STREET, WHERETHE PRODUCERS
HOPE TOSUCCEED IN BUSINESSWITHOUT REALLY TRYINGBUTOFTEN STRUGGLE TO PAY THERENT AND THEIR STAFF OFMUSIC MEN,DREAMGIRLSANDCHORUS LINES.
HEN THE CURTAINgoes up on any givenproduction, an audi-ence is silenced into akind of awe and reverie—what they don’t know iswhat happens behind theproduction in the weeksleading up to opening night.While NBC’s hit show
(picked up for a second season)chronicles the evolution of aBroadway musical with theatri-cal impresarios tossing martinis and the creativeteam wrapped up in torrid love a
airs, the real nutsand bolts of building a Broadway showstopper is anever-evolving puzzle of artistry, ﬁnance and goodold-fashioned luck.If there was a tried and true formula, all 40 of Broadway’s theaters would be occupied and at capac-ity all the time. Theater is a wild card, though, whichperhaps makes it that much more elusive for thosewho want—and can a
ord—to invest, it also makesit nearly impossible to predict a success or failure. Atight economy over the last several years has led tomore hands in the pot to get a show o
the groundbut those investors are on to something—but Broad-way is by no means bankrupt. In fact, last year itsgross earnings topped $1 billion, even in the midst of a recession. Nevertheless, the line between investorand producer has blurred—what once was a profes-sion has become fair game for smalltime “donors.”This season, shows like
, are being pro-duced like a Kickstarter campaign. According to the
New York Times’
theater critic Patrick Healy, “Broad-way musicals usually cost $5 million to $10 millionto produce, and that money often comes in checksfor $50,000 or more from experienced investors whowouldn’t mind the tax write-o
if the show ﬂops.But this season’s revival of
has introduceda new breed: shareholders who have invested as littleas $1,000.”
IT TAKES REAL BUSINESS SAVVY TO SURVIVE IN THEULTRA
COMPETITIVE WORLD OF BROADWAY THEATER.TAKE A PEEK BEHIND THE CURTAIN TO SEE HOWENTREPRENEURS ENSURE THE SHOWS GO ON.