How Hamilton was able to get a $10 million Federal aid
“Hamilton” was eligible to get millions through the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program. This money is meant for the reopening of five of the show’s productions. The show’s Broadway theatre had been closed instead of being packed with fans of the show.
“Hamilton” for years had been the biggest hit on Broadway, and before all productions of the show got shut by the pandemic, it was earning lots of revenue: Since the show first began in 2015, it has had a full house all along. On Broadway, over 2.6 million viewers had seen the show while the show itself had raked in $650 million.
Therefore, how come the show is being offered a federal government grant of $30 million, as well as another possible $20 million?
There is a simple answer to this: before the coronavirus hit, the show had five different US-based incorporated productions – one production on Broadway, and the other four productions were on tour. This means that based on the rules of the Shuttered Venue Grant Program for Operators by the government, every show will be eligible to get $10 million. This is intended to cater to the revenue that had been lost. The program from the US government is intended to offer relief for businesses in the live-event and culture sector to help cater to the hardships caused by the pandemic.
The act of incorporating different touring productions is the norm in the commercial theatre circuit. This means that other shows had done the same thing and applied for a grant of $10 million for every product before the coronavirus shut down everything. However, “Hamilton” looks set to be paid the most amount since the show had the highest number of touring productions.
As of now, “Hamilton” got approval to get about $10 million for their Broadway production, as well as two productions that are on tour; there are not yet official words about the two remaining tours.
Knowing that a huge some of the federal aid money being received by a box-office hit might raise some curiosity, the lead producer on the show, Jeffrey Seller, decided to describe the reason the show was eligible for the aid. The seller then went on to list out the manner the money will be spent, as was intended, to bring back the financial health of all five American-based companies of the show. (Hamilton has a production based in London that is not qualified for the US relief program).
“Think about the time that GM and Chrysler were on their way to bankruptcy?” In a similar manner that both auto companies were bailed out by the federal government, it is applying a similar relief program to all show businesses within its jurisdiction,” he said. “The relief program had been designed to bring back our financial health and protect the well-being of all our staff.”
The seller then mentioned that neither the investors nor producers of the show would receive any of the money. He further said that the money would not be offered as royalties for the show’s artists (which includes the creator of the show – Lin-Manuel Miranda).
Rather, he had said that the money would fully go into bringing back the productions that had been shuttered and be able to reimburse the show’s productions to get back all expenses that they had made during the pandemic.
The show comes with varying reopening expenses – there will be rehearsals for a month to hire actors, musicians, stage helpers, and other people looking to be on stage one more time, and long duration clinics for the benefit of incoming cast members. Additionally, there are also the expenses related to fixing and buying new equipment, moving people and stage sets, bringing in Covid-19 safety experts, and promoting the shows.
Then again, there are the pandemic costs that were expended during the shutdown. This includes financial aid, health insurance cover, and in certain situations, housing grants for the people that the production had employed before the shutdown. The seller then went on to say that “Hamilton” had kept on paying for health insurance for all their former staff throughout the pandemic while also making out emergency cash assistance in the process.
Then the show also had to bear more mundane costs too, which includes $784,000 for rent incurred by the theatre of the Broadway show (Yes, the landlords of Broadway shows made the shows pay their rent during the Covid-19 shutdown) and also warehouse storage fees for costumes, as well as flight fees on behalf of the crew and the cast who had to travel back home as soon as touring shutdown.
“Hamilton also expended millions at a time the show was not making any money,” said Seller. “Our aim is for the show to get back to the same financial standing just like it were when it was shut down on March 12, 2020.”
The launching of the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program is a $13 billion aid program by the US government. This is intended to help restore the financial position of cultural organizations to cater to pandemic-related expenses. This federal program has been marred by confusion and delays.
However, the program’s Administrator, the Small Business Administration, has started to announce the recipients of the grant. There are also possible signs that Broadway shows, as well as their affiliated productions, might benefit from this program.
New making the rounds are that the program’s managers reportedly said that a part of the organizations up for $10 million (this is the highest amount for any single grant) are two landlords on Broadway, which are – The Nederlander Organization: This company manages nine different theatres on Broadway (one of these houses “Hamilton”). The other recipient is Jujamcvn Theaters that manages five theatres. The third recipient is the Roundabout Theater Company -which is a nonprofit in charge of running three separate Broadway houses.
The Broadway show managed by David Byrne – American Utopia – is also up for $10 million.
Affiliates of Nederlander, who also manage Chicago and Los Angeles-based commercial theatres, also got a sum of $10 million each. Three Broadway productions that were on tour and being administered by NETWorks also got grants – “Fiddler on the Roof” got $10 million; “Waitress” got $9.8 million; while “The Band’s Visit” also got $9 million.
Also, there is a nightspot that was highly patronized by artists and fans of Broadway. Known as Feinstein’s/54 Below – the federal relief program had granted it the sum of $3.6 million.