Jed Bernstein (Broadway Producer), Bob Israel (Movie Producer and Entertainment Marketing Executive), and Rich Battista (Entertainment and Media Executive) have announced the launch of The Broadway & Vine Fund, specifically dedicated to optioning movie titles for adaptation as musicals, commissioning creative teams to develop scripts, and staging the first readings and presentations. For any projects deemed worthy of further development, additional fundraising will be undertaken.
“We believe this is the first time that a "mutual fund" concept has been applied to the raising of development ("front") money,” said Bernstein. “Front money is notoriously difficult to raise, especially for musicals for which the amounts needed are significant, the development arcs are lengthy and the risk high.”
“With such an extensive catalogue of Hollywood films to choose from, this project gives us the opportunity to adapt both classic and unique titles for a live audience medium and by developing a diverse slate of projects it allows us to bring together some of the industry’s most creative resources,” said Israel.
“Thus far, we have been encouraged by the enthusiastic response of members of the Broadway creative community and we look forward to many exciting collaborations,” added Battista.
The Broadway & Vine Fund presents an attractive option for investors by spreading that risk over 3-5, high profile projects. The Fund will be capped at $600-$700k, 75% of which is already in place.
The Broadway & Vine Fund is beginning development for their first project, The Flamingo Kid, based on the 1984 movie written by Neal and Gary Marshall and starring Matt Dillon and Richard Crenna. Casting and creative team will be announced shortly.
"The Flamingo Kid beautifully evokes the wonder of the early 1960's while at the same time capturing a timeless, poignant and often funny coming of age story. That is exactly why we think it has great potential as a stage vehicle,” said Bernstein.
The Broadway & Vine Fund rethinks the traditional Broadway investment model by spreading the risk across multiple projects, optioning audience-tested move titles. Bernstein, Israel and Battista have all been highly successful in their respective areas of the entertainment industry: theater, movies, media, and entertainment marketing. What they have in common is a lifelong love of theater – and knowledge of what audiences want. They have come together to combine their wide-ranging expertise and develop a strategy that improves the likelihood of achieving commercial success on Broadway.
After eleven years as President of the League of American Theatres and Producers, Jed Bernstein launched “Above the Title Entertainment”, a theatre/television Production Company and marketing consultancy. He is also President of Playhouse Productions and Producing Director of the legendary and beloved Bucks County Playhouse, due to reopen this summer after extensive renovations. While at the League, Mr. Bernstein provided leadership in developing such industry wide programs as the Internet Broadway Database (idbd.com), televised editions of “Broadway on Broadway”, the creation of “Broadway Under the Stars” (live and televised) and a corporate sponsorship program that generated $15omm+ of cash and measurable media support over eight years. Recent productions include: the newly re-imagined production of Stephen Schwartz’s Working in Chicago and the Broadway hit Driving Miss Daisy, starring James Earl Jones, Vanessa Redgrave, and Boyd Gaines. Future projects include: the London production of Driving Miss Daisy. Other past projects have included: the Off-Broadway critically acclaimed musical revue, Don’t Quit Your Night Job, the seven-time Tony nominated Passing Strange, the smash revival of Equus starring Richard Griffiths and Daniel Radcliffe, the Tony Award-winning revival of Hair, and David Mamet’s highly acclaimed Oleanna starring Bill Pullman and Julia Stiles. Jed serves as Executive Director of the Commercial Theater Institute and serves on the board of the Actors Fund.