When the stock market is performing poorly, investment advisers often counsel us to think about diversifying our portfolio. Brokers often recommend bonds, commodities and even real estate with the idea of improving performance in a variety of market conditions.
But how about investing in a Broadway show?
In a plan worthy of Max Bialystock, the fictional protagonist of Mel Brooks’ film and Broadway musical “The Producers,” Ken Davenport is giving small investors a chance to back his planned revival of the musical “Godspell,” which is due to hit the Great White Way in mid-2011.
Davenport aims to build a large pool of investors to fund the show, which was first staged in 1971. The idea is to move away from the traditional model of assembling a small group of wealthy producers. It’s also in keeping with the central theme of “Godspell,” which is based on parables from the Gospel of Matthew, he said.
“I travel all the time and I might find myself in a Starbucks somewhere, and someone will ask me what I do and I say I am a Broadway producer. They think that’s really exciting and they want to know how to get involved, so I tell them they can invest $25,000 in my next show and their eyes usually glaze over,” Davenport said. “That’s why I thought of this -- you don’t have to fork over a lot of money to get involved.”
According to Davenport's website, "units" in The Godspell, LLC, are being priced at $100 each, with a minimum investment of 10 units, or $1,000. "Investment in The Godspell LLC involves a high degree of risk, and investors should not purchase units unless they can afford to lose their entire investment," the website warns.
Investors in the show will be called producers, see their names on a poster outside the theater and featured on a website for the show. And if Godspell is a hit, Davenport says, all investors will share in the profit.
Investors are urged to read the entire offering circular.
Davenport wants to convince investors that Broadway can be as good an investment as the stock market. “Five to 10 years ago if you had gone up to someone and asked them if they would like to invest in a show they would tell me they can do better by investing in the stock market. But that’s not the case these days,” said Davenport. “We think Godspell is a good, high-risk investment. I’ve produced nine shows on and off Broadway and seven of them have been profitable. If you had invested in all my shows over the years you would have made a return of 40 percent.”
That’s a payback Max Bialystock would be happy with.