The Perfect Broadway Investor — Ben Brantley , Daryl Roth , Erick Falkenstein , Jaz Dorsey , Once Upon A Time In Harlem: A Jitterbug Romance , Petronia Paley — AAPEX

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Perfect Broadway Investor

In the October/November issue of Worth, a magazine aimed at those with money to burn, according to Daryl Roth, producer of the 2011 Tony Award winning The Normal Heart, the Perfect Broadway Investor isn't in it for the money. "It's not all about the money. If something is relevant, important and an extraordinary experience, that's the reward."

So why can't I find a producer like that? Once Upon A Time In Harlem: A Jitterbug Romance is relevant, important and an extraordinary experience. For that matter, fellow playwrights, why can't you? Where are they, these producers who aren't in it for the money? How does one catch their eye?

I dunno. I can't even dig up a thousand bucks for my reading. If you approach the process like I do, a playwright who lives very far away from where people live who know how to produce expensive musicals, i.e, Broadway, and hardly knows anyone "in the biz," you throw everything at the wall and hope something sticks. Aside from lucking out having noted NYC director Petronia Paley wanting to do the "radio" reading of my play and Jaz Dorsey, founder of AAPEX, wanting to be the dramaturg, and landing the historical and pioneering National Black Theatre as the venue, nothing has stuck re funding. IndieGoGo reminds me as I type that I have less than 60 hours remaining on my $1,000 fundraising campaign with not a penny raised in 60-days. Without that money, we won't be able to give the actors a stipend or rent the space and pay for other items like a simple program.

So, the question is, what to do? Although I've been getting positive feedback from people who want to attend the reading, who find the storyline appealing and exciting, we're still left unfunded. Worth suggests that $25,000 should be the minimum investment for a Broadway show. Hey, I'm only looking for $1,000-- and a chance at getting in on the ground floor of the next big thing!

Anyway, here are three things the magazine suggests for potential investors looking to put their money in a Broadway show, good advice for any playwright who sees his or her work wowing audiences on the Great White Way:

First, your show should star an A-list celebrity. Yeah, good luck with that one at this point.

Secondly, it should have "pre-existing value, like Mamma Mia (popular songs) or Jersey Boys (ditto)." It does; it has songs from "The Great American Song Book."

Thirdly, get The New York Times' Ben Brantley to love it. "If you don't have a big star, you need The New York Times," says Erick Falkenstein, whose credits include Long Day's Journey into Night and The History Boys. "There's no other industry in the arts that I'm aware of where one critic has so much power."

Hey, Ben, have I told you how much I love your reviews? You're the best their is! So talented! So--

Okay, you get the idea. But I'm not really like that. I can't kiss up. It's not in my make-up. But if you can, more power to you because you gotta try whatever it takes to get your work seen-- even if it means embarrassing yourself and your family.

Finally, if any potential investors might be reading this, please note that Worth says, "Musicals tend to gross more than straight plays: $915.7 million versus $158.4 million in the 2010-2011 season, according to the industry group The Broadway League, due to higher ticket prices and greater popularity with tourists."

Although Once Upon A Time In Harlem: A Jitterbug Romance isn't a musical per se-- it doesn't use original songs to help tell the story-- it fits that requirement since its loaded with music and dance numbers that will have people talking for years to come. Even Ben Brantley, the world's greatest theatre critic, should love it.

Care to know more about the "radio" reading of my play, please click the post's title.

DC Copeland

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