Tag Archives: Productions

On Their Own

Dear Friends,

We show you today a picture we just received from The Academy of Motion Picture of Arts and Sciences of the great movie star and our friend, Gena Rowlands, and famed director, Spike Lee—both of whom were recognized on Saturday by The Academy with Governors Awards.


Gena, together with her husband John Cassavetes pioneered a new in motion pictures: The Independent Film.

John and Gena decided one day not to simply act in other people’s films, but to make their own.  Together they ushered in such films as:

Shadows—which won a Critic’s Award at the Venice Film Festival

A Woman Under the Influence—for which Gena earned an Oscar for Best Actress and John earned an Oscar nomination for Best Director

Gloria—for which Gena earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actress

Husbands—starring John with Peter Falk and Ben Gazzara

Faces—which was nominated for 3 Academy Awards

Minnie and Moskowitz—for which John was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award for Best Comedy

Opening Night—for which Gena won Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival

Gena says—about the struggles they had producing these films—

There wasn’t anybody doing it.  Everything was done through the studios.  But we did it on our own. When we ran out of money, we paid for our own pictures by acting for others or mortgaging our home [you can read more about it in an article here.]

They really did pave the way for a lot of independent films, ourselves included when The Theatre Guild produced the 1969 movie, Slaves—but more about that next time!

Congratulations Gena on your Governors Award and for all that you have done in your career!

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Oh Othello!

This Throwback Thursday features a great photo of Paul Robeson in his garb as the well-known character of Othello, which The Theatre Guild produced on Broadway in 1943-1944.

Robeson’s portrayal of Othello was so masterful and well-performed that John Dover Wilson—one of the premier Shakespeare critics at the time—commented that Robeson’s Othello was the best performance of the century!

When I was about 10 years old, I used to spend wonderful times wrestling and playing with Paul’s son, Paul Jr.!

Paul broke through so many barriers coming from the son of a former slave, and knowing him and his family was indeed an honor!

old pic 2

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Funding Conundrum

Anyone working in the theatre world, knows how difficult and exciting (and by exciting I mean nerve-wracking) raising money to produce shows can be.  The SEC rules for patrons are extensive and bordering on archaic.  Fortunately, these rules are getting an overhaul that will make them easier on patrons and producers alike this Fall.

Why is this important to us?  Because it could completely change the face of theatre and productions—both on and off Broadway.  Smaller but more numerous patrons a la Kickstarter style will allow producers to open funding to, essentially, the world.  And when this happens, theatre wins because it decreases the likelihood a great production can’t be produced due to lack of funding.

Here is a great article that we found in The New York Times about how successful funding can be in the world of theatre—as brilliantly done by Jaime Hendry, a London Producer—and why the current rules need to be changed if the U.S. wants to see funding success that London is starting to experience.   Smell of the Greasepaint, the Funds of the Crowd

Just ask Ken Davenport (The Producer’s Perspective), a theatre producer who attempted crowdfunding theatre projects here in the U.S., but was stymied by “The Rules.”

I just find it ridiculous in this country that we prevent people from investing in Broadway if they are not accredited and well connected to producers, and yet anyone can travel within 60 miles of their homes and bet their life savings at a casino…”

Having produced many plays in our lifetime, we have seen that the important/serious ideas are ones that need serious investors—one who want to bring great ideas and values to the theatre and to the world—regardless of their ability to spend $50 or $50,000.

The game is on in London and New York to find the investors of the future.—Jaime Hendry



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