Many upcoming Broadway shows have a pitch deck packet with information for prospective investors and producers to review. The packet often contains information about the upcoming production to help an investor decide whether the investment is right for them.
I’ve seen many different investment packets over the years and the more professional ones are fairly consistent. If you are looking to develop a pitch deck, look at some samples if you can find them. They are relatively hard to find, as they are usually confidential and not public information. This is one reason to associate with an experienced producer or creative team who can help guide you through the process.
The pitch deck can make a big difference in whether an investor chooses to invest in a show. Presentation matters. It doesn’t have to list everything, but as an investor I like to see things that make sense to me.
Tell Me About The Show
Most pitches I’ve seen will tell me everything I need to know about the show in a paragraph or two. I don’t want to know the surprise ending, but tell us what the show is about. This helps to figure out the audience the show might attract, and the overall concept of the show.
Tell Me Who Is Involved
The pitch deck generally tells who is on the creative team. It may list the composer, producer, writer, director, casting agent, music director, set designer, and more, or it may be more limited. It generally contains bios for each, as many investors may not be familiar with these people.
Tell Me About The Show’s History
A pitch deck may contain information about the show’s development. This is where you can give a history on the show’s road to success. Think of it as showing off its trajectory. Something like: the show was written and developed for 2 years, then had 3 industry readings, then a developmental lab, then was performed at an ASCAP workshop, then at a theater festival at University of Michigan, then had an out of town tryout in Chicago, and is now slated for Broadway. By showing the history of the show’s development, it shows that it has been perfected over time. This history does not necessarily mean it will be successful, but it does show that it has been worked out for some time.
Tell Me What Others Think
If a show has already been performed and received any media attention or even social media response, it may be helpful to include this in a pitch. If there was a lot of positive buzz out of town, this could help with continued buzz moving to Broadway. Be More Chill is a great example of pre-Broadway buzz (DISCLAIMER: I am an investor in the show). The cast album of Be More Chill has already passed 100 million streams in the United States. This is a good piece of information to include in a pitch packet. If the show got rave reviews, it is nice to see some quotes to positive news articles included in the pitch.
Tell Me About Its Awards
If the show already won regional awards, or was performed at any reputable venues, this could be valuable information. A show that is still in development that I saw recently was selected by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked) to review at an ASCAP workshop where the composer got amazing feedback from Stephen Schwartz and two other successful composers. It is a program in which several other very successful composers have gone through, including Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (The Greatest Showman, A Christmas Story the Musical, Dear Evan Hansen). This tells me that others already thought the show was of a top quality and caliber, and already beat out many other shows in development for the program.
The Most Important Part: Tell Me About The Opportunity
Now that I can see how great the show is, let’s talk about its numbers. What are you offering? The opportunity section generally talks about the overall budget or raise amount, and opportunities for investors and co-producers to get involved. One show I was looking at recently, for example, had a minimum producer level of $250,000.00, with minimum investment opportunities starting at $25,000.00. This is fairly common.
Often, the earlier in the project, the better the terms. This is not at all to say that the terms are not good later on. Remember the idea of risk versus reward. Investors in a show shortly before it opens have less risk generally because they know the show is going to open on Broadway and has a chance of being successful. An investor before a show even opens regionally for a try-out may have a much higher risk because they are hoping that the show does well enough out of town before trying to get into a Broadway theater, and it could be years before that ever happens. Early investors or producers at certain levels may get extra incentives to invest, which help provide them with greater returns on their investment.
Tell Me Where To Sign
If you are interested in investing in a project, the pitch deck, or accompanying email will generally have a contact for you to go to the next level. If you are an accredited investor, then you should qualify as someone who is permitted to invest in the production. The next question is whether the production has room for additional investors. If so, you are generally presented with a formal contract offer to sign, with instructions on where to send your investment funds.
Once you sign the contract and it is accepted by the company along with your money, you are part of the production family of that show according to the terms of the contract and are along to hopefully enjoy the ride.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason Turchin is an attorney, entrepreneur, producer and owner of InvestingBroadway.com.