Why Funds are a hard sell on Broadway.
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me if I have ever considered a fund for Broadway shows, well, I wouldn’t need a fund for Broadway shows.
Since Godspell, I’ve gotten this question a lot, and while it’s an interesting idea, I don’t see it working on Broadway shows . . . and here’s why.
Funds, whether they are bond funds or stock funds or real estate funds, usually work this way . . . You give the fund manager money. They invest your money in whatever they think will make the most money. They give you a return on your money (fingers crossed).
While fund investors can usually peek at the things inside the fund, they don’t get a choice on what the manager is buying or selling. They are investing with an expert with the sole purpose of making money. Period.
And that’s just not what drives most Broadway Investors.
While sure, making money is an objective (and I don’t do any show that I don’t believe can make money), investing in Broadway shows is about so much more. Because you are investing in art. In fact, think about it this way . . .
The Broadway Investors I’ve worked with (and even the ones I haven’t) think about shows like literal works of art . . . like paintings you hang on your wall. Now, if you were putting a painting on your wall, would you let someone else pick it out without even seeing it? Not a chance. You’d not only want to see it before you bought it, you’d want to fall desperately in love with it. You’d want to be moved every time you saw it. You’d want to be proud to hang it in your home, to show off to your friends. Yes, you’d love it to increase in value . . . but if it didn’t, well, you’d probably still be ok, because you just loved it so much.
That’s how the Broadway Investors I know think about their shows. And that’s just not the experience that investing in a blind fund gets you. It takes the emotion out of investing in a show. There’s no rooting for a fund at the Tony Awards. There’s no waiting for the fund’s reviews to come out. It’s just not as fun-d.
The upside of funds is that they provide diversification for investors, which I’m a huge fan of.
So, what I do with my investors is try to create a unique custom fund just for them. They get to choose what goes in it (what they’ll hang on their wall), and spread the risk out as well.
When you’re raising money for a basket of shows, you’ll have a heck of lot more luck selling the shows . . . than trying to sell the basket.
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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.