What Does A Broadway Producer Do Exactly?

John Breglio would often find himself at gatherings with theatre actors, writers, directors – some famous names, too – and be stunned to learn how little they knew about what a Broadway producer actually does. A few thought the job called for a person who resembled only a slightly more sophisticated Max Bialystock

"I can assure you that 90 percent of those people had no idea how the deals worked," Breglio says. "And some of them considered themselves producers with millions at stake. The ignorance was remarkable." 

That's why he decided to write a book, calling on his expertise from over 40 years as a producer, entertainment lawyer, and chairman of Theatre Development Fund's board (from 1997 to 2006). 

The result is I Wanna Be a Producer: How to Make a Killing on Broadway...or Get Killed, which was published earlier this year. 

Breglio's thesis is that in showbiz knowledge is both power and profit, and those who venture into producing without it are risking fortunes. 

"A knowledgeable, experienced, and attentive person who is producing as a full-time job with the right resources and talent is absolutely essential to make a major hit," he says. "That's the only person who has the objectivity to get the ultimate goal. Otherwise, the show will not be successful." 

In other words, it's not enough to passionately believe in a show. Passion is important, Breglio says, but then he adds, "passion is an emotion and emotions can let you do irrational things. You need a clear-eyed look at what is commercial and what is practical in dealing with a show on Broadway, the most treacherous artistic endeavor in the world. Epecially today when shows costs $10-15-20 million – and more. You've got to know all this stuff and not just say, 'I'll let my lawyer do it.'"