Cricket's Notebook by Larry Stark

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide



entire contents copyright 1998 by Larry Stark

"Let's Do Some Math!"
--- Friday, 31 July, '98

Okay, let's do some math!

This is a good week for it, I think. Theater in New England is booming, and I've counted two hundred and forty-four shows people can see in these six states. They vary from one-night-stands by story-tellers to long runs like "Beauty And The Beast" at The Wang Theatre. There are straw-hat stock companies, repertory companies, and touring companies. Musicals and one-man-shows and Shakespeare and mysteries and dinner theater. And all of it in widely differing sizes of house.

But let's say, just for the sake of argument, that for a low-ball average each of those shows draws 50 people a night. That'd be 12,200 people every performance, right? And let's say, just to make it simple, that this week each show runs three nights. Now we're up to 36,600 people going to the theater in New England this week.
That's really a lot of people --- and I think it's a ridiculously low estimate at that.

Now, all those people pay to get in, right? Again, how much varies a lot. The people going into The Wang Theatre every night pay between $15 and $65 each, but some shows are free, so let's again pick a ridiculously low figure, and say everyone who sees a show this week pays only $15 at the box-office. And that makes, for those three performances, a ridiculously low figure of $549,000.00 that changed hands just on admissions alone this week.

But those people don't live just around the corner from the theatre, they have to travel there. And That costs money. Again, let's pretend that instead of loading into a gas-guzzling road machine, as a lot of them will, all those people used the MBTA --- 85 cents, each way. Well, that would mean another $56,940.00 changed hands just getting the audience to the theatres this one week alone.

Oh, and they probably ate something before they saw the show too. Where, and how much, and how much for the cocktail before and the wine with I won't estimate. What I'll estimate --- because my math always was unreliable once we got to fractions and long division --- is ten bucks at McDonald's for every man, woman, and child who goes to a theatre this week. And there goes another $366,000.00 from one set of pockets into another.

Ah, but I forgot something: actors!
There are a lot of people in "Beauty And The Beast" at The Wang and a lot in "A Funny Thing Happened on The Way to The Forum" at Turtle Lane. But, thinking of the occasional one-man story-teller, let's low-ball that estimate and say on each of those 244 stages there were only five people. That makes....
Oh wait! Crew!!! Let's add a stage manager, a lights operator, a ticket-seller, and two ushers. That's 2,440 more people, and they go to and from work each night, and eat a Big Mac each --- so for all the actors and backstage people, put in an additional $28,488.00 changing hands as well.

Check my math:

Transport.................$ 61,028.00

So, with all my lowest possible estimates on everything, the economy of New England saw probably a million bucks change hands just because of theater this one week alone.
And I didn't even count buying flowers for all those leading ladies, did I.


THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide