What do you do with all that stuff once your show is over?
Millions of dollars go into making a Broadway show. And designers and directors pride themselves on making sure everything that appears on that stage is juuuuuust right, which means unique (aka expensive) sets, props, and costumes.
And then the shows close.
So what happens to all that stuff?
A lot of it gets trashed. Some gets donated to non-profit orgs like Materials for the Arts. And just recently, some of it is getting sold.
As it should.
A Producer’s job is to try and find as many ways to monetize his or her product, and a show’s physical elements have a great amount of value . . . especially to fans of the production or other companies looking to produce shows that have similar styles.
So some Producers have taken to auctioning off those materials in order to return more money to their investors (always a good thing). I’ve done this on three separate occasions to rousing success with in-person and online “tag sales” at the closing of Altar Boyz (we must have had 165 pairs of designer jeans from our five year run) and Godspell. We even did online auctions for some of the props in Macbeth. And each of those examples have netted several thousands of dollars, which went right back into investors pockets (and we always throw a little to charity as well).
And look at this! A brand new website was launched recently by Broadway designers called BroadwayDesignExchange, which allows designers to sell some of their pieces from their shows that they’ve held on to, including original models, props and more.
eBay is always an option as well to sell your show’s wares. If you’re an Annie fan and in the market for a new chandelier, you can have the one that hung at the Palace for a cool $10k (it is a Swarovski after all). Check out their auction here.
All of this is a relatively new concept. I think people have thought it’s a little too lowbrow to sell stuff after a show has shut down. It felt a little like a rummage sale . . . a little cheap . . . a little beneath Broadway.
But what’s really beneath Broadway is not taking every opportunity we have to monetize our shows, especially the ones that closed prematurely.
So when your show is over, don’t hesitate to sell your stuff. It’s certainly not going to cut into your ticket sales.
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