A few weeks ago we wrote about the Funding Conundrum—the financing of Broadway plays.
There is a wonderful article in today’s (August 16-17, 2014) The New York Times about investing in plays, So You’d Like to Invest in Broadway?
All of this article is based on the present Federal rules of investing, where the only people eligible to invest are those who earn at least $200,000 a year and have a net worth of over $1million!
This is so different from the way it used to be when everyone could invest—and the average investment was probably around $1,200! For example, I invested $1250 in Fiddler on the Roof in 1964 and it is still paying yearly dividends, making dozens of times its investment. Of course, not every play is Fiddler on the Roof. However, in addition to making money very often plays have a real importance that makes one want to bring them to the stage—for artistic and political reasons.
For example, at this moment I would love to do a play about Ferguson, Missouri—I would love to show the upbringing of Michael Brown, and perhaps the upbringing of the man who shot him. That way we would get an extremely comprehensive view of how this terrible happening came to pass. As we commented earlier in Funding Conundrum, we are waiting for October, when the Federal rules are to be rewritten, allowing for “real” people to help bring plays to Broadway.
I have produced 28 plays in New York—and even more throughout the country—and I would say that most of them were produced for a reason that is not totally monetary (although, it is a nice side perk!). Our plays were all produced because we cared about the messages that these plays presented to the audience. This investor rule change will open up the theatre once more as a platform for political thought.