"My partner and I began our careers with a plan destined for failure. We would hire the worst playwright, to write about the most offensive material, performed by the least competent singers and dancers on Broadway. It was a bombastic production for which everyone in town presumed we had to have a good reason, and so everyone in town bought shares. I believe we sold over two thousand and five hundred percent of the holding interest in our production. When it flopped, we'd keep all the money they gave us, that we'd spent almost none of on the awful show, and walk away rich. Maybe go see Turn Out the Night.
"The calamity was that we hit it big. A musical comedy about Hitler was exactly what the scene wanted – the avant-garde, the nouveau richesse, and the pre-hipsters all ate it up. Our box-office overflowed such that we wound up owing ungodly amounts of money to ungodly amounts of investors.
"My partner tried to blow up the theatre. I wasn't part of that, no matter what he says. I was upset, but upset to misdemeanors, not felonies. My spirits lifted after I got a call from New York.
"Actually, I got nineteen calls before nine in the A-M. See, when you get the single biggest hit in the musical world, everyone wants to work with you. By Thursday I was co-producer on three projects for which I'd never have to visit a building. I was signing my name in exchange for checks, and my new friends wouldn't let me go to jail because they needed me. They squeezed out fat checks, and bags of money as door prizes, and some sums coming pre-laundered.
"You see, I thought bankruptcy was the only option. But there's another option. There's not returning investors' calls, and when people corner you on the street, saying another investor they hate took too deep a slice and needs to be consulted, and forwarding people to lawyers who only tenuously exist, until you've got another play out. And another. And another, until something you didn't really help build is a smashing success that will forever have your name in the playbill.
"According to the blogs, I'm a genius. They're begging me to direct next year. I had a producer burn me a smoke signal using hundred dollar bills. It's a play about Native Americans. It's about as tasteful as broken glass.
"So I'm thinking about directing. I'm also thinking about how many shares I'll sell."