The General Manager is to a producer as the Prime Minister is to the King or Queen.
General Managers advise the Producer on what needs to be done, and will then execute the Producer’s decisions. Usually the General Manager’s experience and knowledge of Off Broadway will be an invaluable resource.
General Managers perform the day-to-day functions required to mount a show and then keep it running.
The General Manager is usually required to:
- Prepare a detailed Production Budget, Weekly Operating Budget and Recoupment Schedule
- Prepare a list of recommended personnel and negotiate the terms of the agreements of their employment: Director, Choreographer, Designers (Set, Lighting, Costume, Sound) Musical, Casting, Technical Directors and Prop Manager
- Recommend a plan regarding engaging union and/or non-union personnel and negotiate with the various unions involved.
- Prepare a list of recommended Publicity, Advertising and Marketing firms and negotiate their terms
- Prepare a list of the possible theatres to perform in, tour the theatres and negotiate a license agreement with the theatre.
- Set ticket prices for the different areas of the theatre, discuss discounting and organize group sales efforts.
- Engage a ticketing agency and supervise the setting up of the Theatre Box Office
- Monitor the sales at the Box Office and prepare weekly reports for Producer
- Prepare, with the accountant weekly Profit and Loss statements, including itemization of all production expenses.
- Prepare regular reports and payments to the investors, and financial reports required by any unions and government agencies.
- Set up the Production Bank Account and pay the productions bills, the employees’ salaries and vendor’s fees.
- Monitor and report all income and expenditures to insure the production stays within its budgets.
- Have an office available for meetings and inspections of the company’s books and records
- Meet regularly with and advise the Producer on operations and strategy.
- Organize and attend weekly marketing and/or staff meetings.
- Prepare and supervise the load-out and financial wrapping up upon the closing of the production.
It is important for the Producer or Producers to engage a General to engage a General Manager whom they feel comfortable with and can work with, trust and rely on- one who is enthusiastic about the project and shares the Producer’s understanding of the production and the goals.
The next step is to find a General Manager. (View a listing of Off-Broadway General Managers.)
Questions for a General Manager
- What do you think of the project?
- Who do you think would be right for it as creative personnel?
- Who do you think would be right for it for publicity, advertising and marketing?
- Which of the people and firms you recommend have you worked with before and why do you recommend them?
- Where do you think it ought to be presented and why?
- Is there a realistic chance of recoupment here? What would have to happen for the show to succeed?
- What sort of lead time do you think we need and when would be a good time to open?
- What other projects are you working on now and will you have enough time to commit to this one?