Sam Arce developed his lifelong love of Broadway after seeing Ben Vereen perform in “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
“I got bit by the bug,” said Arce, a Carmel resident. “Over the years, I just saw more shows. I started doing theater in high school. I did community theater and then I did some Off-Broadway work. I love it but it’s a hard life. I was singing and dancing.”
Arce, 56, didn’t see a future in it. He enlisted in the U.S. Army, became an officer and then got into real estate in 1985 after leaving the service.
“I did well, moved here and did better,” said Arce, a Realtor/broker for F.C. Tucker. “I’ve been in Indiana doing real estate full time since 1991. Over the years, I’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of shows. Last year, I saw 70 shows on Broadway.”
Arce, who is called “Broadway Sam” by his friends, started investing in Broadway with $20,000 in “Gettin’ the Band Back Together” about a year ago.
“Although it was a great, fun show and I was passionate about it, it didn’t last on Broadway,” Arce said. “It didn’t return, but it opened the gateway. That led me to the next investment, which was ‘American Son,’ a play with Kerry Washington, Steven Pasquale and Jeremy Jordan.”
That led to Arce investing in ‘Be More Chill’ with music and lyrics by Joe Iconis.
“This is Iconis’ Broadway debut,” Arce said. “He’s on the trajectory of what (‘Hamilton’ creator) Lin-Manuel Mirada was on. Lin was at our show. I got involved when ‘Be More Chill’ got to Broadway.”
“Be More Chill” has been nominated for a Tony Award for best original score by Iconis.
Arce invested in Iconis’ next production of Annie Golden in “Broadway Bounty Hunter,” which starts a limited run July 23 Off-Broadway.
“Annie Golden was in ‘Hair.’ It’s kind of a rock ‘n’ roll ode to the ‘70s,” Arce said. “Annie plays a struggling actress who becomes a bounty hunter.”
Arce and producing partner Scott Abrams are investing in the Las Vegas show of Criss Angel, the illusionist, at Planet Hollywood. Arce and Abrams are involved in “Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel in Concert,” which is running at Harrah’s in Las Vegas.
“It’s telling the story of young Elvis Presley with an extremely talented young man (Eddie Clendening) who plays Elvis from the beginning to movie Elvis, not jumpsuit Elvis,” Arce said. “Everybody is excited about that. The theater is in old-school Vegas.”
Arce said the production has the backing of the Presley estate.
“Jeff Calhoun is the director,” Arce said. “He did ‘Rock of Ages.’”
Arce and Abrams are invested in the 10-year reunion of “Rock of Ages” Off-Broadway, which starts June 24.
Arce also has producing partners in Daniel Peterson and Mary Maggio. Arce said he is looking to co-produce “Tina,” which is based on the life of Tina Turner, with his three other producing partners. Arce saw “Tina” this month on England’s West End. “Tina” will open on Broadway this year.
“As an example, if you had been involved with ‘Hamilton’ making a $25,000 or $50,000 investment, you would have made your money back 20 times,” Arce said. “What we do is we have skin in the game, it’s our own money and others’. It’s not just about the money. If it was just about the money, I wouldn’t do it. Real estate, I make more money in. It’s about the love of theater. Investing in Broadway is not for the faint-hearted. You can’t invest in something you can’t afford to take a loss on. Like that first investment, I got a $20,000 investment that won’t return but will probably return 20 times because of the relationship and the access.”
Arce’s wife, Miya, is a nurse and he has a daughter, Dr. Michelle Arce, 28, and Sammy, 13, who just completed seventh grade at Clay Middle School.
“He’s a big theater fan,” Arce said. “I’m taking him to see ‘Be More Chill.’”