When should you hire a theatrical general manager?

At what point in the process should a producer engage a general manager? This is among the first questions a prospective client will often ask. Simply put, the answer is “now.” In fact, producers with whom we work routinely tell us that they wished they had brought us on sooner.

A producer recently came to us with a project for which she was having difficulty finding financing. We helped her devise a two-year strategy from table read to workshop to Broadway, and mapped out a clear budget showing pre-opening expenses, weekly operating costs and recoupment schedule.

This, in turn, helped prospective investors understand how their money was going to be used and how the show would be developed. And, most critically, it gave the producer the right tools to successfully secure financing. The point, of course, is that this is not the time to guess; it’s the time to let a general manager provide the expertise needed to get a Broadway-bound production off the ground.   

Beyond budgeting and strategic planning, a seasoned general manager, like Jumpstart, will ultimately become the producer's best friend, sidekick and, yes, sometimes, his or her therapist as the producer takes the leap of faith required to bring a show to life.

Mounting a new commercial production is akin to launching a startup. You want someone by your side who understands just how hard that endeavor is, who can help you make the right decisions and who can represent your best interests in the process. So, as a producer, aim to make the general manager one of your first hires. You’ll be glad you did.