New York State Legislature Passes Tax Credit for Live Theatrical Productions
By Adam Hetrick
The New York State legislature has approved a tax credit that will offer financial incentives for live theatrical productions to originate in New York State. The new measure will go into effect in January 2015.
Similar tax incentives in such states as Louisiana, Illinois and Rhode Island have lured producers to tech many Broadway tours out of state. With the passage of the 25 percent tax credit, upstate New York theatres such as Shea's Performing Arts Center (Buffalo), the Landmark Theatre (Syracuse) and Proctors (Schenectady) will become prime candidates for producers to tech their productions prior to launching national tours.
Broadway producer Tom Viertel was among a group of producers, industry leaders and lawmakers who went to Albany in early March to propose the measure. He previously told Playbill.com that the credit would apply solely to national tours of Broadway productions, not pre-Broadway, out-of-town try-out engagements.
New language announcing the approval of the tax incentive indicates that there may be potential for "new plays and musicals" to be developed in addition to tours.
The tax incentive will give a needed boost to upstate economies by increasing dining, hotel bookings, transportation, shopping and tourism when Broadway tours tech their productions at in-state theatres.
Keeping technical runs of Broadway tours in-state is also beneficial to the members of the creative team, most of whom reside in New York City. "It certainly doesn't hurt to have everyone on the creative team within shooting distance of New York City," Viertel previously told Playbill.com.
"With other states offering aggressive tax incentives for theatrical production, New York’s venues have struggled to stay competitive and attract new shows," said Al Nocciolino, The Broadway League's vice chairman of the road, in a statement. "However, this incentive levels the field and will, without question, drive millions of dollars into New York. Producers balance four criteria when determining where to tech; availability of skilled labor, infrastructure, accessibility and cost. With this program, New York will be one of the most attractive places to invest in new productions while also providing a massive boon to the many beautiful venues that serve the Upstate region."
Nick Scandalios, chairman of the Broadway League and executive vice president of the Nederlander Organization, praised the passage of the tax break in a statement. "We are delighted that the executive and the legislature have expressed their appreciation for the significance of Broadway to all New Yorkers, not only for maintaining our status as a world-renowned model for artistic expression, but for the way live theatre serves as a powerful economic driver," he said. "Our state’s leaders’ commitment to investing in the future of this industry will attract financing from across the country and around the world, helping to ensure that New York State remains the true home of Broadway. We extend our gratitude to Governor Cuomo, Senators Skelos and Klein, Speaker Silver and to Senator Betty Little and Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara for their commitment to this vital initiative."
"The legislature's and Governor's support of this incentive is a game changer," added Philip Morris, CEO of Proctors in Schenectady, NY. "Not only because Upstate cities and theatres get more richly connected to the hum of Broadway by attracting more national tours, but what has been New York's theatrical industry: scenic construction, costume building, lighting and sound design, has less reason to be dissipated to other parts of the country. Five years from now we will all be wondering what we would have done without this upstate theater credit!"
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