Tuesday, July 31, 2012

BFF's with a Broadway star

Excited doesn't begin to explain how I feel about our newest video!

At our first IN HOME EXCLUSIVE.  Broadway performers, Bret Shuford, Fred Rose and Gwendolyn Jones were stellar.  Jamibeth was our "Alex Trebec" for the trivia contest we customized specifically for the 15 guests in attendance.

The idea, is that we can connect one-on-one to new folks in a way that is fun, rubs elbows with eating, socializing and performing. And we alway customize the evening for the guests and host.  

Now we have 15 more "Loyal" followers because our performers are just so damned charming and talented.  Even though it was the night of a huge thunderstorm, each guest arrived excited and ready to meet Broadway talent face to face because they were truly theater fans.  No one dragged an uncooperative spouse.  We are not in the convincing business.  I don't need every single person on the planet to be a theater fan.  But for the ones who are.....

We cooked dinner together, ate, and then while we performed they also were up close and personal in a way that doesn't and can't happen at a theater.

Math quiz:  If you do 15 evenings like this a year with 15 guests and each one of those guests gives you permission to let them know about upcoming events plus two or three of the guest host their own Broadway IN HOME exclusive with 15 guests, at the end of the year how many tribe members who will be donors or audience members do you have?

And if they all feel they are a part of the "making of" your theater aren't they likely to tell others about you when you do a show?  If you reward them with something they find valuable for bringing a guest to a show, like more personal attention from the stars, dinner, front row seats, walk on roles, makeup session with your show makeup artists, aren't they likely to be motivated to bring a friend or two?

So at the end of year, how many new people do you know personally? Not just in your email data base.  How many have you met face to face?  How many have seen you smile or sing or heard about your mission?  

I am not so good at math, but why would anyone open a business/theater until they had done some of that work?

And just one more thing.  If you know a non profit that is doing this, creating good will, helping other non profits, mentoring, meeting important people that they can network to you as well, why wouldn't you want to be a part of the experience? Have your name attached. Partner up.

I think if you are smart, you would.

Who do you know who wants to be BFF's with a Broadway star?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

It's in the Presentation

Presentation is everything. No matter your talent level.  
Woe to the actor who thinks that just because she is supremely talented, that is enough to get her the job. Talk to enough casting directors and they will tell you much of the role is based on "look". From the way you walk in the door to the actual shoes on your feet.  The way you speak to the room monitor to the way you give instructions to your accompanist.  The way your resume is laid out to your headshot.  All of that matters just as much.   
Why is that surprising to anyone? We say it about food.  "Presentation is everything".  We say it about houses. "Curb Appeal".  
Apply this idea to a theater: If your theatre has an entry way that is boring.  Or that has worn carpet in the lobby.  Or if your receptionist sounds annoyed.  If the box office folks aren't friendly.  If your curtain speech is dull and unimaginative.  If your actors hide in their rooms or aren't friendly with folks after the show.   Your "presentation" suffers. 
It's not just the "show" that matters.  
And what is our first line of "presentation"?  Our marketing.  That is often the first thing folks see concerning our theaters.  If it's an email out of the blue from a company you didn't ask to hear from, sometimes, that is annoying.  In today's social media world, it's actually spam if I didn't ask to be on that list.  
It would be lovely to say it's the "ART that matters" and have that be effective.  But it's probably not going to be anymore. 
Seth Godin says: "The packaging, the service, the environment, the hours, the interactions, the way it feels to tell our friends--these are all the free prize."  "Free prizes inside" still sell if they are marketed correctly. 
Then when you have enticed your "tribe" and made them feel as if they have actually been a part of the "making of", you have a very loyal group of folks that are your best advertising.  Check out a little show called "American Idol" if you don't believe that.  
Go ahead. Spend a ton of money and time on mass marketing. Doing the same old things we have done for years.  Send out your flyers and mass emails. But it's those positive one-to one interactions that will build your company. Yes, it requires a bit of thought. Yes you have to have some face to face meetings.  A lot actually. And you must always be on your best behavior.  It can make you a bit of a control freak if you aren't already one. 
But if you can steer the way with a few tribe members who are also on the same wavelength, they will introduce you to more on that wavelength and you will continue to attract exactly the right folks to your organization. 
In your Presentation: Those interactions must have a very personal edge combined with a "prize inside" and an "enrolling" aspect. If you can commit to this idea you actually will be way ahead of the curve.  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Universe

I get "Tuts notes from the Universe"blog in my email every day (they are free) and today I had to share:

I might add:  You feel that every blog you regularly get applies to your project. And um...I actually do these things so...

Kristin, the top 10 signs a really huge dream of yours is about to come true, are:

10. You regularly visualize the end result, the after-party, or beyond.
9. Every day you "show up," doing something about it. 
8. You're not attached to how it will come true. 
7. It really matters to you; you really care. 
6. You know who the first 3 people are that
you'll call with the news. 
5. You're smiling and winking way more than normal. 
4. Sometimes you speak and behave as if it already has.
3. It probably doesn't depend upon specific people.
2. You already know what your next goal is.
1. You keep whispering, "Sweet! Thank you! Yes!" with clutched fist.

Sweet! Thank you! Yes!

    The Universe

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Now doesn't this just apply to every single person and adventure?

Risk, fear and worry- by Seth Godin

They're not the same.
Risk is all around us. When we encounter potential points of failure, we're face to face with risk. And nothing courts risk more than art, the desire to do something for the first time--to make a difference.
Fear is a natural reaction to risk. While risk is real and external, fear exists only in our imagination. Fear is the workout we give ourselves imagining what will happen if things don't work out.
And worry? Worry is the hard work of actively (and mentally) working against the fear. Worry is our effort to imagine every possible way to avoid the outcome that is causing us fear, and failing that, to survive the thing that we fear if it comes to fruition.
If you've persuaded yourself that risk is sufficient cause for fear, and that fear is sufficient cause for worry, you're in for some long nights and soon you'll abandon your art out of exhaustion. On the other hand, you can choose to see the three as completely separate phenomena, and realize that it's possible to have risk (a good thing) without delibilitating fear or its best friend, obsessive worry.
Separate first, eliminate false causation, then go ahead and do your best work.

Monday, July 23, 2012


This bears repeating.  If "space" is the issue, then you have two choices.  1. Give up and go home .  2.  Work around it.  Or maybe just ...."work around".  

Define "Theater" as more than just producing shows in a building that looks like a typical theater.

That is what we are doing right now.  Today's meeting with a local Museum Mansion went very well.  A Holiday show concept or series of shows is attractive in many ways to a place that wants to reach out to the community, be a part of a mentoring programing as well, entice some new corporate folks and get great PR for doing all of the above.

We have a proposal that has a twist which reflects our mission statement. We can customize it for each place.  We are a non profit so any money used to produce that is a write off.  We utilize Broadway performers in all that we do.  And many of us are educators with a lot of marketing sense to boot.

As an actor, if you wait around for Broadway and only audition for Broadway you may or may not make it there.  If you perform at dinner theatres, outdoor theatres and regional theatres while you are also trying to make it to Broadway, you get experience, develop your craft, and make a lot of connections.

We are building our "list" and our following day after day with our In Home events (the video is almost ready for me to share with you!) our corporate gigs, our convention gigs, and our special event programs.   We are producing "theater" even if it's not in a building called a Theater yet.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Modeling good behavior part 1

Thursday night's "Modeling good behavior" with the Haborpoint community in Stamford was a huge success!  The night was gorgeous. The models from Miss CT http://www.missctamerica.org/  and from CT fashion Week  www.ctfashionweek.org were stunning and so gracious.

There were about 200 guests who enjoyed watching the young women arrive on the Soundwaters boat http://soundwaters.org/ and then parade up the ramps to "walk the runway" for the appreciative crowd.

NPT coordinated with Building and Land Technology's Marketing Director, TJ White and Event director, Carla Catanzaro, to produce the evening at their series, "On The Rocks".  Live band, Merlin, 
added to the fun by playing ZZ Top's "She's got Legs" and other sassy, girly songs. 

The idea was that Nonprofits can work together and help each other in combination with a corporation like
 BLT that has just developed this beautiful waterfront area.

I contacted some photographers (there were about 20) there to play the part of "paparazzi" and they got some 
outstanding shots that could be used as marketing tools for any of the organizations listed above.  

Here is one link that the photographers are posting their shots to: 

And then Janet Zimmer (one of our board member's wives) has this link to her shots.  Gorgeous.

I will also attach a few of my favorites from the above.  I mean, come on!  Doesn't this look like the best party that you wish you had attended!  We "staged" it, we were all playing "parts" and it was entertaining.  That, in my book, qualifies as "Theater".  

Part 2 of this post will be expanding on that thought....

Pictures from the gig (if you can't see them come back to the actual blog site) www.theatreringleader.blogspot.com 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

On the Rocks!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (we are producing this one and MCing) 

PIctures and video will surely follow !!!
Hits one of our big themes "nonprofits working together to help each other".

Harbor Point to Host Latest Event of “On the Rocks” Series on July 19th

An Evening of Fun Will Combine the Efforts of 3 Non-Profits and Feature Live Music by Classic Rock Band Merlin plus a Fashion Show with Miss Connecticut Pageant Contestants

Stamford, CT (July 18, 2012) – Harbor Point will host the latest in its weekly summer series of “On the Rocks” outdoor events on Thursday, July 19th. Open to residents and business tenants of the Harbor Point community, the event was announced by Carl Kuehner III, CEO of Building and Land Technology, the developer of Harbor Point. 

In the picturesque backdrop of Stamford’s South End waterfront, the evening’s activities will take place from 5:30 to 8:00 PM on the boardwalk at the North Marina. Combining the efforts of three non-profit organizations, the entertainment will headline a live concert by locally based, classic rock band Merlin as well as a fashion show featuring contestants from the Miss Connecticut pageant and models from Connecticut Fashion Week. 

Making their entrance in style, models for the fashion show will arrive by water, cruising in aboard the majestic Schooner SoundWaters, an 80-foot replica of a Chesapeake Bay sharpie schooner, which will dock right at the Harbor Point North Marina. The vessel is the centerpiece of youth education programs offered by Stamford-based SoundWaters, a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching students about the wonders and beauty of Long Island Sound.

Models for the fashion show will feature Miss Connecticut 2011, Morgan Amarone, as well as the reigning Miss Capital Region, Miss Greater Waterbury, Miss Tolland County, Miss Mountain Laurel, and many others. The show is being organized and emceed by The New Paradigm Theater Company, a non-profit company run by Broadway theatre professionals who mentor participants in theater production and performance.

During the show, Merlin musicians Bob Capazzo, Mario Maxeiner, Josh Ramirez, Dave Bachenheimer and Australian recording Artist, Aidan Nolan will perform favorite, danceable hits of all the decades from the 1960’s to the present. Refreshments for the event will be provided by Corporate Culinary.

The evening’s entertainment will provide the added benefit of increased exposure for the participating non-profit organizations. “The New Paradigm Theatre Company is excited to be part of producing a glam, fun event that also highlights three non-profits working together,” said Artistic Director Kristin Huffman, a Tony award-winning Broadway actress and former Miss Ohio herself. “With the work of these groups, plus beautiful models, awesome views, and a great live band, it will be a fabulous night at Harbor Point.”

Adds Olena Czebiniak, SoundWaters Registrar, “SoundWaters is excited to once again partner with Building and Land Technology for this event, where the Schooner SoundWaters, the education vessel of Long Island Sound, will be dockside as the perfect backdrop for ‘On the Rocks’”.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A little help from my friends...

I got so many emails about the last post about "proving yourself" that I thought you needed to hear from some of my friends as well to see that this is just what our "careers" are like in the theatre world.
As an aside: almost any other career can benefit from the perseverance learned by pursuing theatre.  

From Randye Kaye: (actor, radio personality, author, mother)

The longest summer of my life was the one between high school and college, when I  took a Nine-to-Five job in an office to help pay my tuition bill. Every hour I spent watching the clock reminded me of what I truly wanted: to make a living as an actress, as a singer, to do the things I most loved in this world and get paid for it! 

Now I can look back and say that I have done just that, and (though I am far from fame and riches) I am quite proud of my life so far.  My first dream was to be a Broadway Musical Star.  Nope, not there yet - but as we live our lives, dreams and goals can shift gears to suit new priorities. 

From my first paid theatre job (non-Equity, $40 a week plus room and board to do summer theatre in Thomaston, CT - a blast, by the way!) I have made a living in many corners of this business; as some doors closed others opened.

My corners of "Show Biz" have included National Tours, Local AEA Guest Artist roles (ones I'd never have landed on Broadway, let's face it), Cabaret work, Singing with various bands, lots of Voice Over Work (my bread and butter!), and a long stint as a major radio personality in Connecticut. Oh, yeah, and off-Broadway - but that credit means less to me now. 

One promise I made to myself as I approached my 30th birthday was that I would never sacrifice my offstage life for my onstage credits - and that decision has served me well. 

So my perseverance has been this: to keep my eyes open to shifting opportunities (Like Voice-over, radio, and local theatre), and have the guts to go for new goals within my dreams. Every day I get to act, sing, talk, and write - and get paid for it! I also get to teach, direct, blog and coach (Voice Overs) - and also be a wife and Mom - and every day my dream gets larger than I'd ever imagined when staring at that office clock.

 Broadway someday? Maybe. But meanwhile, I intend to keep doing what I love, wherever they will let me do it, and have a happy life knowing I am honoring my own dreams and goals by not giving up on the Big Picture of this wonderful and unpredictable business!


Randye Kaye Voiceovers 
actress/voice talent/speaker  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Proving yourself

When I started my theatre career I was in Ohio.  I flew out to NY during the heavy Spring and Fall audition season, slept on friend's couches and attended open calls and agent submissions.  After about 3 or 4 weeks of auditions I would often have a summer gig or Holiday show for my efforts.

It wasn't Broadway.

I did dinner theatre, outdoor theatre, regional theatre, blackbox theatre, big ol theatre, and everything I could to keep working and adding to my credits and making connections.

It wasn't Broadway.

My agents would call me in Ohio for an appointment for a show and I would fly out to do it in NYC or Chicago.  Sometimes I would hitch a ride with a friend who had a plane when he was coming out to NYC from Ohio.   My agents asked me once "how are you doing this?" and I replied that the money I saved living in Ohio I applied towards coming to NY for those periods of time.  I lucked out many times and got shows and built up my credibility with folks like Jamibeth and other great casting directors.

I wasn't on Broadway yet.

Then we moved to CT and I was an hour and a half train ride away from NYC.  I wasn't in my 20's anymore and so took classes of casting directors.  Four-week classes often cost $400 and up, but I got to know many casting directors in a setting that was more than a 2 minute audition.  I was building up my "credit" with them and learning what they liked and how to do auditions better.

I wasn't on Broadway yet...but I was getting called in for Broadway shows.

Finally, I got my Broadway break.  Was in a Tony Award winning show that got taped for PBS and lives on in DVD.   It was a dream of a lifetime.  A lifetime of theatre work that led to this Broadway show.  It was not overnight. Or even five years of work. It was more like 15.

If I had stopped to think about how much money I spent or time I "wasted" or mistakes I made, I would have quit long before that 15 year mark.   If I had taken to heart the "no's" and let it affect my self esteem I wouldn't have gotten to the amazing experience of "Company".   If I had not gotten on Broadway at all, it would still have been worth it because I learned so much and enjoyed so much about the theatre experiences I have had at:  Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Derby Dinner Playhouse, Actors theatre of Louisville, Fords Theatre, Opera Columbus, La Comedia, Schiller Park, Marin Opera, American Stages, Papermill Playhouse, Cortland Playhouse, Sondheim Center, Ashlawn Opera, European tour, Lancaster Festival, Musical Theatre of CT, etc etc.

I would not be where I am without the Pre Broadway experiences and all those millions of auditions.

Ironically, if I were in Ohio today I could find a barn and turn it into a theatre pretty easily.  I know a lot of farmers.   But we are in CT and space is a premium this close to NY.   Had I moved to NYC right after college I would have been swallowed alive....but I waited and did the work and got experience on my resume before I moved here.  I saved money. I learned the "system".

Why should the building of this New Paradigm Theatre be any different?  While it will not take 15 years (!!!!! see me stomping my foot)   building your reputation for good work, making networking connections, doing shows, and saving/making money, might just take a more "proving yourself" path than the theaters of the past.   A building does not a theatre make and we are proving that.

I can wait it out like I did Broadway because I know it will happen and I have a roadmap for perseverance now.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Business and Art

This blog was written with us in mind I think! :)  I will be writing Seth today to update him on all our good progress.

Art fears business fears art- www.sethgodin.com 

The artist says, "that sounds like business, and I want nothing to do with it. It will corrupt me and make me think small."
The businessperson says, "art is frightening, unpredictable and won't pay."
Because the artist fears business, she hesitates to think as big as she could, to imagine the impact she might be able to make, to envision the leverage that's available to her.
And because the businessperson fears art, she holds back, looks for a map, follows the existing path and works hard to fit in, never understanding just how vivid her new ideas might be and how powerful her art could make her.
There's often a route, a way to combine the original, human and connected work you want to do with a market-based solution that will enable it to scale. Once you see it, it's easier to call your bluff and make what you're capable of.
 SETH GODIN has written fourteen books that have been translated into more than thirty languages. Every one has been a bestseller. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything.
American Way Magazine calls him, "America's Greatest Marketer," and his blog is perhaps the most popular in the world written by a single individual. His latest book, We Are All Weird, calls for the end of mass and for the beginning of offering people more choices, more interests and giving them more authority to operate in ways that reflect their own unique values, and Seth once again breaks the traditional publishing model by releasing it through The Domino Project. His recent Kickstarter for his newest book (The Icarus Deception out in January 2013) broke records for its size and the speed that it reached its goal.
As an entrepreneur, he has founded dozens of companies, most of which failed. Yoyodyne, his first internet company, was funded by Flatiron and Softbank and acquired by Yahoo! in 1998. It pioneered the use of ethical direct mail online, something Seth calls Permission Marketing. He was VP of Direct Marketing at Yahoo! for a year.
His latest company, Squidoo.com, is ranked among the top 125 sites in the US (by traffic) by Quantcast. It allows anyone (even you) to build a page about any topic you're passionate about. The site raises money for charity and pays royalties to its million plus members.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Redefine Possible

There are so many campaigns today that talk about "redefining possible".  I did a google search and came up with a short and inspiring article in Forbes. 

"Spencer West’s story of conquering Mt. Kilimanjaro is not just an inspirational tale of how one man redefined his own sense of what’s possible.  His message of how to redefine and reimagine what is achievable, how to intertwine goals with a greater purpose, and how to be stronger by relying on others is a blueprint for business leaders, new graduates, and even grade school students."

I also liked the section where they talk about big things being done in "small steps".  When you have huge goals, such as starting a theatre company, sometimes people/projects don't move as quickly as you would like them to. I suppose that is when some folks give up.  Or say "this or that is 'so hard'".  By the way, don't ever say that to me because I will walk away from you or hang up. Or in my Landmark education classes they would say "if you say so".  Meaning, it's hard if you say it's hard. You will just live into that.  So don't say that...about anything in your life.  

With a good team working with you, though, it's not hard to find other paths, other people, other projects that can move your theatre forward while you are taking small steps one place, you can take medium size steps other places.  

"You cannot get around that we are all going to have our challenges at some point.  It is how you deal with that challenge that sets people apart". Says West. 

I think a stagnent "this is what we want to do, like it or lump it" idea is not useful in this economy and business climate.  Just keep redefining what is possible and taking steps.  

Keep taking steps.    

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sync Markets

I should just suggest that you all sign up for www.Sethgodin.com because every blog of his makes sense for theatre or any business.  He really sums it up when he says: 

"Marketing isn't merely bragging. Marketing creates a culture, tells a story and puts on a show." 
Now how "theatre" is that?

Here is a blog from today. I bolded the part that I think arts groups need to think very hard about. It might mean your project moves a bit slower, but it will build stronger, especially in this economy. It also will save money in the long run. To say that things will go "back to usual once the economy turns around" is just naive. To apply the rules from even five years ago to a new project means that you are not staying on top of the market and you are hurting your group. 

Entering sync markets

How does a painting end up selling for $5 million?
Why do some songs end up being listened to by legions of teenagers?
Which companies end up with investors swarming all over them, eager to put in cash?
Hint: in each case, it has little to do with the verifiable, rational analysis of the product. In some markets, things are popular merely because they are popular. John Legend's version of Compared to What is a pale imitation of the original, but don't tell the local teenager that. Jeff Koons is no longer a visionary, but he's a safe bet for gallery owners, investors and people looking for bragging rights...
Whining about what's good is a silly way to do business with people who seek to be in sync. What sync markets care about is, "who else is into this?" Markets like textbooks, surgical devices and nightclubs are all sync markets.
In every one of these markets are people who spot trends, who go first, who set the pace. This group (which doesn't have a defined membership... there's a lot of churn) cares a lot about being seen as right, about going first and being followed. The early trendsetters are not the mass market, but they are acutely aware of what the mass market is going to be willing to do next. (Sadly for marketers in search of a reliable shortcut, these trendsetters are often wrong. That doesn't mean that they don't matter).
Marketing to those that want to be in sync is a fundamentally different project than treating your audience as a horizontal mass of isolated people, all to be approached with the same story at the same time, all making independent decisions. The connections between people are always important, but in sync markets, they're the primary driver.