Ken Mahoney wasn’t seeking the floodlights of Broadway, but a chance meeting set off a chain of events that ultimately made the financial advisor the proud owner of two Tony Awards for his work as a producer, awards that are in addition to others he has won in the entertainment field.
Mahoney, 51, is president of Mahoney Asset Management in Chestnut Ridge, N.Y., which serves about 700 clients and has just under $200 million in assets under management. The firm’s primary focus is on retirees, and its service model is built around the theme of it being the GPS system to help clients navigate their retirement.
Mahoney’s extracurricular activities took an unexpected turn about 10 years ago when he was coaching his son’s Little League baseball team. The father of one of his players showed up to games wearing a Mets cap, and Mahoney, being a Yankees fan, would good-naturedly rib him. They became friends, and it turns out the Mets fan was Frank Wildhorn, a noted composer who co-wrote the scores to such Broadway plays as Jekyll & Hyde, The Scarlet Pimpernel and The Civil War. He has also written music that has been performed by a Who’s Who of artists ranging from Whitney Houston (who had a number one hit with “Where Do Broken Hearts Go”) and Liza Minnelli to the Moody Blues and Molly Hatchet.
Wildhorn suggested that Mahoney should put his financial chops to work on Broadway, and Mahoney started looking at the budgets of some of the projects Wildhorn was working on. From there he met other producers on Wildhorn’s musicals, which led to work on other projects, and things took off from there.
“They say Wall Street is a small street; then Broadway is like an alley because once you’re down there you pretty much know every producer and every production that’s coming,” he says.
Every Broadway play has multiple producers ranging from creative types to financial types—the latter can include those who put up the money and those who oversee the money. Mahoney describes his producer duties as that of the bean counter who looks at the budget and allocates resources between, say, stage sets and marketing. “When you’re raising money, the allocation of funds is important,” Mahoney says.
Mahoney says he has personally invested small stakes into the productions he has worked on. “They’re more of a token amount to show that I believe in the project,” Mahoney says, adding that his return on investment is “down a bit” on the roughly dozen shows he’s done.
“It’s not a very investable situation unless you hit on a Hamilton,” he says, referring to the smash Broadway musical that won 11 Tony Awards this year. He notes that Broadway is an expensive place to do business, what with unions and other costs. The goal is to get a production branded on Broadway and maybe get some Tony nominations or even some awards before taking it out on national tour where things can get profitable.
Mahoney’s involvement on Broadway might not be lucrative, but that’s not the point nor is it his motivation. For starters, he and his wife, Trish, are Broadway fans, so producing plays is a natural extension of one of his personal interests.
“It’s exciting, but it’s still a hobby,” he says. A hobby, it so happens, with a dash of prestige such as going up on stage at Radio City Music Hall with the other producers to pick up his two Tony Awards for Porgy and Bess (2012) and Pippin (2013)—both won for best musical revivals.