Show-Score, the review-aggregator website that aims to become the Rotten Tomatoes of the theater world, has raised $2 million in new financing from a group of investors that reaches beyond the theater industry into the broader entertainment and digital sectors.
The new funds, ponied up by a group that includes Hollywood veteran Gail Berman and Gilt Groupe and Business Insider founder Kevin Ryan, will go in part toward expanding Show-Score’s activities beyond New York to markets that have expressed interest in the site, both in the U.S. and in London. The money also will help sustain exploratory efforts at what Show-Score founder Tom Melcher calls “harnessing the story of the audience’s reaction to theater,” including fan art, Instagram posts, videos and photography.
Along with internet entrepreneur Ryan and former Paramount Pictures president Berman, new investors in Show-Score include Joe Earley, the former Fox TV exec who is now president of Berman’s production company The Jackal Group; Jeremiah Harris, the head of event technology provider Production Resources Group (and a Broadway producer); Facebook exec Sean Ryan; and ESPN exec Vikram Somaya. Also among the investors are board members of Roundabout Theater Company, Center Theater Group and the Guthrie Theater, according to Show-Score.
The cross-industry group assembles as musical theater has gained increasing traction in pop culture, with “La La Land” becoming one of this year’s major Oscar contenders and live broadcasts of musicals such as “Hairspray” and “Grease” drawing eyeballs. Show-Score’s user base of stage enthusiasts are among the most likely consumers to be fans of musical-based screen projects as well.
According to the site’s execs, Show-Score currently has 125,000 registered members who have provided 195,000 member reviews in a database that also incorporates around 17,000 professional critic reviews. The latest financing round was led by media investment advisory firm The Seelig Group and its founding partner, Chip Seelig, and live entertainment chief Ashley DeSimone.