Will Theatre Tax Credit Lure Pre-Broadway Tryouts Back to Boston?

By Carey Purcell
19 Jun 2014

The city of Boston used to be one of the most popular locations for out-of-town tryouts for plays and musicals, with the Emerson Colonial Theatre housing pre-Broadway productions of Porgy and Bess, Oklahoma!, Carousel and La Cage aux Folles.



The Boston Herald reports that the city wants to reclaim its status as the premiere city to stage pre-Broadway shows by offering tax credits for live theatre productions.

The statewide tax credits were included in the House's economic development bill. States that have already adopted the tax credits include Rhode Island, Illinois, Louisiana and New York.

Shows that would be mounted on or Off-Broadway within one year, as well as Broadway tour launches, would be eligible for up to $3 million in credits per production. Selling or transferring the credits would also be an option for recipients.

"The largest factor was giving a competitive advantage against other areas on costs to operate shows," state representative Nick Collins told the Boston Herald. "The workforce that is used in the theatre industry all come from this area — as opposed to the actors — so I think we can make the case that there's job creation out of this."

Pre-Broadway tryouts of plays and musicals have been staged in other cities due to the tax benefits.

Josiah A. Spaulding Jr., CEO of the Citi Performing Arts Center, told the Herald, "In the last several years, pre-Broadway shows have been going to other… states primarily because (they) have… a pre-Broadway tax credit. As one of the producers of (the Broadway musical) The Addams Family, I would have much rather have had that in Boston. However with my partners, it made economic and business sense to go to New Orleans."