Crowdfunding isn't just for Zach Braff and "Veronica Mars." Legit producer Jamie Hendry recently used it to raise Â£1 million ($1.7 million) of the $10.7 million budget for an upcoming West End musical version of "The Wind in the Willows."
Broadway's given the idea a try too, with producer Ken Davenport leaning on similar methods to drum up about $2.5 million of his budget for the 2011 revival of "Godspell" --- which didn't recoup.
But, he adds, the populist approach is viable only with certain properties. "Wind in the Willows," preeming next year, makes an ideal candidate because it's a family-friendly musical with broad appeal, adapted from a universally recognized title by an artistic team that includes scribe Julian Fellowes, a household name thanks to "Downton Abbey."
"Willows" crowdfunding was structured differently from Kickstarter campaigns, which can't provide a return on investment: Each small stake (ranging from $1,653 to $8,265) entitles the investor to share in potential profits.
Davenport notes that U.S. regulations are stricter than they are across the Pond, making crowdfunding largely unfeasible for Broadway budgets -- but it could work for smaller-scale offerings. "Crowdfunding could re-vitalize Off Broadway," he says.