- Theatrical producer
A theatrical producer is the person ultimately responsible for overseeing all aspects of mounting a theatre production. The independent producer will usually be the originator and finder of the script and starts the whole process. The producer finds the director, and then begins the primary goal which is to balance and coordinate the business and financial aspects of mounting the show in the service of the creative realization of the playwright's (and the producer's) vision. This may or may not include casting, but often will include casting approval. The producer may be responsible for securing funds for the production, either through his or her own company or by taking on investors in the production via a limited partnership agreement, the producer becoming the General Partner with unlimited liability (and because of this will often bring on board other general partners). The producer will probably have optioned the play from the
playwrightwhich would include all rights including film and television rights if the production will enhance their value, and may have included the royalty agreement. Then comes the time to work with theatrical agents, negotiate with the unions, find other staff, secure the theatre and rehearsal hall, obtain liability and workers' compensation insurance, and post bonds with the unions.
Although the producer is responsible for hiring creative teams, this is generally done in consultation with the director and the playwright who like to have approval. The producer also hires the production team including the General Manager, Production Manager, House Manager, Stage Manager etc. at his or her own discretion. In many cases the producer is required to use
front of housepeople (such as the house manager, box office, ushers, etc.) and backstage personnel (stage hands, electrician, carpenter, etc.) supplied by the theatre owner.
The producer is responsible for creating and overseeing the budget. He or she sets ticket prices, performance dates & times and develops a marketing & advertising strategy for the production. The hiring of a Publicist and Marketing team is one of the most important responsibilities of the producer. These teams are generally in place before the show is cast.
The producer hires accountants and perhaps already has legal representation. This is important, because of the liability mentioned above. All bills including payroll need to be paid on time and taxes need to be paid. He or she develops all the budgeting. The theatre owner, providing box office services, will turn over the net result of ticket sales. If the results are not good and fall under a set minimum level, the show may have to close. Hopefully this will not happen, and perhaps the producer will make a handy 50% of the net profit, the other 50% going to the investors, and possibilty arrange for more income from a tour, or a film which might put them on the other side of an option. Statistically, highly successful shows and therefore big profits are the exception. Independent commercial production is a high risk business.
Another kind of producer is the non-independent who is better described as a
line producer, a facilitator of other people's wishes. A repertoryor repertoire or festivalor non-profit or amateurorganization will in most cases be using a Managing Directorand the creative decisions will be on the shoulders of the Artistic Director. And In theatres where there is no Managing Director, Artistic Directors often take on the title Producing Artistic Director or Managing Artistic Director, to indicate their higher level of responsibility.
In Britain, "producer" can refer to the "director", and the terms are interchangeable.
It should be noted that in the commercial world of Broadway and West End and touring, producers are expected to be active members of the team, and their names are put above the title of the show. But there are many "producers" who are in reality investors or perhaps the theatre owner, and claim no say in the running of the production. The "producer" credit is occasionally given to persons who perform special important services, such as finding a theatre or a star, but normally their credit would be as "associate producer".
* [http://www.ibdb.com/ Internet Broadway Database]
* [http://www.livebroadway.com/member_links.html League of American Theatres and Producers]
* [http://www.tonyawards.com/en_US/interactive/video/index.html Tony Award winners video library-interviews with winners]
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