Last night, I went to see Wicked at the Orpheum. I'm not a reviewer, so this isn't a review.
[We'll have a review from Chris Davis in the paper next week. I will say that I enjoyed myself immensely and the costumes were SO well done.]
This is more a note about the economics of a phenomenon.
The theater was more packed than I've EVER seen it. It was so packed that there wasn't even time to get to the restroom during intermission. Granted, we waited a few minutes before making our way there, but when does that ever happen? It was such that, when you walked down the stairs in the lobby, you were in a bathroom line ON THE STAIRS.
And the merchandise seemed to be selling very briskly. Very briskly.
So it doesn't surprise me that the Orpheum is projecting a $7 million economic impact for the show's three-week engagement in Memphis.
Theater staff estimate that local ticket buyers account for $3.8 million. Marketing comes in around $100,000. The impact of the 71-member touring company comes in around $290,000 for food, lodging, and tourism.
Because it's the first time the blockbuster show has been performed in the region, the Orpheum expects about 40 percent of the more than 57,000 patrons will come from outside Shelby County. Three percent of attendees are expected to come from far enough away that it might require an overnight stay.
"If one makes conservative estimates on the average price per couple of parking ($10), dinner ($20-$100), hotel stay ($165/night) and tickets ($150), the amount of money pumped into the local economy by those living outside Shelby County is $2.6 million," reads an Orpheum release.