Most articles about investing in the theater are all about how bonkers one has to be to put money in a Broadway or Off-Broadway show. Well, imagine my surprizzle when I read this article in the NY Times about the fantastic returns investors in the original Fantasticks have received over the last fifty radish-filled years.
The Times article details how the return of The Fantasticks has beat the S&P 500 over the last half-a-century, and helped one investor “put our three children through college.”
Some of my other favorite points in the article:
- Smaller shows may make less in dollars than bigger shows, but the percentage return can be greater and the risk is lower.
- The Fantasticks, one of the most successful shows of all time, had trouble finding investors, and struggled to get off the ground. Its Producer almost closed the show on several occasions.
- The original investors did it for love, not expecting great returns, just hoping “to earn our $330 back and get free tickets to a couple of performances.”
As I often tell my investors, goldmines like The Fantasticks are hard to find, but they are out there. There is another Fantasticks, another Wicked, another August: Osage County being written right now (hopefully by one of you!). If you learn the ins and outs of the numbers, only invest in what you love, and stay in the game for the long term, you’ll find one sooner or later. (That’s the same advice famed mutual fund manager, Peter Lynch, would give you for picking stocks, by the way.)
Is investing in Broadway and Off-Broadway shows risky? Yes. I’m sure those original fantastic investors did what most producers encourage all their investors to do: write a check that you don’t expect to see again. But as I like to say, investing in shows is the riskiest investment you’ll love to make.
Congratulations on the anniversary, Fantasticks. And thanks for being part of the data that demonstrates why entertainment should be considered its own asset class in everyone’s portfolio.
To read the NY Times article, click here.