Despite questions early on about why Buffalo performances of “Wicked” at Shea’s Performing Arts Center didn’t sell out, the theater reported that the touring show set house records during its month-long stay in Western New York.
The show (discussed here) was very good and has drawn huge crowds pretty much everyplace it’s visited. When we advanced the show, we in the features department couldn’t understand why every show did not sell out. While we never got firm answers, it appears there was, in fact, plenty of interest locally in the show.
For this reviewer, “Wicked” was the second-best show of the 2007-08 Shea’s season behind “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” which is probably the best show I’ve ever seen on stage. Next season doesn’t seem quite as promising, but the farewell tour of “Rent” featuring some original cast members should be huge.
This release is from Shea’s.
Broadway’s biggest Blockbuster, WICKED, flew out of Shea’s Performing Arts Center Sunday night, July 13, after a record-breaking engagement. Over 93,000 patrons were in attendance at a total of 32 performances. WICKED broke Shea’s Box Office record in each of the four weeks of eight performances each week. There was not a single unsold seat during the final week of the engagement. The previous Shea’s record was held by Disney’s The Lion King, a five week engagement as part of the 2004-2005 M&T Bank Broadway Series.
Ticket buyers from surrounding areas flocked to Shea’s to see the three time Tony Award® winning show. Over 75% of sales were from Erie and Niagara counties, approximately nine percent of sales were from Ontario; six percent from the southern tier and the remaining from surrounding counties.
“We are very happy with the success of WICKED and the experience that we have been able to provide to our patrons. This was a much anticipated production, and we have received wonderful responses from our patrons who thoroughly enjoyed the show,” said President of Shea’s Tony Conte.
According to Shea’s 20-year Partner and Producer, the support from the community for this show has been outstanding and lends itself to Buffalo being a prime market for touring Broadway. “It is the constant support of our subscribers and repeat-patrons that have elevated Buffalo to the national level for Touring Broadway. This support allows us to bring the best of Broadway to Buffalo season after season, and for that we are grateful,” said Mr. Nocciolino.
According to Shea’s, the local economic impact of WICKED in Buffalo can be estimated at over $20 million. This economic boom touches area hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions, parking grounds, retailers, union workers, vehicle rental companies, media organizations, and more.
Shea’s Performing Arts Center is thrilled to end their season with a show as phenomenal as WICKED, and invites the public to get information on the new 2008-09 M&T Bank Broadway Series.
Shea’s and Albert Nocciolino look forward to a successful 2008-2009 M&T Bank Broadway Series with Legally Blonde the Musical, The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Mamma Mia!, The Wizard of Oz, A Chorus Line and The Color Purple. For season ticket information, go to http://www.sheas.org, call (716) 847-0850 or go to the Shea’s Ticket Office, 650 Main Street. For Groups (15 or more), call (716) 829-1154.