The Broadway Producer Pick List 2019!

We’ve done a lot of fun things on this blog over the years, but the Broadway Producer Pick List is one of our favorites.

See, every year, our office receives a ton of scripts from all sorts of folks . . .  agents, friends, investors, TheaterMakers, not to mention the cold submissions we get.

We work very hard to go through them all.  It takes us a while, as you can imagine, but we do get to everything eventually (please have patience, my friends!).  And while the process is a bit like panning for gold, we do get a lot of good, solid nuggets.

The problem is?  I can’t produce everything . . . even if I wanted to!  And I’m also . . . this may be hard for some playwrights to understand, I’m actually not the best Producer for some shows.

That doesn’t mean just because we “pass” on something that it isn’t good.  It means it just isn’t for us . . . right now.

But it might be right for someone else . . . a Producer, a Regional Theater, an agent, etc.

That’s why a few years ago we started the Producer Pick List to highlight the 10 Best Plays or Musicals we read in the previous year that we are not going to pick up, for one reason or another (and quality ain’t got nothing to do with it – to read more about how we choose the shows on this list, check out my blog post from 2016.)

By listing these shows here, our hope is that they will find the home they deserve, and the writer will get the attention he/she/they deserve.

The official list for 2019 is below, along with links to the material from each show, all for your reading/listening and, hopefully, producing pleasure.

And hey – even if you can’t produce one of these shows – drop the writer a line and say that you like their stuff and to keep you in mind for the future. It’s my belief that whether or not these shows “make it,” the writers certainly will.  Besides, telling someone you like what they’re doing is just great karma and might help someone keep making theater.

Congratulations to everyone on the list and here’s to productions for all of them in 2020!

The Producer Pick List of 2019

  1. Parallel Lines by Clé
  2. Fable by Doug Devita
  3. Emergency by Jacob and Jeff Foy
  4. The Bloody Deed of 1857 by Elise Gainer
  5. Hello Kitty Must Die by Gail Rastorfer and Kurt Johns
  6. Between Panic and Desire by Bear Kosik
  7. Meet Your Mountain by Rockwell and Rose
  8. Allan Carr: Can’t Stop The Stories by Michael Shayne
  9. Rewind by Michael DiGaetano and Adam Shenk
  10. When the Silence Sings by Rene Zabel

And to see who’s made the list in the past, click here for 2016 and 2018.

Something I haven’t done in awhile.

For those of you new to the blog, one of the first things I did on Broadway that got some national (and even international) attention was my crowd-funded Godspell

One of the reasons I chose that massive legal and logistical undertaking was because, well, Stephen Schwartz told me that Godspell was about a community of people coming together . . . so I wanted to bring together the largest community of Broadway Investors ever (I’m a big fan of marrying your marketing message with your artistic message).

And the other reason I did it was because I had this theory.  See, I believed there were thousands and thousands of people out there who were interested in investing in Broadway shows, but . . .

1) They didn’t know who to talk to about it.

and . . .

2) They didn’t know how it worked!

The response to the Godspell offering was overwhelming, to say the least, and it proved my theory correct.  Investing in Broadway shows has, in the past, been for a very select group of folks, and often we kept more people out than we invited in.  And even when new folks got into the ‘club’ they often didn’t know what was happening after they wrote the check!

Since then, Broadway has gone through one of the biggest booms in its history and interest in Broadway Investing has skyrocketed.  Because when any industry posts numbers in the billions as we have, people come from all over hoping to find “the next Hamilton.”

And whenever you rush into anything, you can often make mistakes.

That’s what led me to develop a workshop on Broadway Investing several years ago, and eventually publish this book, Broadway Investing 101, a best seller on Amazon.com and the only book on Broadway Investing on the market.

But books are no substitute for the live, in-person, experience, right?  (We all love the theater, don’t we?)

That’s why, we’re reviving the Broadway Investing Workshop!  And we’ve got TWO dates coming up . . .

Tuesday, March 10th at 7 PM

Monday, April 6th at 7 PM

In this Broadway Investing workshop, you’ll learn

  • The myths of Broadway investing, and how exactly the money flows
  • Who to talk to and where to find Broadway investment opportunities
  • How to decide if an investment opportunity is right for you
  • Simple strategies to mitigate your risk and increase your chances of profitability
  • How to maximize the perks of Broadway investing

If you are interested in learning more about Broadway Investing, whether you’re thinking about investing yourself or if you’re just curious about how shows like Hamilton are funded, click here to join us for either date.

The seminar is $99 and we’re keeping the group small to make sure I can answer all your questions.

Oh, and everyone who comes will get a free copy of my book.

So grab your seat now.

 

(Interested in learning about Broadway investing, but can’t attend the live seminar on March 10th or April 6th? Click here to get your copy of my book “Broadway Investing 101: How to Make Theater and Yes, Even Make Money” on Amazon.)

Broadway Grosses w/e 2/09/2020 – A Utopic Week

Last week overall box office figures increased by just under $1M. The big winner was David Byrne’s American Utopia which drew an average ticket price of $210.55. Total haul for the 7 performances was $1,416,344, a record for the house.

Girl From the North Country joined the boards last week and brought in $316,215 for 3 performances at the Belasco.

You can find the rest of the figures below, courtesy of The Broadway League:

Show Name Gross  TotalAttn  %Capacity AvgPdAdm
A SOLDIER’S PLAY $409,337.10 5,299 91.87% $77.25
AIN’T TOO PROUD $1,199,875.28 10,279 90.23% $116.73
ALADDIN $1,076,315.46 13,075 94.64% $82.32
AMERICAN UTOPIA $1,416,343.50 6,727 100.00% $210.55
BEETLEJUICE $1,044,068.02 11,492 96.22% $90.85
CHICAGO $624,465.00 7,565 87.56% $82.55
COME FROM AWAY $826,621.11 8,471 101.23% $97.58
DEAR EVAN HANSEN $966,480.70 7,833 99.50% $123.39
FROZEN $994,862.40 12,575 93.34% $79.11
GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY $316,215.40 2,867 95.76% $110.29
GRAND HORIZONS $231,782.63 3,736 79.83% $62.04
HADESTOWN $1,092,031.00 7,409 100.89% $147.39
HAMILTON $2,692,357.00 10,755 101.54% $250.34
HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD, PARTS ONE AND TWO $1,012,207.00 12,976 100.00% $78.01
JAGGED LITTLE PILL $912,401.16 8,765 97.39% $104.10
MEAN GIRLS $833,703.80 9,297 94.87% $89.67
MOULIN ROUGE! $1,630,284.00 10,416 100.00% $156.52
MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON $544,474.70 4,459 98.61% $122.11
THE BOOK OF MORMON $967,597.55 8,096 96.66% $119.52
THE INHERITANCE $308,715.02 4,164 49.67% $74.14
THE LION KING $1,419,206.00 12,769 94.11% $111.14
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA $734,139.14 10,035 78.15% $73.16
TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL $1,429,465.00 10,556 89.28% $135.42
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD $1,356,854.00 11,213 97.67% $121.01
WEST SIDE STORY $1,521,431.00 13,920 100.00% $109.30
WICKED $1,410,131.50 14,964 97.12% $94.23
TOTALS $26,971,364.47 239,713 93.31% $112.26
+/- THIS WEEK LAST SEASON -$689,893.41      
PERCENTAGE +/- THIS WEEK LAST SEASON -2.49%      

Today’s blog was guest-written by Ryan Conway, President of Architect Theatrical. Find out more here!

3 Reasons Why The Hamilton Movie is Great for Broadway.

There was big news to begin this week, and it was broken by the maestro himself.  In case you missed it, here’s what Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted on Monday:

With just those few fragmented sentences, the internet blew up as more specifics about the all-out war for the rights emerged.  Disney won the bloody battle, and it only cost them . . . “wait for it” . . . $75mm.

Before you start trying to figure out how much Lin-Manuel will make on that payout or what the Broadway Investors will earn, let’s look at the macro of it all first.

Because this deal is one of the most significant things to happen to Broadway since . . . well . . . Hamilton itself.

And here are just three reasons why this mega Hamilton movie deal is grrrrrrrreat for all of Broadway, not just those folks who get a piece of that $75mm pie:

  1. The story and therefore stories go on. The commercial and artistic success of Hamilton was a lightning rod of attention from theatergoers and media outlets all over the world.  I remember before and after it opened, seeing article after article in every publication I read or every show I watched.  I even think they mentioned the show in Golf Digest!  One reporter told me, “We just keep writing Hamilton articles because that’s all anyone wants to read!”  That kind of focus on a show puts a focus on Broadway overall.  Hamilton made our industry very cool.And just when the stories had cooled in the other direction, here comes this even bigger one. And just wait until the movie is released in 2021!The Producers and Creators could easily have waited another decade to release the film (like when they wanted a steroid shot to their box office since we have data that film releases always boost box office grosses).  By getting it in movie theaters early, they will keep the spotlight on the show (of course), but on all of us at the same time.  So tip your revolutionary hat to ’em.
  2. They ARE giving away their shot . . . or WHAT they shot! Disney isn’t making a new movie.  They are taking what was already shot early in the run with that amazing original cast!  Yes, the Producers had the foresight to put it down on film in case they wanted to, oh I don’t know, sell it for $75mm someday!!!  (Side note – the $75mm purchase price makes a lot more sense now, doesn’t it . . . because Disney could have easily spent $100mm to make the film.  This way they’re getting one already in the can!)What this is going to demonstrate is that there is tremendous value in putting our content down on video for later downstream revenue.  Currently, not every show can afford to do this, but the success of Hamilton will hopefully get all the parties to the table to find a way to record ALL shows for future use.  Actors, Investors, Stagehands . . .and Audiences . . . can all benefit.
  3. About that $75mm. Let’s talk about that elephant-sized load of cash in the room.  $75mm looks like it is the biggest film acquisition deal . . . in the history of the world!  And you know what got Disney to pony up that kind of cash?  Not Star Wars.  Not Avatar.  But a musical.  A Broadway freakin’ musical.Once again, this deal proves that Broadway isn’t just big business . . . it just might be the biggest business in the entertainment medium . . . because it has the most upside.  Our stars may not have as many Insta followers as an actor in the latest Marvel movie . . . but the fact is, there’s a lot of money to be made here.  And this deal proves it.And when deals like this are announced in any industry, more money flocks to said industry.  Companies, Investors, Artists, etc. will all be trying to find the next Hamilton.  And hopefully this influx of resources and talent will allow our industry to take even greater risks and create even greater art.  And maybe sell it for $80mm.

    BONUS!  Here’s a 4th reason why this deal is aw-aw-awesome for everyone.

  4. Everyone will get to see it. Hamilton is the Cartier or Tiffany’s of Broadway musicals.  Not everyone can afford to see it.  But now they can.  This movie will educate and inspire a whole new generation of artists and theatergoers to get involved with the arts . . . and especially a diverse generation.  In fact, this movie could be the greatest tool we have to diversify the theater in the next decade.

You looking forward to the Hamilton movie?  Do you think it’s good for Broadway?  Comment below.

– – – – –

If you’re interested in learning how that $75mm trickles down to its Broadway Investors, click here to learn how the money from these kinds of deals flows.

 

What is the recoupment rate of REVIVALS in the last ten years? Part III

When I first started producing shows and had to talk to potential investors, I put musicals into two different metaphorical buckets to make the risk levels easier to understand.

I described the two categories of musicals (original and revival) like this:

New musicals were like stocks.  More risk, but a potential for a greater return.

Revivals of musicals were like bonds.  Less risk, but the upside was limited (lack of subsidiary rights participation, shorter runs, etc.)

Since then, I’ve produced new musicals and three revivals (Godspell, Spring Awakening and Once on This Island).

My experience with these shows as well as watching what has happened with the other revivals over the past few seasons has given me that reach-for-the-Tums uneasy feeling.

So, for this third blog in our three-part Recoupment Study (See Part I and Part II here), I decided to dig into the recoupment rate of Broadway musical revivals over the last ten years.

Here’s what I found out.

In the past ten seasons on Broadway, the recoupment rate for Broadway musicals is . . . drumroll please . . . 18.52%.

Did you pop a Tums yet?  Cuz I just downed four.

See, we know that the average recoupment rate on Broadway is 20% . . . and sure, sure, this revival recoupment rate isn’t that much under 20%, but it is under!  And we’re talking about revivals!  The “bonds” of Broadway!  A revival has brand awareness!  It also has a limited upside!  So it should be less risky.  But, in the past several years it has been more difficult to get your money back on a revival than a new musical.

Argh.

I wasn’t satisfied with just this info, so I decided to dig into this subject a little shallower . . . meaning I examined the data over the last 5 years to see if I could see a trend from the 10-year span to the five-year span.  What did I discover?

In the past five seasons on Broadway, the recoupment rate for Broadway musical revivals is . . . drumroll please . . . 16.67%.

That’s right.  It’s getting HARDER for revivals of musicals to get their money back on Broadway . . . despite their limited upside.

What does this mean?

It doesn’t mean that we should stop producing or investing in revivals.  But if we are going to produce a revival or invest in one, it does mean that we need to structure our deals with the Authors, Stars, Vendors, etc. differently, because the safety of a pre-existing theatrical brand isn’t enough anymore.  Based on this data, Producers and investors are going to need more of a reason to jump into a revival, or they will only focus on new shows . . . and leave the revivals to the Non-Profits.

Or maybe, as Little Shop and Fiddler have proven, the way to produce a revival today is to do it Off Broadway and not on.

But we need to do something, because while I am so proud of the three revivals I produced, one of which got me a Tony Award, the numbers have spoken and they are saying to this Broadway Producer, “Don’t produce another one.”

It’s hard not to listen to numbers.

– – – – –

Want to learn more about investing in Broadway, including how it works and tips on how to pick a “winner”?  Read the only book ever written on the subject.  Click 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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