Folks who go to theatre, but who don't work in the biz often ask me, “what, exactly, does the producer of a play or musical do?”. It seems people have a sense of what directors, choreographers, and stage managers do, but the role of the producer remains a mystery.
Answering the question is, even for someone who knows what producers do, nevertheless a challenge. Where to begin? “What DOESN'T a producer do?”might be the easier question to answer.
Well, the producer is, after the playwright, the person who must have a vision o how a show will be developed. That vision must extend further, to answer the inevitable questions about how the show will be financed, where, when and under whose direction I will be staged, on what scale, at what budget, with what kind of talent? ultimately, the producer must also have a vision for how the show will be marketed, what kind of audience it will attract, etc.
But having a vision isn't close to enough. A producer must have a plan for how to bring this vision to fruition. For each of these visions, the producer must devise a course of action to realize it.
It's not enough to know how financing will be raised, for example, the producer must actually DO so; must actually secure the needed funding. And so I is for every aspect of hte proposed production.
Theroducer selects the creative and business teams, participates in casting, designing, rehearsing and opening the show. And, of course, the producer sells the show. Or, the producer bears the heavy burden of deciding when to close.
What have I left out? Use the comments below to provide your perspective.
Here at Theatre Producer Academy, we help producers learn how to perform these functions; to know the ropes; and to understand this complicated, crazy business. If you're interested in producing shows, Theatre Producer Academy is the place to learn how.