The economic impact of Broadway’s return to Charlotte

The economic impact of Broadway’s return to Charlotte

Allison Bailey as Glinda in the North America tour of Wicked. Photo: Courtesy Blumenthal Performing Arts/Joan Marcus

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Broadway defied gravity in Charlotte.

“Wicked,” presented by Blumenthal Performing Arts, set a record during its four-week, 32-performance run at Ovens Auditorium earlier this fall.

  • More than 70,000 people saw the show.
  • The final week set a record for the highest grossing week for a Blumenthal Performing Arts show at Ovens Auditorium, with 19,124 people attending.
  • “Wicked” broke its own record as the previously highest attended show in a single week at Ovens Auditorium, which was the third and final week of 2013.

Why it matters: “Wicked” produced an estimated economic impact of over $16.7 million, which includes tourism, hotels, dining, parking & local supplies/labor, per statistical analysis by The Broadway League. 

  • Roughly 100 local creatives were employed during the run.
  • The 2018 “Hamilton” run in Charlotte holds the record for economic impact at $25 million.

By the numbers: Local arts organizations lost $50 million in revenue because of the pandemic.

The big picture: One year, seven months and 13 days: That’s how long stages were dark during the pandemic.

  • “My Fair Lady” ran in Charlotte from Jan. 21, 2020 through Jan. 26, producing $3,128,348 in local economic impact.
  • And then, everything was quiet.

What they’re saying: “We had high hopes for “Wicked” as the first show to reopen in our theaters at full capacity, but the experience exceeded our expectations,” Blumenthal CEO Tom Gabbard. 

Bonus: Over five runs in Charlotte, 307,198 people have seen “Wicked” (2008, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2021).

What’s next: “Rent” is due Nov. 9-14 at Belk Theater in it’s 25th anniversary farewell tour.

Between the lines: Blumenthal requires staff and volunteers to be fully vaccinated. Staff receive free rapid testing multiple times per week.

Go deeper: Blumenthal had to let go of 75% of its staff due to the pandemic, Axios’ Emma Way reported. Here’s how they adapted.

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