What if we had a S&P for Broadway?

Here’s a biz idea for some budding entrepreneurs out there: create an S&P for Broadway investments; an “official” ratings board that grades investments on the same AAA scale that screwed the financial markets this week.

I have consultation clients that come to me all the time asking for my “yea/nea” vote on whether they should invest in a show that they’ve been pitched.  I spend time with the financials, research the show’s history, the creative team, etc. and apply all of the tactics I teach in my Broadway investment seminar and then give my consensus.

But what if there were an independent entity that offered a more formal grading system?  This “S&B” would have a General Manager, a Marketing expert, a Director and maybe a Casting Director on its board, and they’d scrutinize the show in their areas of expertise and offer up a quantitative grade.  If you were considering investing, you’d pay a small fee for the “research report” and its grade.  And then you’d use that info to help make your decision.

Something that is as artistic as the theater won’t be as easy to assign a grade to compared to something like debt.   But it would still be possible.  The margin of error would just be greater.  And you’d still have to use your gut when making that final leap.

But I’d bet that fewer bad investments would be made, which would be beneficial for us all.  The fewer people that lose money on Broadway, the more people there are to put money in shows in the future.

It wouldn’t be easy for those shows that get stamped with a mediocre grade, though.  There’d be some pretty angry producers out there, I’m sure.  Especially since ratings entities like this one could be wrong.  It happens.

Just ask the S&P.  Remember when it gave an AAA rating to mortgage derivatives?


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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.