By James Quinn, It may not have graced prime-time British TV for decades, but the iconic American sitcom that made household names of “The Fonz” and Richie Cunningham is to return courtesy of an innovative form of financing.
Happy Days – A New Musical is the first major theatrical production to use equity crowd-funding to raise the money it needs to tour the UK.
The show’s producers are hoping to raise £250,000 via the Seedrs crowd-funding platform.
Investors – who are able to back the play’s six-month run – can put in as little as £10 to help to stage the show. In return, they will receive a 25pc share of any profits.
The musical has been written by Garry Marshall, creator of the original series, set in the 1960s, which aired in the UK for a decade until the mid-1980s.
Henry Winkler, who played Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli, is working as a creative consultant on the production.
Former Emmerdale actor Ben Freeman has been cast as “The Fonz”, with ex-Sugababes singer Heidi Range to play his love interest, and Bucks Fizz’s Cheryl Baker cast as Mrs Cunningham.
The nationwide tour will begin in Bromley in January, and tour the UK, visiting 20 cities. If successful, there is the possibility of a West End run.
Todd Ruppert, one of the show’s co-producers, said: “Investing in theatre productions is normally reserved for the wealthy. With this show, we wanted to give everyone the chance to be a part of what we believe can be a big hit.”
The show is being produced by RTR International.
Seedrs, an online platform for investing seed capital, charges companies raising money a 7.5pc fee on the amount raised, and a second charge of 7.5pc on any returns that investors receive beyond their original investment.
Any return paid to investors up to the amount of their original investment is fee-free.