Broadway: The Show Won’t Go On if Tax Imposed

By Jennifer Millman
|  Wednesday, Feb 4, 2009  |  Updated 12:43 PM EDT
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Broadway: The Show Won’t Go On if Tax Imposed

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"The Phantom of the Opera" is one of the most iconic shows on Broadway.

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If Broadway tickets are taxed, you can count on some of your favorite shows having early curtain calls.

Thirteen Broadway shows already closed in January because of the bad economy and expensive tickets, according to the Daily News, and more will do the same if Gov. David Paterson’s proposed tax plan takes effect.

Paterson wants a 4 percent sales tax on theater, but Matthew Loeb, president of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, told the Daily News that would mean “lights out” for many shows.

"A show doesn't downsize," Loeb said. "It's dead. That means the lights go off, the workers go home, no more tickets get sold - or taxed - and unemployment claims get filed."

And if the curtain falls, the city may lose out on some money. Broadway pours $5 billion into the economy -- $2 billion in theater tickets and $3 billion in shopping, restaurants, hotels and taxis, according to Rocco Landesman, president of the Jujamcyn Theaters.

Landesman wants to know why the Yankees and Mets get all the goods. How come those sports teams get all this help from government and Broadway has to fend for itself?

"Don’t kill the golden goose," Landesman said. "People do not come into New York to see the Yankees and Mets. They come to see theater."

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