Image Credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBCHi again Apprentice fans! This week was our most exciting yet – full of surprise plot twists and game changers…and I really hope that you enjoyed watching.
One of New York’s main attractions is Broadway – the most famous theater district in the world and the most notoriously difficult place to “make it” in show business. To deliver the task this week, my father, Don and I met the remaining contestants at the famed Shubert Theatre on Broadway, where the Tony-award winning show Memphis is currently playing. My father saw it recently and loved it – so we thought it was appropriate to bring everyone there.
Developing a musical and bringing it to Broadway is a long, arduous process. This week’s task was based on an initial, yet critical step, called a “backer’s audition” – where a small part of the score and songs are performed to get investors to put up money for a new musical. The contestants were to produce this “audition” without the help of directors, producers or designers – just a score and a script….truly a way to highlight the music in the musical!
The judges this week were heavy hitters in the entertainment business – John Yonover, the producer of Memphis, Daryl Roth, a producer of Pulitzer Prize winning plays, and Kristin Chenoweth, an award-winning television, film and Broadway actress.
Liza was chosen as PM for Fortitude and Steuart for Octane. The task was to be judged on the marketing materials created and the overall presentation and performance at the backer’s audition. Steuart was very confident that his strong entrepreneurial background would be helpful. Maybe too confident?
Surprise Plot Twist #1
Fortitude met with composer Ryan Scott Oliver, who wrote a “dark deconstruction” of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, reset in 1929 Boston. The concept sounded like a tough sell and Ryan himself seemed to get the difficulty of the process. The most shocking thing that happened in the Fortitude meeting was the realization that Liza had never seen a Broadway show and didn’t know how a production “worked.” This was met by stunned silence by her teammates as well as the composer. This was an ominous moment and quite a plot twist – I really didn’t know what the women were going to do with this one.
Thankfully, Stephanie had a strong background in music, with over thirty years of experience, having attended the Royal Conservatory of Music. Liza delegated her to detail work and creating marketing materials, but only after she had chosen the most suitable music for the audition. It was difficult to keep the faith in the women for this one.
Surprise Plot Twist #2
Octane met with Kristin Chenoweth, who had written a musical about an 11-year-old girl who has met a 12-year-old boy—and she is head over heels in love with him. Adorable!
Steuart was worried about David, considering the team’s previous experiences with him, but he was determined to sell Kristin’s script to the best of their ability. Never one to be underestimated, David came up with some solid, creative ideas and the team let him flow with them. It was remarkable, but David seemed to keep to last week’s word of helping his team and he helped to make the creative materials strong and informative. Another strange twist…
Who’s in Charge Here?
When Don visited the women’s team, he was taken aback when Brandy took him through the presentation, and not Liza. He pointedly brought up the fact that it wasn’t a good idea, and could come back to haunt Liza as PM.
When I visited Octane, I must say that I was truly surprised and impressed. David was playing a more vocal, vital role, and considering after being ripped apart in last week’s boardroom, he’s got a lot of confidence. I guess last week’s boardroom was a wake up call for David – better late than never. My main concern was that Steuart didn’t step up to the plate enough – we’d have to see how that played out.
Octane did their backer audition first, and were off to bad start with Steuart stumbling over his words in his introductory presentation, and failing to sell the show. The performance, however, went without a glitch and was warmly received, and their promotional materials were very good.
Fortitude also met with a warm reception for the music—Stephanie had chosen four very strong songs, and the presentation was good. However, in a huge mistake, their promotional materials failed to list any contact numbers. Since this was an audition to attract investors, that was a fatal error.
David was singled out as having “an amazing comeback, one of the best comebacks I’ve seen in the history of The Apprentice” as my father said. He also mentioned the judges thought the men’s promotional materials were excellent as well as informative. My father had both teams review each other’s work and it was clear that Octane’s materials were superior. He also gave the judges’ final word: it was two to one with Daryl and John liking Octane’s work and Kristin liking Fortitude’s – a really great win for Octane! As Project Manager, Steuart will get to meet with Larry Young, President and CEO of Snapple – what a fantastic reward!
Fire #8 and Surprise Plot Twist #3
What transpired during this week’s firing was Broadway show-worthy. When we all brought up Fortitude’s major oversight in not including contact information, Mahsa went off to the extent that Brandy told her that she must think this is “The Mahsa Show.” Don agreed that her approach was definitely self-centered, which had been evidenced on several occasions. My father told her she was abrasive, and Mahsa’s simple defense was that this was “her personality.” These were not the fireworks, though.
After the arguments about her abrasiveness, it surfaced that Mahsa had told the men’s team in a previous episode how much money the women had made on the task before the Boardroom. She then said she’d specifically told Clint and that he had told her how much money the men’s team had made. As the men were watching the scene from their monitor in the suite, Clint went ballistic— shouting “that’s a lie!”— and the men left their suite and walked right back into the Boardroom. This was an Apprentice first! Clint was adamant that he had not betrayed his team and it was clear that Mahsa was trying to alter the dynamics of the game.
Two things that my father HATES are dishonesty and disloyalty. He told Mahsa that it was disloyal to her team to do what she did, and she said it was a lapse of judgment. My father mentioned she’d had several such lapses and fired her. It didn’t seem like anyone was too sorry to see her go. Mahsa is strong and smart, but proved that she wasn’t a team player. That said, I am very confident that Mahsa will learn from this experience and experience great success in her future career. I wish her all the best in her future endeavors.
Enjoy your weekend, and I look forward to seeing you in the Boardroom next week!
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