From Director to Marketing, Ralph Maffongelli
Bucks County, Pennsylvania: What does the American Association of Community Theatres have to do with a theatre director’s transition from community theatre managing director to royalty house sales rep? Well the organization did not broker the deal between the Sheboygan Theatre Company (STC) and J & G Unlimited for the production of one of their musicals, nor did it play headhunter when I retired from STC and was approached by J & G. But AACT was literally at the center of the entire process.
It was through AACT that J & G located me and STC when they were promoting their catalog and one play in particular. The continual networking that AACT does, bringing all types of theatre companies together, led to a phone conversation between me and Judith Sapperstein, the J of J&G and one half of an energetic and talented collaborating duo.
As is so often the case, the piece first pitched was not the one STC produced. But we almost immediately began working on the world premiere of the election satire HUH? as our annual July 4th offering. The process could not have gone more smoothly and J&G was totally supportive throughout, even though we asked to make an incredible number of cuts and alterations in order to adapt the show for our free, daytime, outdoor venue.
When I shortly after decided that, having spent twenty-eight years at the helm of the Sheboygan Theatre Company, it was time to retire, Judy asked if I would join J&G and assist them in promoting their works. Based on the very positive relationship which had bloomed, I immediately said, “Yes.”
But still the question remains, why would someone be willing to go from one side of the desk to the other, transitioning from mounting shows to convincing others to do so? The answers are quite simple. First and foremost the scripts are good. Otherwise I would not be involved. As Shakespeare said, “The play’s the thing.” That’s the bottom line. Judith Sapperstein and Gary Merway turn out wonderful, well-written, well-conceived plays and musicals that are funny, entertaining and both producer and audience-friendly.
Secondly, J&G is committed to Community Theatre. They truly want to see good theatre presented and good theatres succeed. They will work with a producing company every step of the way, from making the script, perusal and royalty process as simple as possible to solving production challenges and authoring script changes. Thirdly, with their own marketing department and complete recording facilities, they have the necessary resources to provide this assistance. Along with scripts and scores come audio tapes which range from those with and without lyrics so performers can fully appreciate the vocal melodies to those that can be used in performance. Moreover, J&G designs, produces and markets ancillary products specifically for each show to be sold at show time.
So it was an easy sell for me to join J&G, but had it not been for the commitment of AACT to the national and international networking of all entities involved in producing quality amateur theatre the connection may never have been made. So keep reading good scripts and continue networking through AACT.
About J&G Unlimited, LLC.
J&G is a licensing company representing the works of Judith Sapperstein & Gary Murway. Being a small firm, J&G has the power and flexibility to work deals with theatres that will suit their timelines AND their budgets quite nicely. Additionally, J&G keeps the directors in close contact with the authors when they need to ask questions, get approval for changes or otherwise make requests. Need to receive your materials sooner than 8 weeks? DONE! Need materials you do not need to return when the show is over? DONE! Need to NOT be nickle-and-dimed to death on all the little things? DONE! Partner with J&G today and lets get the show on the road!
Vice President, Marketing
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