Special Saturday Post: A seminar summary.

Our seminar schedule has been all over the map recently, so I wanted to spell it out clearly for you (and for me, frankly, so I know what I'm talking about, and where I'm talking about it!).

So here's the scoop on the upcoming seminars in New York City and other locations:

Get Your Show Off The Ground – New York City

Saturday, June 25th                 
Saturday, September 17th
Saturday, November 19th

Time:  2 – 6PM
Location:  Davenport Studio

Book it!  


Get Your Show Off The Ground – Minneapolis

Sunday, May 15th 

Time:  1 – 3PM
Location:  The Guthrie

Book it!  

Get Your Show Off The Ground – London

Sunday, June 6th

Time:  7 – 10PM
Location:  TBD

Book it!  

Broadway Investing 101 – New York City

Tuesday, May 3rd
Tuesday, May 31st
Tuesday, June 28th
Tuesday, July 26th
Tuesday, August 30th

Time:  6:30 – 8PM
Location:   Davenport Studio

Book it!

Broadway Investing 101 – Minneapolis

Sunday, May 15th

Time:  6:30 – 8PM
Location:  The Guthrie

Book it!

 

To learn more about the seminars, and to book your spot, click here!

Can't make a seminar?  I offer consulting services both in person and on the phone, both to individuals and groups.  Click here.


By request: Broadway Investing 101 – The Seminar

Ever since I started the blog, I’ve gotten questions about all sorts of stuff relating to Broadway shows from how to create a budget (start by mastering excel), to how much an ad in the New York Times costs (too much), and so on.

When I get similar questions from multiple readers, I take that as a sign that a whole bunch of you are facing the same issue, so I answer the question in a post (see the “Questions From Readers” category).

About a year ago, I posted a two part response to several reader’s inquiries about how to invest in a Broadway show.  It was my attempt to demystify the investment process and also give potential investors the information they need to make a more informed decision before they put money in a show.

Well, as you can probably imagine, ever since I announced what I am doing with Godspell, the number of questions I’ve received regarding investing in Broadway shows has increased . . . oh . . . at least 10 fold.

So this week I sat down to write a blog addressing some of the questions about Broadway investing that I have received over the past few months.

An hour in, I was still staring at a blank screen.

Since the questions were on such a variety of issues and required follow up questions, there just wasn’t a way to concisely address them all.

Unless . . .

What if  we took the online conversation and brought it offline?  What if we got in a room?

So that’s what we’re doing!

On Tuesday, April 26th, I’ll be hosting our first Broadway Investing seminar.

During the seminar, I’ll discuss general Broadway investment structures, agreements, some of the risks of investing in Broadway shows, how to mitigate those risks, what I look for when I make a Broadway investment, perks to ask for when you invest, and more.

In addition to hearing my take on Broadway investing, I’m bringing a couple of experts in to speak as well.

I’ll have a lawyer from a top law office, as well as an accountant from FK Partners (one of Broadway’s powerhouse accounting firms), to answer any specific questions regarding legal or tax issues you may have.

And we’ll have some time to mingle and network as well.

The seminar is great for Producers, people thinking about producing, as well as anyone who has ever thought about investing in a Broadway show.

Seating at this event is very limited.  Based on the number of people who have expressed interest in the topic of investing in a Broadway show over the past few months, I do expect that this seminar will sell out fast.  So sign up today.

Here are the details:

Broadway Investing 101
Tuesday April 26th
6:30 – 8:00 PM
Davenport Studio
250 West 49th St. Suite #302 (Between 8th – 9th Aves)
$20

Click here to get your seat today.

See you there!

UPDATE – Due to popular demand, additional dates for the seminar have been added.  Broadway Investing 101 will also be held on May 3rd and May 17th at the same times and locations as above.  There will also be LA seminars on April 16th and 28th.

——

FUN STUFF:

– Enter The Sunday Giveaway!  Win two tickets to Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo on Broadway starring Robin Williams!  Enter today.

– Take the seminar in NYC on June 25th!  Take the seminar in London on June 6th!

 

Our audience isn’t the only thing on Broadway that is getting older.

The “graying” of audiences has been of concern to arts producers of all kinds for years.  The big question has been. . . what happens when that audience disappears?  And will there be another to replace it?

Today’s kids are growing up with many more entertainment options, and they are participating in the arts less and less, which might mean smaller audiences in our future.

But that’s not what this blog is about.

I was at an opening night recently and I scanned the room and looked at all the producers, investors, angels, backers, or whatever you want to call them.

And I realized very quickly that they were graying too.

Makes sense, right?  Those that back Broadway musicals are usually just passionate theatergoers with even more disposable income than the average ticket buyer, and with more of a tolerance for risk with their investments.

But if they are graying too . . . what happens when these investors disappear?  Will their children carry on the tradition?  Are we doing enough to cultivate a new generation of Broadway backers?

Non-profits do this better than the commercial theater, with programs specifically designed to get the younger patron on the backing bandwagon, so they will support the company for years.

The commercial theater needs to catch up and create ways to inspire a new generation of investors.

How?

I’ve got an idea.  Make it less of a long shot to make some money and prove to them it’s possible with statistics, and they’ll come running and funding . . . no matter what color hair they have.

—–

– Enter The Sunday Giveaway!  Win 2 tickets to see Rain on Broadway!  Click here and enter today!

– The next Get Your Show Off The Ground seminar is Saturday, April 2nd.  Only a few spots left!  Register today.

The Broadway Index Fund – Profitable or Not?

Broadway is a risky investment.

Duh.

But Broadway can also be ‘wicked’ profitable.

Double-duh.

But here’s the question that I’d like to see answered . . . because if the answer is what I think it is, I believe it could:

1) legitimize the business model of the industry

2) bring a whole new crop of investors to our biz

The question is:  is Broadway, as an overall asset class, profitable over the long term?

In other words, if you could buy shares of a Broadway index fund, like you can with the Dow or the S&P, and own a piece of every show, would you end up in the black or the red?

This data could be oh so valuable.  That’s why I believe Broadway should hire an independent analyst to do the following:

Examine the profitability (or lack thereof) of every single Broadway show from a set period in time . . . Let’s say, 1980.  Take the 3% return on one show and add it to the 140% return on another with the 50% return on the next and so on and so forth . . . right through to the current day.  Average it out and bingo . . . we’d see what the overall profitability of the entire industry is over this 30 year period.

My bet?  It would be a positive number, because the number of mega hits (Wicked, Phantom, Les Miz, Rent, etc.) and their massive ROIs would more than make up for the losers, resulting in a profitable industry for investors.

And for an investor, that’s more exciting than a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition at a Boy Scout retreat.

Because then the pitch becomes . . . if the industry makes money, then smart investors that chose wisely, and invested with the right Producers and the right projects, could beat the ‘market’ (just like stock market investors try and beat the indexes) . . . as long as they invested for the long term and diversified over many shows.  But they are starting from a positive place.  The “market” makes money. Now it’s up to you to make it or lose it, just like any other financial market.

Proving to people that your industry and your company is profitable is the best way to attract more capital, which allows you to produce more product . . . including riskier product that pushes the boundaries of what audiences might not expect they want to see (like non-star driven vehicles, new plays, etc.).

What’s the problem with the above?  Well, I’d guess that the biggest obstacle would be getting the Producers (especially of those mega-hits) to share the data on how much they’ve made.  But that’s why an independent analyst would be key.  The data would only be submitted to a third party, non-industry, Price-Waterhouse style team that would only release aggregate results.

It only works if everyone is involved . . . but, frankly, everyone should be.  This kind of data could not only get us a seat at the big kids table . . . but it might even get us double dessert.

What do you think? Think we’d be profitable over the last 30 years?  Last 50 years?  Last 10?

– – – –

Upcoming Get Your Show Off The Ground Seminars

NYC – This Saturday, January 8th.  Register today.  ONLY 2 SPOTS LEFT.

CHICAGO – Saturday, January 15th.  Register today..  VERY FEW SPOTS LEFT.

LA – Saturday, January 29th.  Register today.  VERY FEW SPOTS LEFT.

For more info on the seminars, click here.

 

The Most Performed Play in High Schools – a follow up.

Yesterday, I listed the ETA’s most performed plays and musicals in high schools.

What surprised so many people about this list was that the play that topped even Shakespeare for the number one slot was Almost Maine, a play by the Maine-bred, very talented and oft seen on Law & Order, John Cariani.

The NY Times even wrote an article about the Maine phenomenon.

What is so special about this play being the most performed high school play in the US?

Well, for starters, you’ve probably never heard of it . . . because it flopped Off-Broadway in 2006 after running for only 67 performances.

As the NY Times article details, it lost its entire $800,000 investment.

What the NY Times article did not say was how much of that investment had been recouped since the play has become the most performed high school play in the US.

The article did say that Maine has done well for the author, which is fantastic news, because I’m a fan of John’s and hope that he writes another play soon.

But those author royalties would be buptkus if it weren’t for the original investors and if it weren’t for the original Producer (who, if this is a traditional agreement, won’t see any money until after the show recoups . . . if it recoups).

It’s great that the play has been able to support John over the years, and I hope it continues to do so.  But there has got to be a way that these plays that flop in NYC but have long lives elsewhere can provide some support to the Producers, while at the same time returning as much money to the investors as possible.

The goal of the subsidiary royalty revenue stream for authors is to keep them writing, so they aren’t forced to take a day job.

Shouldn’t there be something similar for the Producer?  Wouldn’t that allow the Producer to produce more often, just like it allows the author to write more often?  And shouldn’t they receive something for launching the project in the first place?

There doesn’t have to be something similar, obviously.  Because there isn’t one.

But that may also be why the crop of career Producers is so small.

Read Almost Maine here.  See what all the high schools are fussing about, and support a new playwright (and hopefully a Producer) in the process.

Read the other 9 most produced plays and musical in high schools by clicking here.

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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