Originally published on Puget Sound Business Journal on September 7, 2016
By Patti Payne, Columnist at Puget Sound Business Journal
The 5th Avenue Theatre, one of the nation’s leading musical theater companies, has significant economic impact on the Seattle area. A numbers study done by the theater, in partnership with the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business, indicates that The 5th infuses $27.3 million annually into the local economy.
For every dollar spent on tickets, an additional 73 cents is spent on a variety of goods and services in King County, amounting to $13.3 million in the 2015-16 season.
Breaking that total down, it translates to “$1.6 million in lodging, $7.2 million in food and beverage, $2.6 million in transportation and $1.9 million in shopping downtown,” according to a statement regarding the study.
“Additionally, the theater has a $24 million operating budget, with $5.2 million going to vendors and $8.8 million invested in wages and benefits each year. As the largest arts employer in the Pacific Northwest, The 5th provides more than 800 jobs to professional actors, stage crew, musicians, artisans and administrative staff each season … ”
Another measure of success is this past season’s holiday show, “The Sound of Music,” which grossed more than $4 million in ticket sales, and was attended by more than 82,000 patrons — the most attended holiday show in the history of that theater.
This coming holiday show — “Disney’s Little Mermaid” — has generated a lot of interest and is forecast by the theater to beat record set by the “The Sound of Music.”
Box office records indicate that more than 300,000 people went to one of the 219 performances at the historic theater during the past season, equaling more than $20 million in earned revenue for The 5 th.
Patrons who have long complained about an inferior sound system are happily anticipating the opening of the 2016-2017 season, which starts with the epic “Man of La Mancha,” on October 7, and a brand new state-of-the-art digital sound system.
In addition to improved sound, patrons will also find improved restrooms and new carpeting, all due to $5 million raised in the first phase of a $14 million capital campaign.