After speaking with Jeff and Jacob Foy, recipients of the The Inner Circle grant for their musical, “Emergency,” “ Un-Block The Music” decided to share a little more about the grant. Its creator, Tony-Award winning Producer, Ken Davenport, graciously spent some time talking about the program, the Foys, and even dropped a few hints about his own upcoming projects.
“Un-Block The Music” has written about Ken in the past, not only because he produced the fabulous shows, “Kinky Boots” and the revival of “Once On This Island” (among others), but because of his enthusiasm about the future of theater. He has vowed to help get 5000 new shows to Broadway by 2025. The Inner Circle is one building block towards that goal.
“Members of The Inner Circle, have to be high achievers; those really dedicated to getting their shows off the ground,” Ken explains. “The group is based on Napoleon Hill’s mastermind theory; meeting with like-minded people who help each other.” (“Un-Block The Music” was unfamiliar with the theory, but found that the concept was coined in 1925 by author Napoleon Hill in his book “The Law of Success,” and described in more detail in his 1937 book, “Think and Grow Rich”.)
If you are someone who wants to create theater, you should start by reading Ken’s blog, https://www.theproducersperspective.com/the-blog ( I love blogs!!!) Anyway, the next step would be to attend the Producer’s Perspective Super Conference in November. It features industry experts from all aspects of Broadway. The Inner Circle may come next.
“The number of people we will accept for The Inner Circle is flexible, but we want it to be an intimate experience; like a private school classroom. As they learn from great speakers, the group will become very close. Again, we look for people who are very passionate about what they are doing,” Ken reiterates.
Last Fall, The Inner Circle members were told they could apply for a $10 K grant to help move their shows forward. Seven finalists were chosen. “The design of the contest is to imagine that you are pitching the show, which you have to do in your professional career.” The idea is not for Ken to be the only one to decide the winner, but to put the pitches out to social media; to their ultimate audience. Important, Ken says, because “a lot of what you have to do as a professional is promote yourself.”
What was it that gave “Emergency” the edge? “What I love about them (Jeff and Jacob Foy) is that this father and son team have found a way to bond by creating a musical. It’s also not something you see every day. I think when something is unique, people are very interested in that. That is the most exciting thing for me.”
After winning for “Emergency,” the Foys moved forward with “a fantastic production at Indiana University. I actually saw it. The next steps for them include rewrites, readings and festivals. Slowly but surely, they climb and climb and hopefully get to where they want to go,” Ken says.
Is Broadway the ultimate goal? Perhaps, but that’s not the only marker of success. Ken says, “A lot of emerging playwrights and producers start off-Broadway as I did. It’s not as political as Broadway. It’s easier to get a theater. It’s more flexible, and an easier thing to achieve, and it can have massive results.”
We know there is still a road ahead for “Emergency”, but what else is up the sleeve of Ken Davenport? Not a lot of details yet, but Ken is stoked about a musical based on the “Vacation” movie series. The Griswolds go to New York for the first time. “Un-Block The Music” is entertained just thinking about that! Another project in development is a show about Joy Mangano who invented the Miracle Mop. Jennifer Lawrence played her in the movie “Joy.”
Stay tuned! It will be fun to watch these shows grow and ultimately find their way to the stage! And, if you haven’t already, read the interviews with Jeff and Jacob Foy at: https://unblockthemusic.blog/2019/01/09/its-an-emergency-as-father-son-recipients-of-ken-davenport-grant-set-sights-on-nyc/)
Applications for The Inner Circle are accepted throughout the year. For information about that go to https://www.theproducersperspective.com/the-inner-circle. You can also check out 2018’s seven finalists here.
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