Broadway & Vine Fund Launches to Adapt New Musicals; FLAMINGO KID First Project!
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.
Bob Israel has spent his entire life in entertainment, following a long family tradition: his father and mother met while performing in a Broadway show. Currently, he is a Managing Member of AngelVision Investors, a group that invests in entertainment, marketing, and new media entities. He is also the Co-Founder and former CEO/Creative Director of Aspect Ratio. At the time he sold the company, Aspect had grown into the largest movie-marketing agency in Hollywood, evolving into a family of companies providing services in A/V (trailers), Print (posters and ads) and Motion Graphics. He has been involved as a producer of several feature films. Among them are the box office smash Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, which helped launch Jim Carrey's film career, and the cult classic, Bachelor Party, which was based on his original story. From 2000-2008 Bob was the Executive Producer of The Hollywood Reporter's Movie Marketing Awards, the Key Arts. He is currently a member of the Motion Picture Academy, a member of the Executive Committee of the Academy's PR branch as well as the Directors Guild of America. Bob is also the former Chairman of the Board for A Place Called Home in South Central Los Angeles, and a Board Trustee at University Synagogue.
Rich Battista is a 22-year veteran of the entertainment and media industry, with significant experience in conceiving of, operating, and rebuilding large-scale businesses across various media platforms. He is also a lifelong fan of Broadway musicals, which started with his performing of lead roles in various productions while in high school, college, and beyond. Rich formed Pontiac Digital Media in 2011, through which he is investing in content and digital assets, including a pop culture media property, Snakkle.com, and is producing television series. Prior, Rich enjoyed an 18-year career at the News Corp/Fox companies. From 2008-2010, Rich served as President of National Cable Networks for Fox Television. Here, he oversaw the company's multi-billion dollar portfolio of nine leading nationally distributed cable entertainment and sports networks including FX, National Geographic Channel, and Speed Channel. Rich played a key role in the initial launch and development of virtually every one of these channels. Prior to this, Rich served as CEO of the publicly traded company, Gemstar-TV Guide, from 2004-2008. He was the chief architect of the company's impressive turnaround, directing the successful $2.3 billion sale of the company. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, and graduated cum laude from Georgetown University. He is Founder and Chairman of the Georgetown Entertainment and Media Alliance and serves on the Georgetown University Board of Regents.
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