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Fund launched for musicals

Execs team to option movie titles

Theater and movie industry execs Jed Bernstein, Bob Israel and Rich Battista have teamed to launch the Broadway and Vine Fund, a new fund for optioning movie titles for musical theater adaptations. First property to be optioned is 1984 Fox pic “The Flamingo Kid.”

Founders of the coin pool, who consider the initiative a mutual-fund approach to raising legit development money, aim to cap the fund at $600,000-$700,000 to be spread over investments in three to five projects. Some 75% of the fund has already been raised, according to the trio of execs.

Coin will go toward commisioning creative teams and staging initial readings and other presentations. If a project merits further development, additional fundraising will be undertaken.

Broadway and Vine’s brewing version of “Flamingo Kid” is not related to the Henry Krieger-Susan Birkenhead adaptation that had been in the works a few years ago. An entirely new creative team will be tapped for the latest version of the tale, about a Brooklyn teen who gets a summer job at a fancy country club.

Bernstein, the former topper of the trade association of Rialto producers and presenters now called the Broadway League, was a lead producer on the successful Broadway and West End revival of “Driving Miss Daisy.” Film producer and marketing maven Israel is currently a managing member of AngelVision Investors, which invests in entertainment, marketing and new media, while Battista, a former exec at News Corp. and Fox companies, founded Pontiac Digital Media, whose content and digital assets include Snakkle.com.

Other projects to be developed by Broadway and Vine, as well as a production timeline for “Flamingo Kid,” remain to be announced.

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