Tony Award will bring a 'Kinky Boots' windfall

The musical's producers are only beginning to cash in on the moneymaking potential of their hit.

By Jonathan Berr Jun 10, 2013 4:41PM
Billy Porter during a performance of 'Kinky Boots' (© Matthew Murphy/The O+M Company/AP)"Kinky Boots," an uplifting musical about a drag queen who saves a struggling but stodgy British shoe company, won the "best musical" category at Sunday night's Tony Awards. And that will bring a financial windfall for producers, who have only begun to cash in on the show's popularity.

The musical has so far grossed more than $13.5 million, according to data from the Broadway theater industry. That's a drop in the bucket. Successful shows can stay on Broadway for months and sometimes years. National and international tours are on the horizon.

"Kinky Boots" also benefits from sales of merchandise such as cast recordings and T-shirts. The show remains a fan favorite for what The New York Times calls "its vibrant spirit." I agree. The energy in the show is electric.  

With a major Tony award under its belt, the show has significantly widened its moneymaking potential.

According to a 2009 paper by economists Melissa Boyle of Holy Cross College and Leslie Chiou of Occidental College, the effect of a Tony win can linger for as long as a year after the announcement of the award. Revenue in the week after a Tony victory surges by about 12%. Conversely, nominees that fail to win the Tony are "penalized heavily" by theatergoers, the paper noted.

Broadway is a big business. New York City's famed theater district grossed $1.14 billion in the latest season, which ran from May 2012 to May 2013, little changed from the year-earlier period. Producers blamed Superstorm Sandy for the poor performance.  

According to the Broadway League, the official website of the Broadway theater industry, direct spending by show attendees was nearly $6 billion in the 2010-2011 season. The shows themselves spent more than $1 billion during that same time. The industry's economic impact tops $11.9 billion a year.

As the economy continues to rebound, even more people will flock to the bright lights of Broadway from around the world.

--Jonathan Berr thinks the Tony voters made the right call with "Kinky Boots." Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.

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Jun 10, 2013 6:37PM
Glad we snagged tix for an August show the other day!!! Can't wait to see KB!! Love the movie--it's been on cable the past couple of months.
Jun 10, 2013 8:51PM
I hope Denny's gets built and I hope it breeds cockroaches like no other place on the planet. I hope the building get so infested they need to be bulldozed.
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