Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Broadway's Biggest Mystery

When clients find equities and bonds boring, advisers may suggest spicing things up with alternative investments: private equity, vintage Aston Martins, one-eighth of a race horse. How about backing a Broadway show?

Amazingly, The New York Times observes, otherwise sane people may think that's a cool idea.
The business of Broadway has always been cloaked in mystery. Most of its 40 theaters are run by three private organizations that operate out of public view. Producers keep deal-making under wraps. The biggest mystery of all is why so many sophisticated investors go along with business-as-usual on Broadway when few shows turn a profit.
The Times article chronicles the troubled effort to bring"Rebecca," a musical that has enjoyed success in Vienna and elsewhere in Europe, to The Big Apple. A scheduled opening last April failed for lack of funding. Miraculously, Paul Abrams, a consultant working out of South Africa, came to the rescue with the promise of $4.5 million. That must have made the show's other investors feel much better.

They don't feel better now. Just before coming up with the money, Mr. Abrams suddenly died. 

Will his estate honor his commitment? Probably not. Turns out there's no evidence of Paul Abram's death and, so far,  little evidence of his existence.

Maybe stocks and bonds aren't so dull.

No comments: