The Business of Musical Theater Touring: Strategies for Success

The Business of Musical Theater Touring: Strategies for Success

Lights, Camera, Action: Navigating the Lucrative World of Musical Theater Touring

Hey there, fellow musical theater enthusiasts! As a former musician who’s been through the industry wringer, I’m excited to share my insights on the business side of musical theater touring. Trust me, it’s a wild ride, but with the right strategies, you can turn it into a lucrative and fulfilling career.

The Touring Tango: Balancing Artistic Passion and Financial Realities

When I was signed to Sony and Universal, I’ll admit, I was more focused on the creative aspects of music-making than the business side. And let me tell you, that was a rookie mistake. Sure, I was living the dream, but I quickly realized that without a solid understanding of the financial landscape, my dreams of making it big were going to remain just that – dreams.

But fear not, my friends! I’ve since pivoted to a successful social media business, and along the way, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to make a living in the music industry. And let me tell you, the same principles apply to the world of musical theater touring.

The Diverse Income Streams of Successful Musical Theater Performers

So, what are the main sources of income for modern musical theater performers who aren’t quite at the level of Broadway superstars? Well, let me break it down for you:

  1. Live Performances: Of course, the bread and butter of any musical theater performer’s income is their live shows. From touring productions to regional theater performances, the more gigs you can land, the better.

  2. Merchandise Sales: Savvy musical theater performers know that merch can be a lucrative side hustle. Think custom t-shirts, posters, and even autographed scripts or programs.

  3. Royalties: When your show or performance is recorded and distributed, you can earn royalties from those streams. This could include things like cast recordings, streaming services, or even licensing agreements.

  4. Specific Partnerships: Some musical theater performers have found success in securing lucrative partnerships with brands, sponsors, or even other theaters or production companies.

  5. Teaching and Workshops: Many seasoned performers supplement their income by sharing their expertise through teaching masterclasses, workshops, or private lessons.

The key is to diversify your income streams and not rely solely on one source. That way, you can weather any ups and downs in the industry and keep your financial ship afloat.

Navigating the Touring Landscape: Strategies for Success

Now that we’ve covered the different ways musical theater performers can make money, let’s dive into some strategies for success when it comes to touring.

1. Develop a Killer Email Game

You know that friend of yours who can spin a story for days, leaving you wondering when they’ll finally get to the point? Yeah, don’t be that person when it comes to your email outreach. Keep it concise, professional, and to the point.

For example, when I’m trying to book an opening slot, I’ll put something like “May 21st – Opening Slot Inquiry – The Middle Coast” in the subject line. That way, the recipient knows exactly what I’m asking for, who’s asking, and when.

In the body of the email, I’ll give them a brief introduction, let them know what I’m looking for (in this case, the opening slot), and include a link to my electronic press kit (EPK) where they can learn more about my show. Simple, right?

2. Optimize Your Electronic Press Kit (EPK)

Speaking of EPKs, this is crucial for any touring musical theater performer. Make sure your EPK includes all the essential information – from streaming links to your bio, photos, and technical riders.

The goal is to make it as easy as possible for potential bookers or venues to get all the info they need without having to dig around. After all, these folks are busy, and you want to make a great impression right off the bat.

3. Master the Art of the Follow-Up

Don’t be afraid to follow up with the people you’ve emailed. Reaching out every 10 days or so is a reasonable timeframe. Just remember to keep it polite and professional – no need to be a diva.

4. Cultivate Relationships with Industry Contacts

At the end of the day, the musical theater industry is all about who you know. So, make it a priority to network, attend industry events, and build genuine relationships with the movers and shakers in your local and regional theater scenes.

Attend workshops, conferences, and other professional development opportunities at your local musical theater education and performance center. You never know when those connections might pay off down the line.

Lights, Camera, Profit: Turning Your Touring Dreams into Reality

Phew, that’s a lot to take in, but trust me, it’s all worth it. The world of musical theater touring is a competitive one, but with the right strategies and a little bit of hustle, you can turn your passion into a thriving, sustainable career.

Remember, it’s not just about the art – it’s about the business. By understanding the diverse income streams, mastering your email and EPK game, and cultivating industry relationships, you’ll be well on your way to musical theater touring success.

So, what are you waiting for? Start polishing your performance, refining your outreach, and getting ready to take the tour bus by storm. The stage is yours, my friends – let’s see you shine!

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