EP 117: Benjamin Simpson (autogenerated)
[00:00:00] Dane Reis: [00:00:00] you booked it episode 117. All right, let’s get started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Benjamin Simpson. Are you ready for this Ben? All right. Ben is the cofounder of fourth wall theatricals at theatrical firm that specializes in producing general management, dynamic ticket pricing and group sales.
[00:00:28] As a theatrical producer, Benjamin has one. To Tony awards for his co-producing work on the band’s visit. And hello, Dolly other notable credits include a waitress, the Broadway and national tour, which received a Tony nomination. Oh, hello. On Broadway, the glass menagerie adult house part two, which received a Tony nomination meteor shower.
[00:00:50] Be more chill and seawall a life. Most recently he lead produced our dear dead drug Lord by Alexis shear and Oscar at the crown. He sits on the young professionals board of CoLab theatrical group, and is a proud graduate of the Boston conservatory. Ben, that is a quick intro of who you are and what you’ve done, but why don’t you tell us a little bit more about yourself, filling the gaps and a little bit more about what you do as a professional in the entertainment industry.
[00:01:23]Benjamin Simpson: [00:01:23] Awesome. Hi everyone. I’m Ben.
Um, I am from Connecticut about an hour outside of New York city. And that’s actually where I am. I’ve been since March when Broadway shut down, but under normal circumstances, um, I live in New York city and I miss it dearly. Um, so as Dean said, I’m one of three owners of forth wealth.
[00:01:42] Yeah. Trickles. It’s a company. I started with Joe Long thorn, who I went to college with. And Nathan Vernon, who is also in the theater producing world.
Um, and we focus on those four different things, , um, producing general management, dynamic ticket pricing, which is, um, similar to the area lines and the hotels where you see these prices go up and down so that, um, I do for specific Broadway shows where the ticket pricing will fluctuate and then group sales.
[00:02:09] So bringing groups to Broadway. So obviously a lot of that yeah. Is done hold at the moment, but that is primarily what our focus is.
Um, I started off as a performer. So I went to Boston conservatory and I graduated back in 2011 and I always loved performing. I performed a few years after college and that’s when I discovered this whole world to producing in general management.
[00:02:34] And. Really fell in love with the business of Broadway. So that’s primarily where I’ve been,
you know, the past. Wow. Since 2014, I would say. Um, and then in between there, I had a kind of crazy little side curve and was, um, working for soul cycle, actually both in New York city and Connecticut. And it’s funny enough that, you know, it.
[00:02:54] It comes full circle. Cause actually I met a lot of my investors actually at soul cycle,
you know, they were spinning and spending $40 a class. And I was like, do you like Broadway? Maybe you should come enter the world of Broadway. Um, that’s just a funny way, you know, so I basically went from actor to soul cycle.
[00:03:11] So now producing on Broadway, which is
kind of wild.
[00:03:14] Dane Reis: [00:03:14] Yeah, that is such a crazy story. Can you delve into that transition and how that happened? Starting your company.
[00:03:23]Benjamin Simpson: [00:03:23] Yeah, absolutely. So back in,
you know, I was, Oh, what year was it? It wasn’t on 2013, 2014. I was doing that hustle of, you know, waiting tables and then booking a cool gig. And I was like, Oh my God, I’ve made it. I made it. And then I’d have to go back to waiting tables and that, you know that for me, I didn’t have that wanting to do it.
[00:03:42] So I wanted to do something cool. And I thought I wanted to be a director, actually college senior year. You can pick an emphasis and I directed which I fell in love with, but yeah, it turns out,
you know, now looking at it years later, you actually were. Producing and directing, cause you had to, you know, get the budget for the show, cast the show, market, the show with your, you know, the artwork and everything.
[00:04:03] So the long and short of it is I basically,
you know, went from performing to, Oh, I think I want to be a director. So I directed a reading of this new musical that was being developed by a mentor of mine from Connecticut. And. Putting that together, the New York musical theater festival, which actually doesn’t exist anymore, but a representative came to see it and they were like, we want that show to be in the festival.
[00:04:27] And we don’t think you should be the director since you have to,
you know, you, haven’t professionally directed and you have to tech the show in eight hours and you know, you know, but you should be. The producer in general manager and, you know, essentially find the money, make it happen. And I was kind of like, kind of like, okay, I guess we’ll, you know, see where that goes.
[00:04:43] So the really long and short of it is,
um, that’s actually where I got my start and seeing, you know, that experience happened, which I’m sure we’ll get into a little later that. Kind of launched me into, Oh my God, there’s this whole world of raising money for shows and doing the day to day business, which we actually didn’t really learn much of in college of like, Oh, there’s people in the office that are doing the payroll and coming up with the advertising and the poster design and, you know, making sure your show can run day to day.
[00:05:09] So once I discovered that world, I was like, I need to do this.
So, you know, it took years of, I actually quit my job at soul cycle to be an intern. Um, And, you know, you know, I’d saved up all that money. Otherwise it wouldn’t have been able to do it, but I, um, um, did that and that, you know, I internet the three, two, one theatrical management, which they, um, The general managed some of the biggest shows on Broadway, like wicked.
[00:05:29] And that’s where I met all these key players and people, and really was under their wings. So that internship went on for about a year. And then I got a full time job there. And then after a few years, I started a company with Joe, which was Simpson and Longhorn theatricals, and we just went out and did it on our own.
[00:05:47] And we just started getting clients and clients. And then finally merged with Nathan to create this new company actually right. Back in December, January of this year.
[00:05:56]Dane Reis: [00:05:56] Oh, that is such a great journey. So good. And let’s move on to this next section here. And Ben, look, I am a sucker for a good quote. What is your favorite quote? You’d like to share with everyone?
[00:06:11]Benjamin Simpson: [00:06:11]
You know, a friend actually introduced to me this quote just a few months ago, and I it’s really resonated with me and something I’ve really like dived into in quarantine, but, um, to Jennifer Lewis quote , um, and she says the elevator to success is broken. Take the stairs. And I, you know, and I really let that sit and I was like, it’s so true.
You know, like to come up with, you know, any kind of success you really have to hustle and, you know, make it happen.
[00:06:37] Dane Reis: [00:06:37] Yeah, it’s a lot of work and just stop off at a few other floors. Don’t you?
[00:06:41] Benjamin Simpson: [00:06:41] Yeah. You take those breathers for sure.
[00:06:44] Dane Reis: [00:06:44] Yeah. That is such a good image. I really liked that quote
[00:06:49] Benjamin Simpson: [00:06:49] Thanks.
[00:06:51]Dane Reis: [00:06:51] let’s move on to the section here. And Ben, of course you are an entertainment professional. I am an entertainment professional, and I think. But you would agree that this industry can be one of the most subjective, brutally, honest, personally emotional industries in existence.
[00:07:09] And you know,
you know, as well as I, that in order to create and have a successful career in this industry, like you’re having now takes a lot of dedication and hard work. And while yeah. There’s an outrageous amount of fun and excitement doing what we do. There are also our fair share of obstacles, challenges, and failures.
[00:07:29] We are going to experience and we’re going to have to move forward through. So tell us, what is one key challenge, obstacle or failure you’ve experienced in your career and how did you come out the other side better because of it.
[00:07:43]Benjamin Simpson: [00:07:43] You know what actually goes back to those days of being a performer.
You know, my friends and I would joke my special skill was, you know, you know, I was the King of final callbacks, you know, you know, going back all the way to. Freshman year of college, I just moved into the dorms and then randomly was getting called back after callback for all these, you know, shows in New York city that I would go take the Amtrak to go do.
And, and that was kind of kind of no, my trajectory for my whole performance. We’re I, you know, I would book some gigs in a TV show here, like a summer stock here, but I never got that, you know, great country that you close your eyes and dream of. Um, And so it wasn’t this one ultimate failure, but you know, there was that unevenness that really led me to my desire for stability, you know, for a career in the theater.
[00:08:26] And I always go back to this,
you know, college professors would say, I don’t know if you remember, but they would always joke and be like, if you can see yourself doing anything other than performing that, do that thing. And. I was one of those people that loved performing and definitely wanted to be on Broadway, you know, as a performer.
[00:08:43] But there were so many other parts of the field that I discovered in college, especially senior year,
you know, in that directing project that I was like, I can see myself doing other things. So I think those failures, if you will, of, you know, never, you know, booking that Broadway contract, really, it helped me prioritize what I want.
[00:09:03] In my life
and, and I, you know, I’m so happy now that I discovered this world and they think those failures obviously led me to where I am now.
[00:09:11]Dane Reis: [00:09:11] Yes, I am so happy that you’re on the show and that you’re sharing this journey and your journey because it’s so important for people to hear. Because most of us, when we come into this industry are performers, we’re on the stage side of things,
right. We’re singing and dance, and that’s what we want to do.
[00:09:29] We want to be in the spotlight.
[00:09:31]But there is such a world in this industry that we just don’t know about. Many of us are never exposed to it. And it takes many people, even super late into their careers that. These things even exist,
you know, until you’re actually doing, say that equity contract, you’re like, Oh, why are all these people in the office after the show?
[00:09:50] What are they
[00:09:50] Benjamin Simpson: [00:09:50] right, right.
[00:09:52]Dane Reis: [00:09:52] What’s that for, you know,
you know, all of these things that you never think about, but it’s so important to know about because there are so many other places where maybe that’s your calling, maybe that’s where you’re fulfilled and just shedding some light on this is so brilliant.
[00:10:07] I’m so happy that you’re here.
[00:10:08] Benjamin Simpson: [00:10:08] Oh, I’m so happy to be here. And I think,
you know, it doesn’t have to be one or the other, you know, I think there’s some colleagues of mine that, you know, they are producers, but they still want to actually be directors or they want to. Still perform. And, you know, I don’t think it has to be, you know, all or nothing.
[00:10:25] I would say for me, I really fell in love with this and
kind of fell out of love with performing once I had this light bulb moment. But, um, I do think, you know, even aspiring performers that want to, you know, dip their toes into other things in the fields, it’s just gonna make you a better. The business person, you know, now all my actor, friends, you know, cause we all graduated with musical theater degree.
[00:10:45] I’m like, you better call me before you have your email negotiate this contract because I’m going to help you. And
this is what, this is what I, you know, this is what they’re going to try and stiff you on. And this is what they’re going to try and do, you know, you know, it’s kind of like you learning some of those business things, you can still be a performer and I think it will help you.
[00:11:01] Dane Reis: [00:11:01] Yeah, for sure. And I’m personally
kind of a living Testament of that because I, I still perform, I still do loads of things, but I’ve also ventured into the stage management, the production side, and then the corporate production side of things as well. So. So. I’m still in all the worlds. And I find each one personally, to be very fulfilling in a slightly different way.
[00:11:21] And they work different parts of my brain, different parts of my creativity, and I find it very fulfilling. So you’re right. You can do multiple parts of this industry.
[00:11:30]Benjamin Simpson: [00:11:30] Yeah, no, I totally agree.
[00:11:32] Dane Reis: [00:11:32] Brilliant. And let’s move on to a time that I like to call your spotlight moment. That one moment in time you realized, yes, I am going to be an entertainer for a living or maybe it was, yes. This is what I need to be doing in the entertainment industry. Tell us about that.
[00:11:54]Benjamin Simpson: [00:11:54] Yeah.
You know, I think it goes back to that, that show at nymph, that New York musical theater festival show, because it. It was my first time experience this whole of their world. And because that opportunity really came from me just being forward on my couch and my New York city apartment turned my roommate being like, I need to do something creative.
[00:12:12] I can’t just keep waiting tables and auditioning. And,
you know, once I was. Diving into this world where, you know, you sign all these contracts saying, yep, you’re going to raise the money for the show. And you’re going to, you know, make this thing happen. When I had no idea what I was doing at the time they give you this handbook, that’s like, this is how you do everything.
[00:12:28] I suddenly came into this world where,
you know, again, mentors of mine in college, when. They were telling me about other careers in the field. And I was like, I thought after graduating, maybe I wanted to, you know, either be that director, like I was talking about, or be an agent or a casting director. Cause I loved, you know, actors and I love the business side.
[00:12:46] And once I saw that I was putting together this full show, I was like, Oh my God, a producer actually does everything. Not in an egotistical way, but in like you get to sit in those final callbacks and then.
You know, and an aha moment was the casting director, you know, a really established passenger if you’re turned to me and was like, well, who do you want?
You know? And I turned to the director and was like, who do you want? But the director was kind of like looking to me of like, Oh, wow, wow, wow, you get, so you get to be in the casting and you get to be in tech and see the thing come to life. And I think you learn how to market a show and how to get people to come see the show.
[00:13:21] So all of that. Once I got to do all of that. I was like, Oh wait, I don’t have to pick,
you know, this producing trajectory, you get to do it all essentially. And that was like, Oh my God, this is, this is what I have to do.
[00:13:33] Dane Reis: [00:13:33] Oh, that sounds like so much fun. And. I want to piggyback on that real quick and talk about your number one, booked it moment. Walk us through that day, the auditions and call backs if they happen to be a part of it, but what was going on in your life. And what about that moment? Makes it your favorite book?
[00:13:55] That moment?
[00:13:57]Benjamin Simpson: [00:13:57] Yeah.
I mean, one that comes right to mind. It was, it was just recently, it was about a year ago. Um, was Joe and I, you know, we’d done a lot of this co-producing which if listeners aren’t familiar, you, we, we find a property or attach ourselves to a property that usually has established lead producers. So like we’ll use waitress, for example, you know, there’s lead producers that really.
You know, had seen the movie and was like this to be a Broadway show. And then they, you know, hire Sarah Barelas to compose it and really have it all come together. And a cool producer will come on board, you know, usually a few months, a year before it comes to Broadway to help raise the money for the show, by finding other investors and everything.
[00:14:33] And yeah. Then,
you know, be an add meetings and be helpful to the producing team, but you’re not running the day to day. So. So. About a year or two ago, Joe and I were ready to take that leap from co-producing to lead producing. And I’m someone, we went to college with Alexa shear. So she’s another perfect example of, you know, went to school for performing, but it turns out to be this brilliant playwright, um, had sent us this show that she had written.
[00:14:56] And of course we get all these scripts,
you know, in our inbox and I’m such a bad reader except now I have the time to do that. Um, And we fell in love with her play and we’re like, we need to produce this somehow. So we decided like we’re going to make this be our lead producing debut, if you will. So we to make a really long story short, other people fell in love with the show as well, including some major nonprofits.
[00:15:18] So both the women’s project and second stage in New York city wanting to. Produce it. So we came on board as the enhancing producers, which means we helped the pay for their nonprofit productions. And then in return would get the rights to commercially produce the show. So that happens a lot.
Like if you think back to next normal at second stage, and do you have enhance in, you know, there were secret, if you will enhancing producers that when the show took off, off Broadway, they moved it to Broadway and then it became this big commercial endeavor.
[00:15:49] So that was a little backstory of, so we were doing that with our deer dead drug Lord, and it only could have a six week run. That’s like what these nonprofits do for a straight play,
you know, buy a debut playwrighter and. This show just started to take off in a way. I mean, I mean, in our wildest dreams, I think it’s why we love and fell in love with the show.
you know, ticket sales started off really strong and then it got a rave in the New York times. And by the time all of this buzz and things were happening for the show, it was basically time for it to close. And Joe and I, they were like, wait, we’re not ready for this to be over yet. You know? So we.
[00:16:25] We’re racking our brains super quickly.
Like, you know, it’s a, it’s a really quirky play that we need. It wasn’t necessarily at the time of Broadway show, but yeah, we wanted it to live off Broadway and you know, all the stars aligned where the theater, it was playing in the upper West side was actually available for another nine weeks.
[00:16:41] There was no show immediately coming in. So it was this day or two of Joe. And I literally.
You know, trying to put together budgets of like, what would it cost every week for us to do this and to, you know, capitalize and find investors that would do this crazy idea. See if the cast and crew and everyone was in the building was even available to stay another nine weeks, hire, hire our own press and advertising.
I mean, things that take three to six months that you do in preproduction before a show goes on sale. We had to decide basically in two to three days, if
[00:17:11] we could do it. So it was the craziest time. Hi, I’m of our, like of our young careers and our first lead producing thing. And we just knew we had to do it
and it, and it, it just came together.
[00:17:23] And I think,
you know, fast food, when we finally did have to get kicked out of the theater, nine weeks later in our closing performance, you know, was in a holiday week and it was sold out and people crying cause they couldn’t get into see it, it was like, Holy moly, like all that. Hard work and sleepless nights.
[00:17:39] And when we got, how are we going to ever make this happen?
Like was just so worth it. And I was like, yep, this is what I have to do.
[00:17:45] Dane Reis: [00:17:45] Ah, such a great story. Thank you for sharing that.
[00:17:49] Benjamin Simpson: [00:17:49] Of course.
[00:17:50] Dane Reis: [00:17:50] And let’s take a moment to talk about the present. What projects are you working on now? What are you looking forward to? And it’s a weird time, right? We’re amidst this global pandemic. How do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years?
[00:18:08]Benjamin Simpson: [00:18:08] Yeah. You know,
You know, I’m so glad we’re doing this interview in September, not in April or may back when I was in my little deep hole of like, Oh my God, what is going to ha you know, things were so bleak. And I mean, not that they’re all bright and shiny now, but I think, you know, at first. All of these projects, we were in the middle of, you know, I mean on all, we, we do these four different things in our business and all four departments just like shut off right
[00:18:32] pricing. I was like coming up with prices. Isn’t changing them every minute for all these clients that had performances that night,
you know, um, Nathan was running our group sales department. We had all these groups coming in to see these Broadway shows. Joe was pre production for all these summer festival shows that were gonna happen.
[00:18:47] And. Producing why,
you know, we were working on all these new projects and suddenly it just kind of all went away that March 12th doom day, um, But so after taking a few, you know, it took a month or two of, you know, image control and figuring out how, you know, what was happening in all those different apartments.
[00:19:02] And then really having to embrace it, take a big side. Cause I’m learning too embrace. The theater has totally gone digital and streaming and zoom theater. And
you know, I think it was a little exhaustive, at least for me at first it was like that the first few months it was like, Oh my God, I’m really going to sit on the couch and watch another.
[00:19:21]Person sing a song on their couch. And I just miss being with people and feeling that energy of live theater to having a kind of switch my mentality to be like,
well, Let’s use this as, you know, as a positive, you know, the theater business model is so hard, you know, for you listeners, like one out of four or five Broadway shows will, you know, be profitable and just make the money back.
[00:19:42] And then, so you’re looking at
like 75% of shows being financial failures to being like, well, wait, if these streaming companies like Hamilton on Disney plus, and now Diana is going to be on Netflix. If there’s ways for these big players to. You know, be excited about what we do on Broadway. We have to really like lean into that and see what other cool opportunities and collaboration can come of these crazy.
[00:20:04] So, you know,
So, you know, over the past month or two, these projects that were kind of on hold. Are starting to redevelop, you know, just so we don’t lose a year of creativity, which for me was kind of another light bulb of like, wait, we can’t just mope that we’re not going to see live theater probably for many, many, many more months.
[00:20:22] Like I look at how crazy life was and we couldn’t dive into those scripts and,
you know, go listen to that, that unknown composers, new music. And like, now we can. So I think what we’re going to see. Is hopefully a burst of new material that comes whether it is digitally or there’s some new way to showcase it, or it’s like being developed secretly.
[00:20:46] And then when we can return live to those rehearsal studios and rehearsed with everyone, like there’ll be like a lot of readings and labs and things of all this material that has
kind of came from these crazy times. So I’m looking forward to that, you know, so the new projects show and I are working on, we’re just waiting now, you know, we’re working with the writers and everything, but also want to make sure that we can come back better than ever, you know?
[00:21:07]Dane Reis: [00:21:07] For sure. That’s great insight. And I like how you said,
you know, we can’t just lose a year of creativity, it’s time to, I guess at first, no one knew what was going on. Right. So you let it be shut down. We’ll just put it on pause, but has. Like you said it was going to, it might be many, many, many more months before we get to go back into the theaters that you gotta keep moving forward to go.
[00:21:30] All right. Let’s dust this thing off real quick and see what we can make happen in this crazy world that we now exist in.
[00:21:37]Benjamin Simpson: [00:21:37] Yeah.
I mean, I joke with my roommate, Mike, like, I feel like on that when I, when Broadway shut down, I was like, I was kind of burnt out already. I was like, okay, I’m going to connect to get for two weeks. I packed for two weeks. And I was like, Oh my God. And then even in the industry, we just kind of kept, like, I feel like in the Broadway world, people love to just like make dates up.
[00:21:54] But sometimes it was like, Oh, we shut down and,
you know, March, but we’ll definitely be back by Memorial day in may, you know? And that felt like the craziest thing ever. Cause it was two weeks, you know? you know? And then it was like, well, after July, cause then it’ll be, and then it was, you know, you know, and just like a few weeks ago, I got all these texts that it’s like, I cannot believe it’s after labor day, we’d be at.
You know, glass, house Tavern, having a cocktail, you know, so stressed out about the fall theater. So, you know, So, you know, and the Tony’s being, you kind of kind of looked over in June, there were all these kind of milestones that I was just like, Oh my God, the world is just going on and on. And this whole field is just so stuck, you know?
[00:22:31]Dane Reis: [00:22:31] Yeah, it is a crazy new world that we live in, but we keep moving forward and let’s see what it brings.
[00:22:38]Benjamin Simpson: [00:22:38] Yeah, absolutely. And
I think, I think, like I said, people are gonna really lean into . What positives there are. I think there’s all these archaic rules with certain unions that, you know, Don’t make sense for anyone, the talent, the produce. So all of these things, hopefully now we can really go back and negotiate and be like, why, why, what in questions and things, you know, like why isn’t there more diversity on Broadway?
[00:23:01] Why do the few people hold all the power? How can we cultivate new talent across all jobs? And I think now we get some wiggle room to do all of that.
[00:23:13] Dane Reis: [00:23:13] Yeah, for sure. And it is time to move onto one of my favorite sections in the interview. I call it the grease lightning round. I am going to ask you a hand full of questions. I want you to answer them as quickly and concisely as possible one after another. Are you ready?
[00:23:35] Benjamin Simpson: [00:23:35] ready.
[00:23:36] Dane Reis: [00:23:36] All right. First question. What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer?
[00:23:42]Benjamin Simpson: [00:23:42] Nothing.
I mean, I had to do it. I think any other job I had like that I went into was just kind of a stepping stone to where I was, but I mean, I was the kid singing in the family room, you know, Annie and Oliver. And I was, you know, And they had such supportive parents. You know, my sister, you know, went to college for the arts do, but I, they cheered me on every step of the way, but I mean, I can’t do anything else
[00:24:03] Dane Reis: [00:24:03] Fantastic. Second question. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
[00:24:10]Benjamin Simpson: [00:24:10] Oh, I was an intern and I was complaining about someone reaching out for some coffee meeting or something.
And, and my mentor said, take every meeting, you know? So if I can say that in caps, take every meeting, you just never know what could come out of it. You know?
[00:24:24]Dane Reis: [00:24:24] For sure. And the third question, what is something that is working for you right now? Or if you’d like to go pre COVID, what was working for you before our industry went on? Pause.
[00:24:36]Benjamin Simpson: [00:24:36]
You know, for the first time in years, it sounds so silly and cliche, but you know, but you know, a work life balance. And I think that’s partially because the work is substantial, slowly slowed down, you know, but pre COVID, it was nonstop. I worked all day and then we went to our cocktail meeting and then we were at show and, you know, I never, every single day there was a dot on the calendar of, Oh my God, I don’t get to go home.
[00:24:56] And just
like. Do nothing. And I think in quarantine, you know, my family is nearby. So I get to see them and catch up on all these television shows. People told me for years to watch, I watched the Emmy’s last night and I was like, Oh man, I’ve seen these shows, which never used to happen. Um, so I think going back, you know, I’m hopefully gonna go corporate a lot of this.
[00:25:15] So I would say the work life balance for sure.
[00:25:18] Dane Reis: [00:25:18] For sure. And the fourth question, what is your best resource? Whether that is a book, a movie, a YouTube video, maybe a podcast, maybe a piece of technology that you found is helping your career right now.
[00:25:33]Benjamin Simpson: [00:25:33] Oh, a few things.
I mean, the most broad in general is like, go see live theater, go to those concerts, you know, you know, at 54 below in the green room and you know, up and coming musical theater writers and plays, that’s your research and where you’re really gonna learn your taste about, Oh, I love that. I don’t like that.
[00:25:48] Who is that person? I should know that person.
So, yeah. Just like seeing anything. And then, you know, even back to high school, I read the book, we grosses on playbill. I, you know, which is every week when it shows they’re running, they post how much money they made, what the capacity was, what the average ticket price was.
[00:26:02] And that’s where I started to learn
like, Oh, that’s why that show’s closing. Sometimes people will be like, why is that show it’s because it wasn’t making any money. So you might not understand all the numbers and things on the page, but you’ll really learn and get a sense of like, Oh, that show’s making a lot of money.
[00:26:15] What are they doing? Who’s that producer,
you know, So I would say read the Broadman grosses. And then my favorite, this little plug it’s called the Broadway briefing, which is a daily email newsletter that comes right in your mail. And it sums up all the happenings on Broadway from all the various news sites, whether it’s national or like really just happening in the niche Broadway community.
[00:26:33] If you’re familiar with
like the skim it’s like that, but it’s Broadway fight. It’s awesome.
[00:26:38] Dane Reis: [00:26:38] Very cool. And the fifth question, if you had to start your career from scratch, but you still had all the knowledge and experience you’ve collected from your career in this industry, what would you do or not do? Would you do anything differently or would you keep it the same?
[00:26:56]Benjamin Simpson: [00:26:56]
You know, I’d keep it the same. I mean, I don’t really have any regrets, which is like wild to say out loud, but, you know, I think my journey to where I am now with meat, might’ve been a little delayed, you know, that I was a performer and then I did this little corporate job, but it, you know, Then I went to interning at this big office, but I was an older intern, if you will.
[00:27:13] Not just right out of school, but I, so I had some more life experience and knew that like I was going to sort the mail, but I was gonna read every piece of mail,
you know, instead of, you know, rolling my eyes. So I think, yeah, all of this stuff, you know, actually like came together in a beautiful way. So I, I don’t think I’d change anything.
[00:27:29] Dane Reis: [00:27:29] Great. And the last question, what is the golden nugget knowledge drop you’ve learned from your successful career in this industry that you’d like to leave with our listeners?
[00:27:41]Benjamin Simpson: [00:27:41] Trust the heart and not the head, which,
you know, it was a huge learning opportunity for Joe and I, especially when we were deciding early on what shows to co-produce and what shows not to, you know, the show is that. You know, looked good on paper, you know, meaning like, Oh, they had a list celebrities and they’re gonna sell out, turned out to not be financially.
[00:28:04]Successful because they weren’t very good,
you know, and, and we kind of knew that going in, but we were kind of inspired to do it based on the wrong reasons. Verse, any time we fell in love with a material piece that was kind of risky and was like, Oh, is anyone going to come see this? Or how are we ever going to raise money for this weird thing?
[00:28:22] They all ended up working out and it was that gut feeling of, Oh my God, it’s making this laugh or it’s making this cry. And
like, we have to be involved and just hope it works out. So definitely trusting the heart and not the head is really steered us on the path that we’re on.
[00:28:37]Dane Reis: [00:28:37] Oh, thank you for sharing that. And to wrap up this interview, Ben, it is time to give yourself a plug. Where can we find you? How do our listeners connect with you? Is there anything you want to promote?
[00:28:52]Benjamin Simpson: [00:28:52]
Um, I mean, I’m on Instagram, the Ben Simpson. I mean, that’s mostly just me and my dog and my nephew and all the shows him currently working on. But. That’s a great way to connect. Um, yes. So message me there. And we’ll have some kind of meeting of the minds.
[00:29:07]Dane Reis: [00:29:07] Brilliant. And for everyone listening out there, I have put the link to Ben’s Instagram in the description of this episode. So you can easily connect with him. Ben, it has been such a pleasure to have you on today. Thank you so much for being here
[00:29:21]Benjamin Simpson: [00:29:21] Thank you for having me. This was a blast.