Another step forward for online Broadway Investing.

Yesterday was a big day for the Broadway Investing underworld.

I say “underworld,” because it wasn’t too long ago that in order to invest in a Broadway show, you had to know a guy who knew a guy.

Broadway Investing has been a secretive subculture for decades (which is ironic considering its risk – you’d think we’d let and want anyone willing and able to jump into our fray).  But over the last several years, thanks to the gobs of information you can find on the internet, and certain high profile stories including my crowdfunded Godspell and the JOBS act,  more and more investors from around the world have said, “Hey, I’d like to invest in Broadway.  Can I play?”

Yesterday, the Producers of the upcoming revival of On The Town, invited everyone with internet access to join the unflappable army of Broadway Investors through an online portal.

Ok, that’s not exactly true.  Everyone with internet access can view the portal, but to make an investment in On The Town or any of the other Broadway shows that I expect will be offered in the future, you have to be an accredited investor (you can read the definition of accredited investor here.)

This accredited investor portal concept has been used in other industries, but this is the first time we’ve had one for Broadway shows.  And for this first portal to have such a high profile production such as On The Town as the site’s “IPO” (if you will) is a coup.

I remember a number of folks in the Broadway Biz whispering about what I did with Godspell and how inviting the world into what we did was not “the best thing for Broadway.”  So I’ve got a feeling that the Producers behind this new platform (Howard and Janet Kagan) are probably getting whispered about today.

But I’ve gotta applaud ’em.  They’re using new technology and new legislation to help bring our industry into a new era.

What could be wrong with that?

 

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Comments
  • Howard Kagan says:

    Thanks Ken, We’ve been thinking about this since Godspell. The JOBS Act did the trick for us. I applaud you for being first.

  • Rich says:

    This is just MYOP and YMMV, but I believe there needs to be more upfront transparency, even for novice “Accredited Investors,” in b-Way investing. For example, how do individual Producers calculate Investor Recoupment & ROI for their plays? What is the variability in incremental costs used to determine recoupment? Aside from so-called ‘Theater Patrons’ interesting in altruistic b-Way investing, where ROI is of secondary importance, there are many potential accredited b-way investors sitting on the sidelines without a clue as to how to evaluate the specifics of b-Way Risk vs. Reward, i.e.,how recoupment is determined, what is ROI following recoupment, and the associated variability from show to show. Oh yes, and the adage “you have to know someone to invest in b-way” is a total, ROI-seeking investor turnoff. Want my money? Come after me, and with a transparent value proposition that I can compare to other opportunities in your arena.

  • Russell Brown says:

    Ah Ken thank you for sharing this information. Hopefully, somehow, this will help the creative side of the production process become more, well, creative too. I have long noticed that the business world is run with far more creativity than the theatrical process is (which is more like the way companies were run 100 years ago).

  • MORE POWER TO THEM! As Seth Godin said in his blog today “Part of the art of making change happen is seeing which cultural tropes are past their prime and having the guts to invent new ones. ”
    http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2014/08/skinny-sad-and-pale.html

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