Each year, public and private school music teachers throughout the U.S. are faced with the dilemma of funding a quality musical production for their students, often without substantial backing from their district. That needn’t be a concern! On today’s episode, I show you how to produce a great musical on a small budget, attracting students to the program while also gaining the support of parents and administration for this year’s production and for years to come.
- Ask for a loan – Begin your project by requesting a meeting with your district business administrator to request a loan for your upcoming musical. For a quality middle school production, about $5000 should be sufficient but you may need more if you need to fund staff or other necessities. Then, begin thinking about how to pay off the loan with steps # 2 and 3.
- Sell tickets – This seems like a no-brainer, but selling tickets involves more than just sending home a flyer to the school population. Selling tickets starts with choosing the right musical. It’s best to select a “big name” musical that’s familiar to students, parents, administration, and the community. Shows like Annie, Beauty and the Beast, or other well-known favorites are ideal for middle-schoolers and will no doubt draw an audience. (Consider doing a “JR” production from MTI, which offers a flat production rate of only $1000. And you even get to keep the scripts!) Once you’ve made your choice, begin to spread the word with enthusiasm.
- Sell ads – Make a “Playbill” and fill it with ads from the community. Take time to teach your students how to sell and what to say to potential advertisers. Provide them with written instructions they can review before approaching local businesses, including an actual sales script. (See my Sample Sales Sheet) Finally, give the enthusiastic salespersons in your cast a reason to sell by offering incentives, like free tickets or a ride in a limo to opening night!