What do you do with all that stuff once your show is over?

Broadway tag saleMillions 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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Comments
  • Jamie says:

    Great to see this happening on Broadway! I’ve noticed some great green movements from the film biz around the city. My personal favorite is Film Biz Recycling in Brooklyn, which is a wonderland of film props – http://www.filmbizrecycling.org/

  • Michael R says:

    What a great idea!! I’ll definitely keep my eye out for cool things to buy.

  • Randi says:

    Amazing idea! I think I just found my new favorite shopping site.

  • Scott Kirschenbaum says:

    GREAT idea–FINALLY!
    There was a painting I had wanted from a play set a few years ago, and tho I thought about calling the producer for it, I chickened out. I still regret it!!

  • George says:

    Whaaaa???

    Obviously I am not up on what’s done in the Theatrical world…

    I come from the corporate (IT) world and – what does not go into inventory for the next “production” (show) is rented…

    Sometimes there is something to sell… but it’s usually obsolete by that time it’s salable.

    I’ve only done one Off-Off-Broadway product but every costume, set piece and prop is in my inventory for the next production…

    Some pieces – like the Stage Platforms – can be used in multiple productions and I rent ’em out at 10% less than I see from other providers and the Lights and Curtains – specific to tha venue – were rented.

    And some of the pieces, like furniture, look very nice in my 17th Century British Restoration… apartment.

    Next, myt apartment will have a room devoted to La Belle Epoque!

    g

    g

  • Ron Bruguiere says:

    Company managing “Private Lives” with Maggie Smith, when it closed at the 46th Street Theatre I began the proud owner of 4 bone handle knives used by she and John Standing.

    Same situation when “Souvenir” with Deborah Kerr closed unexpectedly in Los Angeles, and I had just rented an apartment in Venice Beach, I became the owner of an iron and ironing board and two card tables from wardrobe, and some pillows used on the set. All that’s left is the iron and the board.

  • Duncan says:

    Also the brand-new Shared Independent Theater List for off-off-Broadway companies… http://www.fluxtheatre.org/2013/10/the-s-h-i-t-list-lives/

  • Randi says:

    that’s right Duncan. The LIT Fund just gave its first Community Resource Grant to the Shared Independent Theater List. The (Sh.I.T List) is a web based database where indie theater companies can buy, sell, barter etc the set pieces, costumes and props from their shows. The Beta should be ready early next year.

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Ken Davenport
Ken Davenport

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer

I'm on a mission to help 5000 shows get produced by 2025.

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