Keeping the lights on Broadway
There are two ways to insure against non-appearance and abandonment on Broadway.
"You can write it on loss of gross revenue, or on expenses only," says Peter Shoemaker, a DeWitt Stern managing director. "The former is more expensive, the latter has lower payout limits."
Here's how it works. Say your production costs are $100,000 a week and your gross revenue from ticket sales averages $200,000 a week, giving you a weekly profit of $100,000.
"If your star goes down and the understudy goes on for a week and revenue drops from $200,000 to $105,000 a week, if you had a gross revenue policy, right there you would collect $95,000 to cover the drop-off in sales for having an understudy," Shoemaker explains. "If you had an expenses-only policy, however, your revenue still exceeded your expenses by $5,000, so you would have no claim under the policy."
Age factors heavily into the cost of ensuring that Broadway stars will shine throughout a 20-week run.
"The cost is dramatically different between an 80-year-old and a 35-year-old actor," Shoemaker says. "The policy will be much different for 'Rock of Ages' than 'Driving Miss Daisy.'"