, a 21-month tour involving 500 appearances in 200 cities and 10 countries, for which he managed all aspects of the business development and operations. The tours grossed over $60 million in sponsorships, ticket sales and merchandising as well as spinning off a double platinum record and a national pay-per-view. Previous to the above Mr. Franzblau served as Executive Producer of three tours of the Moscow Circus on Broadway and North America and produced the touring productions of BEATLEMANIA.

  • ED GAYNES

    As a theatre producer, Mr. Gaynes’ Off-Broadway productions include the current hit Black Angels Over Tuskegee (6 years), the recent long-running productions of Zero Hour (Drama Desk Award), The Devil’s Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith (Drama Desk and Lortel nominations), Danny and Sylvia: The Danny Kaye Musical, The Rise of Dorothy Hale, The Big Voice: God or Merman?, Cougar The Musical, Picon Pie, Emily Mann’s Annulla, Matty: An Evening with Christy Mathewson and Bein’ With Behan, which was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award. He produced the West Coast premieres of Marry Me a Little and Starting Here, Starting Now and has been nominated for four Ovation Awards, Los Angeles’ highest theatre honor. Mr. Gaynes also produced the National Tour of Gilligan’s Island: The Musical, which played coast to coast. He currently operates two Off-Broadway theatres in New York City: St. Luke’s Theatre and Actors Temple Theatre, as well as the Whitmore-Lindley Theatre Center, the Avery Schreiber Playhouse and the BrickHouse Theatre in Los Angeles. He has also produced throughout the country, with over forty productions in Los Angeles alone. He has also appeared as an actor in 13 Broadway and Off-Broadway shows including Best Foot Forward, in which he co-starred with Christopher Walken and Liza Minnelli and sang “Buckle Down, Winsocki” on the original cast album. This past year, Mr. Gaynes was presented with a “Legend of Off-Broadway” honor by the Off-Broadway Alliance at Sardi’s in New York City.

  • MEREDITH LUCIO

    made her Broadway producing debut with the TONY award-winning Best Revival of 2012, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess starring Audra McDonald, and Norm Lewis.  Other productions include the critically acclaimed Bedlam productions of Hamlet and Saint Joan (Best Revival, OBA), The 39 Steps (New World Stages) and Rooms: a rock romance. She was a member of the producing team of From Broadway with Love: a benefit for Sandy Hook. Meredith currently tours the country as a speaker and teacher ofProduce your Art Like it’s Your Business; a producing workshop she created specifically for artists and students (both young and old). She has served as a Program Director for the TRU’s Producer Development and Mentorship program, is an adjunct professor at Scottsdale Community College and has spoken at the Commercial Theatre Institute, the International Thespian Festival and The Educational Theatre Association National Conference about the business of producing. 

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