Tuesday, May 29, 2012


In under 3 months we have become officially a NON PROFIT 501c ENTITY! 

Just got the response from the IRS that confirms it!  This is so unusual as everyone told us that they were looking harder at folks applying for NPO status and to expect it to take years!  

We incorporated in September 2011 as The New Paradigm Theatre Inc and then started working on the paperwork for our NPO status (to be called an official charity by the government you have to have non profit status).  Our amazing board accountant, Lynn Vetare, and our amazing board lawyer, Kelly O'Brien, worked with Jamibeth and me to get that paperwork in by early March.  Lynn, Kelly and Jamibeth put in huge amounts of time. 

WE GOT OUR RESPONSE IN UNDER THREE MONTHS DUE TO THE GREAT JOB THEY DID ON THE NPO PAPERS.  And Kelly also said some of that fast response was due to the fact that we are, right now, being "charitable".  We didn't wait to do our "paying it forward" elements of our "theatre" until we were approved. We started right away, by helping The United Way, The Bruce Museum, The Leukemia Foundation and The Volunteer Center of Southwestern Fairfield County with their fund raising.

I took my walk for exercise this morning on a cloud.  


Monday, May 28, 2012

The story of telling blog

I thought this was a really good "take away" from the blog:  http://thestoryoftelling.com/blog/


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hotel tips ? or Theatre tips!

On our fabulous vacation in Maine recently we stayed at a couple lovely
B and B’s as well as inns and hotels.  Since I unconsciously relate everything to the theatre experience, I couldn’t help but notice some advertising do’s and don’ts that many theatres fall into as well.

1.     Don’t tell us how great you are without relating it to how it helps us as the traveler… or theatre-goer/donor.

A good salesperson knows that it’s not about the salesperson and their product, it’s about the customer.   What can you do for us

If a hotel just lists their services without sounding like it can personally take care of me, I may not bite.  
If a theatre just lists their shows and how great they are without actually relating it to how that helps us, it slips right past us.  And just saying what the arts provide for a community is not good enough either. What they want to know is “In my busy life, right now, what can you do for me me me?”

Especially when we approach potential donors (corporations and banks etc)  if we just say “art is necessary for a community because… blah blah blah.” without actually detailing what we can do for that specific corporation I think we have missed the boat.  Ie  “I know you are trying to get great PR for your corporation and look good in terms of helping other non profits in the community.  We do more than just stick an add in a program book. We do live commercials for you on stage. Or we do charity events with our stars in your name because you are our biggest sponsor.  Or whatever means something important to that businessperson. 

That will take a bit of research and relationship building as well as customizing it for each business. Yes, it takes longer, but your percentage of successfully connecting goes way up. And it is exciting when you let your creativity go wild and come up with something totally new just for them.

2.     Do make us think you are the “one stop shopping” experience we need because we are too busy to do all the detailing of the trip ourselves.

If a hotel positions themselves as the “connection” to some fun events and dining experiences it cuts down on the work I have to do to plan our trip. “Package” deals are great and save me time and money.

For example:  “If you chose the ‘Whales and Sales” trip you get 1. Two night stay 2. 20% off dinner at the Seaside Restaurant  3. A site seeing trip on The Schooner boat  4. Whale watching trip for two.  All for $ X amount. You have now solved my problem of what to do and where to eat all just by staying in your hotel and I feel like I have gotten a “deal”.

Now apply that to theatre.  I know some theatres offer a deal with other restaurants in the area (Show your ticket and get 10% off your meal) That is good. Now what if we combined with other ARTS groups like Museums, or Art galleries, or Dance troups?  If you live in an area that has some spectacular attraction, don’t look at that as competition, look at it as a package deal waiting to happen!  

What about a “King and I” package that gets them in to see your show, the local Asian Art exhibit, and a dinner at the local Taiwanese restaurant down the street.  A whole “experience” as opposed to just coming to see your show.  Kinda immerses them in the Asian experience so they can enjoy each segment of that even better. Maybe have a “talk back” with not only the stars of your show, but also an expert of that time period from the local college to give historically interesting facts.  That would be a package worth buying I think.  And it might be good in terms of getting educational grants. And finally, what corporations wouldn’t want to be a part of having their name attached to that experience? Shun the non believers and just put that out there to the ones that see the marketing potential.   

There is some paradigm shifting that needs to happen and thinking about building relationships a new way, offering out-of-the-box ideas to potential donors based on what they need and not the money we need, is a good step in making it happen.

                                          (picture of our trip to Maine...Arcadia National Park)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Andy Warhol

I couldn't agree more and it's what we are doing/proving first.  Right now, our "product" is our performances ....anywhere really...and our video offerrings.  Also our "concept" is our product I think. I bolded the last line he writes because I really agree! And I also love the quote!

From "The Producer's Perspective"  Ken Davenport's blog.

In case you missed the news, Andy Warhol’s classic “Double Elvis” painting fetched a whopping $37 million smackaroonies at Sotheby’s on Wednesday.  I know, I know . . . if you only knew they were auctioning it off you would have bid $38 million!
Well, unfortunately for you, this one is gone (interesting tidbit – there are actually 22 versions of this piece).
$37mm!  You could produce three big budget musicals for that!  Or 1/2 a Spider-Man!
Warhol is an artist’s artist, right?  I mean, it doesn’t get much more modern art guru than good ol’ Andy, which is why I was fascinated when I read this quote on the business of what he did . . . and how he felt about art and commerce combining.
Here’s what he said:
“Making money is art and working is art, and good business is the best art.”
Andy Warhol was an artistic pioneer.  He drew, sculpted, and painted what he wanted to . . . and introduced the world to a whole new perspective.  And he turned those creative impulses into a financially successful enterprise that is flourishing decades after his death.
Making money and running a business were obviously never Warhol’s primary objectives . . . Cash can never be a motivator for anyone who wants to make great art, great theater, or even great hamburgers, really.
He focused on the product, which created the business . . . which is how art and commerce are best coupled.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Heart of Gold Award Dinner

What a great event! The Volunteer Center of Southwestern Fairfield County has an event called The Heart of Gold Award dinner every year and this year they honored Building and Land Technology's president, Paul Kuehner.  NPT sponsored Kimilee Bryant from Broadway's Phantom of the Opera as the special entertainment and what a great event it was!

See below for videos of Kimilee rehearsing with accompanist David Maiocco. First time we used David and it won't be the last.  He was terrific.  I knew Kimilee would not only be a great entertainer but one of the stipulations of the folks we hire is that they also be extremely gregarious and have that "star quality" that will wow folks.  She fit that bill so well! I heard a lot of comments about how cool it was to bring "Broadway to the South End of Stamford".

                                                (video of Kimilee rehearsing with David) 

She sang "Wishing you were somehow here again", "With a song in my Heart" and then a duet with me! We are old pals from our Miss America days and since the marketing director at BLT, TJ White, told us his favorite musical is Wicked, we sang "For Good".  The words were perfect for an evening honoring volunteer service by Mr. Kuehner and Building and Land Technology.

I was super impressed with how smoothly everything ran with TJ in charge and the food was great. Always a plus with me. :)  I also got to meet the president personally, the CEO and the lead council for this corporation, plus many of the 450 cool and connected folks at the event.  One of the other non profits that Mr. Kuehner supports also gave me their card so that we might be able to put together a show to help them with their fund raising.  

This happens every time by the way. At the Bruce Museum another non profit was there and we have a gig with them in September.  Each time we meet more folks we can help and that allows us to get our name out there as a group that is paying it forward first while we are looking for the perfect space for our permanent theatre.  Like BLT, finding out what the community needs and helping others as it builds.

                                          (video of Kimilee singing "With a Song in my Heart")

ps. Look at the cool ad that Andy created for the program book. We also used these to stuff the 400 or so gift bags.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

May 8 2012

This week is busy with finals for both colleges and our big gig May 10th, with BLT and the Volunteer Center of Southwestern Fairfield Country, a non profit.   They honor someone each year with The Heart of Gold Award Dinner, http://heartofgold2012.com/ and this year it's Building and Land Technology's (BLT) President , Paul Kuehner.  I have never met him, but he is known as a very philanthropic and spiritual man.

The way we got involved was that I have been having good meetings with BLT's marketing director and brainstorming ideas that will combine BLT and their need to provide high quality entertainment for their events, PR etc with our professional theatre and high powered entertainers. While I was there a month or so ago, I saw the flyer for the award dinner and asked if they wanted a Broadway star to entertain.  Got a big "Yes" on that and also a "How much is Kristin Chenoweth?" Jamibeth helped me investigate that and she was a bit on the costly side for this.

But I called my friend, Kimmilee Bryant (currently playing Carolotta in Phantom of the Opera on Broadway) and asked if she could grace us with her singing.  Bit of trivia: she also competed with me in the Miss American Pageant as Miss South Carolina. Beautiful and talented with a bunch of amazing credits.  http://www.kimileebryant.com/

We have several board members who are attending with the other 450 guests (some of whom are banks and big corporate friends of the honoree).  And just like the Bruce event, we are building our relationships one group at a time.

Our system seems backwards to some folks who are stuck in an old way of operating, but it's like this:

 1. Invent the possibility first.  In that space is the "aliveness, full self expression" that most ideas need to grow.  We spend a lot of time on this.  Many business and npos get here last....sometimes not at all.    This is the "why".

 2.  Commitment. In that space is the power to invent a way of being that enrolls others and declares how our ideas will be thought of and that will get us to the goals.  A direction.  In that is power.  This is the "how".

3.  THEN we came up with our Mutually aligned goals.  These are specific and measurable.  This is a space of practicality and action-oriented ways of being.   This is the "what".  Most organizations start here.  This is not really an "enrolling" state to be in.  It's just telling folks what you are doing. It's spouting off. It's blah blah blahing.  There is no chance that others feel they are contributing, owning, growing with you.  It seems like a natural place to start, because that is how others have done it for so long.  Can you see how it does not invite others to become a part? To contribute? To own you?  IF it does not do those things, then you are only as good as your advertising.  The things you tell them you are.  There is no depth or emotional committement.

Even though our system might seem to grown over a longer period of time. I do want to point out that since September we have Incorporated and after turning in our NPO paperwork to get our 501C status, in just two short months we are almost there.   Can't elaborate, but ...that seems pretty darn good to me.  We have also performed for and made friends with The Bruce Museum, The Leukemia Foundation and The United Way.  We are creating partnerships with corporations and other important and progressive folks.  We have three amazing videos with wonderful Broadway performers and casting talent.

Best of all, starting in this new way is defining not only The New Paradigm Theatre, but it's also leading the way in developing a successful model for others to follow.  That is the possibility we are inventing for ourselves and enrolling others to get there.