Booking It! Producer Ken Davenport on Getting Your Show Off the Ground

By Adam Hetrick
25 Apr 2014

In a producer's eyes, how weighty is representation for actors and/or writers, creatives, etc.?
Davenport: When the actor is in the room, nothing matters. But representation helps get you in the room.

How does one break out into the world of producing? How do you get started in making investments into commercial productions?
Davenport: To break in the world of producing, you need to start producing! Find a show, I don't care what it is... Do Romeo and Juliet in your living room! Start small, but start.

To start investing in Broadway shows, find a producer whose shows you like and reach out to them. Get on their list. Go to readings. Be proactive. Investment opportunities aren't that public, so you have to put it out there that you are interested.

What is the best way to start saving money, raising money and meeting investors?
Davenport: I could teach a Seminar on raising money. Oh wait! I do! Check it out. The quick tip is that raising money is just like selling Girl Scout cookies. You start with your friends and family and go from there.

Is it worth it, as an up-and-coming producer, to start with Off-Broadway or the New York cabaret scene?
Davenport: It's worth it to start on the street, if you're passionate about the project, and you can make it happen.

What are your thoughts on the cabaret scene, with both composers and young producers?
Davenport: I think it's a fantastic option for new artists and producers to show people what they can do. Theatre rent is one of the most expensive parts of theatre producing. In the cabaret scene, the space is often free!

Talk about the self-producing composer. Do you think this is beneficial – producing your own work to establish your voice?
Davenport: Absolutely. Why wait for someone else to produce you when you can produce yourself?

What are programs or internships young producers should be investigating?
Davenport: Find producers that you like and respect and contact their offices. Not everyone should work for me. Not everyone should work for Manhattan Theatre Club. Identify what type of theatre you are interested in and seek out those opportunities.