Your grandparents thought producing theater was risky too.

Here’s a couple lines from an article I found online recently:

Anyone who intends to produce a Broadway show needs his overhead examined . . . but even though fearless angels are easy to find, the risks are still great.

Not that interesting, is it.  We all know this.  Now what if I told you the article was from 1954!

Here’s the full quote:

Anyone who intends to produce a Broadway show needs his overhead examined.  If he has a musical like Wonderful Town, he needs $225,000 to start with, has to pay out more than $44,000 a week and charge $7.20 top.  If he is lucky enough to have such a rare hit as Wonderful Town, he can net more than $5,000 a week.  But even though fearless angels are easy to find (178 contributed $300,000 to the forthcoming Shirley Booth musical, By The Beautiful Sea), the risks are still great.

Pretty clear now that it’s from 1954, huh?  $225k couldn’t even pay for 25% of the stagehand cost alone for loading in a new musical!

But the inflation isn’t what’s interesting to me.  What’s interesting is that even in ’54, producing theater was risky.

So all of us, including myself, need to stop complaining that we’re playing a risky game.  It’s always been risky, and it always will be risky . . . and there’s probably something in all of us that likes that risk.  🙂  So let’s do what we can to reduce it, but at the same time embrace it, and use it to our advantage.

Producing theater is hard.  So are relationships.  So is raising a kid.

But the hard stuff in life is where you’ll find the greatest rewards.  Especially when you love it.

(The article goes on to talk about how Off-Broadway is booming, thanks to production costs as low as $10k. Let’s hope history is about to repeat itself.)

Read the full article here.

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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.