During our visit, Peter gave us an insider’s perspective into what he looks for when investing in a company. Each of his criteria, ranked in his order of importance, should also be used by producers and individual investors to evaluate commercial theatre projects.
On Broadway, it is important to pay attention to both the producing and creative team behind the show. After all, you want to be working with a winner. Below are a few stats to look for:
- How many Tony Awards and nominations have the director, designers, and actors racked up?
- What is the hit to flop ratio of this team (both critical and financial)?
- What are the strengths of the producers – lean budgets, marketing, public relations? And to what success have these producers run past Tony campaigns?
Theater, like any other industry, must be aware of competition. Questions to ask:
- Are there other plays or musicals opening this season that:
- Fall into the same genre
- Target the same audience demographics (age, gender, etc.)
Recently, when speaking with one of the industry’s most successful lead producers, I inquired why he planned to revive a particular classic comedy this year. His answer was simple: “I like this play and there are no other comedies coming out this season.” With no competition, this work has the potential to thrive.
Each season, only a handful of Broadway productions to exceptionally well. You better make sure your show can hold its own against to the competition to wind up on top.
At the end of the day you want to produce or invest in a work you think is good. Like in other markets, your show should fulfil a need and have a point of differentiation.
Financials and General Economy
Commercial Theater is a business and the financials have to look promising. Before committing to a project examine:
- Total Capitalization
- Weekly Operating Costs
- Recoupment Schedule (and note ticket price, capacities, etc.)