Future generations will see the theater we give them.

In my Broadway Investing Seminar, I always take a moment to answer the question “why do people invest in Broadway shows?”

There are a bunch of reasons, from going to the opening night party, to networking to, yes, despite the cliches, making money (it is possible, and in the seminar, I teach you how).

But there’s a much more important reason.

When you are producing a Broadway show, it’s often hard to think of next month, never mind next year, or the next decade.  We’re too busy just trying to sell enough tickets to survive the short-term . . . and the long term is often forgotten.

I got a great lesson in the long term and why supporting the arts is essential from a new found friend of mine who happens to know a heck of a lot about the fine art world, and trades in it quite often.

She was teaching me about art valuations, and how that industry (and it is one, just like ours, with millions and millions and sometimes “priceless” millions at stake) functions.  And while explaining auctions and art shipping and such, she told me about a bunch of art that she had recently purchased that not a lot of other people liked.

But she loved it.

And she was concerned that if she didn’t buy it, it would probably lose its value, and the potential lessons we could learn from it, might be lost, forever.  Instead, now, the piece and the artist’s value would go up, and perhaps it would sit in a museum someday for school children, and art students, and your everyday Joe and Jane to be able to see it for decades to come.

When you work on Broadway, amidst the Mamma Mias and the Mary Poppinses, it’s easy to forget that Broadway, like it or not, is where theatrical history is being written, every single day.  The shows on Broadway are more likely to be seen by more people, more likely to get more press, and more likely to be produced around the world.

We’re producing the shows today that future generations will see on stages near them tomorrow.

And that’s why we have to support them, to produce them, to invest in them, and to buy tickets to them.

What plays do you want your children . . . and your grandchildren . . . to study in school?   What musicals do you want them to perform?  What plays do you want performed in foreign nations?  What authors do you want to be able to write more plays?

It’s up to all of us.  With every check we write, with every ticket we buy, with every show we produce, we are writing the future history book of the American World’s Theater.

It’s an awesomely big responsibility.  But I think we’re up for it.

 

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Comments
  • John David says:

    Ken,
    Another amazing post.
    Your words are motivating!
    It is human action and passion that assemble our future.
    Your leadership is helping to make sure our future is amazing!
    Thanks for all you do.
    John

  • Walt Frasier says:

    So true. I have recently sat through a lot stinkers but a few have really scream, “I intend to be year long after you are gone!”

    I finally saw Matilda, baby sitting my 7yo niece for the week. The whole time i sat through i thought – GENIUS! this show 20-100 years form now is going to out do them all. Songs are relatively easy to sing, a story enjoyed by all ages, great comedy with enough drama, and relatively inexpensive to produce when need be because the book and score were good enough (Absolutely great) to do scaled down w/o the bells and whistles.

    These days i see show after show that may find its niche audience (or doesn’t) but could never survive past Broadway. Can you even imagine touring Spiderman, let alone a local college. Take away the areal show and you really have nothing. The same 7yo niece fell asleep in the solos and duets.

  • janis says:

    Like Hollywood, twenty first century Broadway is at a crossroad. Will it follow the route of Hollywood by abandoning the long term value of great story with meaning and pursue only the quick profit of spectacle and glittered up revival? Or will it separate itself from Hollywood and return to the long term value of meaningful stories that produce not only immediate profit, but long term value?

    We descend from generations of storytellers and we long for meaning. Great stories are rare and many are tragedies. Profits come more slowly, but remain in the heart forever.

    Glittered up revivals and spectaculars flare quickly and burn bright, but are soon extinguished leaving little or no lasting value. Movie houses are empty. Bring Broadway back.

  • Tony Valcarcel says:

    I call NYC the Colosseum of the theatre because that’s where the ‘proven’ go to either die or ascend into greatness.

    Today’s Producers and Investors can better predict the chance of success of a new show by cherry picking shows from regional theatres’ successful repertoires.

    Come on, really. Let’s be real about the true process of today’s Broadway: You scout. You sign. You shine.

    Or you just RE-produce something that would look cool on stage. That one’s quite silly, but hey, it makes money. I get it.

    The bottom line: Regional Theatre’s make the history. Broadway shines the light.

  • noach reshef says:

    Not really Tony I don’t see most of the regional theaters doing Kinky Boots, and Lion King (the Broadway’s king )is simply not for off-
    Broadway but on the other hand when you are out of Broadway like me that I am off-off-off Broadway you have to try to be in Broadway! ahahahah

  • Patrick Shea says:

    It’s unfortunate that rock music is so oniversally popular totally. Unfortunately,
    it has invaded Broadway scores. Will it hold
    up? From Kern to Sondheim & in-between the
    golden scores from the eternal composers will
    prevail, as will the best of the rock!

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