A reminder that there’s (green) gold in them there hills.

I’ve been saving this article for a rainy day.

And since it has been rainy, sleety and just plain sh@tty here in the city, I thought we could all use a little pick me up.

And this one is $140 million dollars worth of a pick-me-up.

The article I’m talking about is from Crain’s, the NY business mag that has surprisingly good coverage of our business. Last spring (I told you I was holding on to this one for awhile) they did a pretty in-depth look at the financial success of Wicked, reporting that in the 10 years since it opened, the Broadway Production has recouped 1000% for the investors alone.  That’s right, a 1000-frickin’ percent return!  One of Wicked’s Broadway investors is quoted in the article as saying he doubles his money every year.  And my favorite takeaway is that Wicked has been more profitable for its investors than investing in Warren Buffet’s five star Berkshire Hathaway stock!  Take that, traditional business world!

And that’s just the Broadway production (not sure if you heard, but there are few other green girls defying gravity around the world right now – and it is Broadway industry standard that investors in an original company are afforded the right to invest in all additional companies – so start doing the math).

Why sure, Wicked is an anomaly, and you can’t expect every show to come even close to those kind of returns.  In fact, I’d be fine with my investors getting half that return!  🙂

But it’s important to know that it can happen.  And it’s important that we spread this message to the world so that people realize that why sure, investing in Broadway is risky, and ain’t for the faint of heart.  But it also isn’t putting a “match to your money,” as one potential investor once said to me.  (He since came around and invested in two shows with me – and I made him money!)

It’s also important to know that you can’t plan for the super smash like Wicked.  In fact, I’d bet that $140 million in profit that not a soul on the team knew it would be THIS big.

It reminds me of what my high school baseball coach told me when I said I wanted to hit a home run.  “Ken,” he drawled (he chewed tobacco), “The more you try for a home run, the more you strike out.  Just try and get a base hit.  Make solid contact.  Get on base.  And some day, the home run will just happen.”

That’s why I try to get up to bat as much as I can.  And you should too.

Read the full article here.


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  • Dan Radakovich says:

    Actually the general figures are even better for when a play becomes present on Broadway, even if it flops per se, the literary property gets added value from the increased likelihood of possible film production, novelization or better sales if it is already in book form, seriaization[not as big as it used to be], and if a musical the ancillary business of record/cd/file sales, radio play etc. .[had Into the Woods not gtten on the boards it is likely it would not be a film now, even with Sondheim’s work]. A flop on Broadway might be a hit movie, at any rate it has the free publicity[in two years who will recall if it was generally positive or negative] it enhances the chances, and usually backers have rights to invest or at least advanced knowledge of such to take financial advantage. But there are cerain things that can pretty much protect against failure, even thugh success may eludeone. First propiniquity to success in another form helos sales, i.e. a hit book or story or film makes transcendence of form less of a problem…ergo Disney’s theatrical successes from formerly animated scripts and Mel Brooks’ from his film oeuvres[I remain aawating the musical version of “Blazing Saddles” 🙂 [His cowriter works or did at LIU if someone wants to talk to them about it-grin!]. Wicked got the benefit of Maguire’s populari novel, a well-known base story from Baum’s work, and solid Broadway musical help with the genius of Schwartz and the entire crew. This made the incredibly complex process of transforming that novel into a piece worth showing worthwhile, as even with an admittedly clunky transitiont to stay true to the original stories, it works well enough to be, er, “popular.” 🙂 Stars were attracted by the fact that they would be noted in the roles because of the expectations, and that the crew’s competence would make their participation loook good, which enhances their careers. Seeing Joel Grey helped overcome the “er-ish” reviews ab initio…and that is the real value of star power, it can keep a work alive enough to catch on. Longevity itself has value, e.g. sSakespeare and Marlowe, or Christie’s The Mousetrap.[Well, for example, Marlowe’s Tamberlaine was improved by the early Bill Shatner’s acting in a Canadian effort, which shows ta go ya].[OK I admit my geekdom, he is still the only Captain James Tecumseh Kirk, despite Pine’s decent take on it, and his overblown “heroic” style was as valid a historical piece of acting as any method dreck]. And for that matter, Warren Buffet has been an actor too in some scenes so give some courtesy re. Berkshire Hathaway. Paul Allen can also act too for that matter[last year, Portlandia, Tralblazers episode]. Size of cast can matter too though far too much is put on this in modern drama classes, chiefly from the perceived pressure from repertory companies and so on. It is a misperception that only small cast sizes can be handled by small companies. Doubling and tripling of roles is an old theatrical tradition and it is shamefully ignored these days.
    Wo, what a digression. I suppose what I mean in summation is I am plased, but I am not particularly surprised by the Crain’s report.

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