Could investing in the Fonz bring you Happy Days?


Fancy investing in a musical version of a much-loved TV show?

A UK theatrical revival of hit 70s US comedy Happy Days is looking for £250,000 funding to help with its production costs. And you can invest from as little as £10 via crowdfunding website Seedrs.

In return, you'll get a share of 25% of any profits from its upcoming tour, proportionate to the size of your original investment.

Happy Days originally ran on US TV between 1974 and 1984 and made stars of lead actors Ron Howard and Henry Winkler. It was originally shown in the UK on ITV and then repeated on Channel 4 in the 90s.

Winkler has joined this musical version as creative consultant and it's been written by Garry Marshall, creator of the original TV series. The cast has already been announced and features former Emmerdale actor Ben Windsor as The Fonz, pop star Heidi Range (Sugababes) as love interest Pinky Tuscadero and pop star and TV presenter Cheryl Baker as Mrs Cunningham.

The tour is already on sale at 24 venues around the UK and Ireland from Plymouth to Aberdeen. It's hoped it can then transfer to London's West End. However, this isn't a part of the investment opportunity on offer here, although investors in the tour are promised first refusal on further investment should a transfer happen.

What you might get back
If you invest into the Happy Days tour and it's fully funded to the tune of £250,000, you could receive two payments at the end of the tour, but this is very much dependent on ticket sales.

It works like this:
  • The total income for the tour is calculated from box office receipts;
  • Then the weekly running costs (estimated to be around £95,000 a week) are taken and a designated share of royalties is paid to the authors and certain other members of the production;
  • At this point, the net receipts are paid out to all the investors in the show. If the show has been successful, you will get back all the money you originally invested. If it hasn't been so successful and there's not enough money to reimburse every investor in full, you'll receive a payment proportionate to the amount you invested but not your full original investment;
  • Assuming the net receipts have covered the above costs and investments, any subsequent money left after the production costs (£500,000 to mount the production + £100,000 reserve) and the authors' share of profits (5% after 110% of the production costs has been paid out) will be paid to investors. So this is where you would get a proportional share of 25% of any profits left, less 7.5% paid to Seedrs in fees.

It sounds fairly complex, but apparently it's standard practice in theatreland.

If you invest £1,000 or more, you'll also get two free tickets to an opening night performance at the theatre of your choice.

The risks
As with any investment of this nature, there is a chance you may not get all of your original investment back, let alone make any profit.

That depends on ticket sales. The team behind the musical are confident they have a production and cast that will appeal. And the TV show is still fondly remembered by several generations, giving potential crossover appeal.

Other things to note
Due to the short nature of the tour, the investment is not eligible for tax relief via the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) or the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS).

You should also note that if the £250,000 target isn't reached within the 90-day time limit, your investment will be refunded in full.

So now it's down to you to decide if you think it's worth backing or if you think, to quote the Fonz, it's "Wrongamundo".

Find out more about investing in the Happy Days musical at the Seedrs website