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Having a run of your show at a theater may seem like the holy grail of solo-performing. Your name on the marquis, a fancy poster, a regular schedule of performances to which everyone can come. Reveiws! Packed houses! Recognition! Yes, self-producing a theater run of your one-person show can be phat satisfying in lots of ways. It can also be stressful, maddening, and expensive, with unpredictable and sometimes disappointing results. In this next run of blogs I will take you step-by-step through the details of self-producing a theater run. Let’s start with an overview so that before you embark you can calmly assess what you (probably) can and (probably) cannot – get out of it. I’ll start with the tough side:

Challenges of self-producing:

  • Expense
    Everything from theater rental to programs to concessions costs. Where are you getting the money?
  • Stress
    Producing requires keeping on top of dozens of details and projects at once (finding your tech crew while finding a theater while designing the program while writing a press release while rehearsing while trying to drum up an audience, etc. etc etc.), and it’s all on you. For the production period you will have to think of little else but your show. Can you give it the necessary time and attention?
  • Results
    The dream: you’ll produce your show, get great reviews, and the house will be packed every night. You’ll make all your expenses back in ticket sales. Some other producer type will see the show, resulting in additional great opportunities for both your show and you as an actor/tress. The reality: getting audiences is hard, especially as an unknown actor in a solo-show. Same with industry attendance and/or recognition. Ticket sales will almost certainly fall short of expenses. Reviewers may or may not come, and you may or may not be happy with their review. You’ll put your heart, soul, sweat and money into it, and when it’s over it may just be over, nothing more.

Sobering thoughts. Next blog: the Rewards of self-producing a theater run!

With great love,
Jonna Tamases