Saturday, August 28, 2010

End of a Season – Great new one starting

WOW! We are wrapping up our busiest year yet!!!

Mostly because of the Off-Broadway run of LMAO returning us to our public shows schedule of years past. Up until November 2009, we were cutting back NYC shows left and right in favor of paying gigs on the road. Very few conflicted with the public shows schedule, but we could only do so much. LMAO allowed us to attract an all-new audience of avid theatergoers thanks to TKTS and similar discount Broadway ticket outlets online. It also allowed us to attract an all-new level of talent, or more so retain those folks. An Improv show is only as good as the cast. As we expand it is important to keep the levels up. Especially as we take on more and more double and triple bookings. The combination of Laurice, Spero and I put us on the map. Proud to say that every time we do auditions, we attract better and better folks. NOTE – not to detract from previous cast members as we have almost always found great folks for our show needs but we are getting less and less wannabes to sift through each time out.

Secondly we are booking more and more gigs more often. All winter I said, why don’t you come in May, our slower month. As a result, March thru August have been non-stop. And now the colleges and corporate events are booking again. A special thanks to all of our regulars. Schools, camps, corporations and of course families tahat patron the public shows. You are the back bone of our success. Many NYC area teachers are now on their 4th & 5th years leading K-12 class field trips to our theater in Times Square for IMPROV 4 KIDS and EIGHT IS NEVER ENOUGH shows and/or workshops. Quite a few made their first trip this year. More and more are doing the show, workshop and pizza party program for just $27. Very exciting to show growth in these trying times.

Well if we can show growth in 2008, 2009 and so far in 2010, I can only be optimistic for the coming months and years.

We have our new program via the COMEDY HALL of FAME – teaching at NYC schools weekly to students and once and while doing professional development for teachers.

We are starting to get calls from colleges and corporate events again. These gigs pay 2-3 times as well as the K-12 world. With the crash in September 2008, very few of these gigs came our way. And not just the Improv show events. Our production company that does publicity/promo work, novelty bookings and holiday parties all took dives in the corporate sector.

Our saving grace was the K-12 program. Still being the new guy and far superior to our competitors (Clients’ sentiments, not mine), more and more schools discover us one by one. The word is out that no one delivers this level of talent and entertainment at these rates. My only fear – schools and other non-profits – those that budget 1-2 years in advanced will be showing signs of recession blues now. Of course, I have been fearing this since early 2009 and … so far so good.

Another key to our recent successes – we stopped throwing money at the wind trying to grow faster. We wasted many 1000s of dollars 2006-2008 on PR firms and advertising that did little to nothing for us. We got aggressive again in house. We made this business on sweat reaching out grass roots style. Personally handing out 1000s of flyers on the streets weekly. We send out average of 100 post cards weekly to school and theaters. We spend hours on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and back in the day – MYSPACE. I miss Tom. Sometime working on blog posts, emails and mailings at 3am when we can’t sleep. Actually that is when most of our best PR ideas come. When you are awake and bored and not really a bar type, you really get a lot of great work done in those witching hours. Although sloppy and in need of serious proof reading, the creativity flows. Insomnia works for me the way most “artists” are when doped up I guess.

For a while we found when we focused on the art, the business slipped - and vice versa. LMAO forced us to focus on both and finally find the balance. A huge part of this is realizing the need for more support behind the scenes. A special thanks goes out to all those that have stepped up in these areas. Every theater company is dependant on the rare few that really love behind the scenes work. Being a performer first, foremost and nothing but, I always assumed I would need to attract intern types with an empty promise of possible stage time. This never works really. Never worked for me anyway. As with better and better talent, as we grow we attract better and better behind the scenes types. Part of this is the pay now associated of course, but more so folks love a winner. And very few in the theater world grow as fast as we have without major financial support in the way of investors or grants. In fact, name me one company started in the past 10 years that is showing even break even status with out financial injections. The typical “Professional” - and/or not-for-profit - theater model, has you raising tons of money to pay for a production whether or not you have an audience. These investments have far worse odds than Vegas casinos. Better off investing in scratch offs. Perhaps they are great as the allow a number of new works to get a chance.

come be a part of the show  FALL 2010

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