Theater brings big bucks to the Loop, study finds

Hoping to score incentives from the city, Broadway in Chicago has commissioned a study showing how much good its productions are doing for Chicago’s economy: $6.5 million a year, as reported in today’s Chicago Tribune. That’s arguably good news for the growing number of people living in the Loop. Though they may get annoyed when the long lines for the musical Wicked block the door to the nearby Borders (or is that just me?) it’s another sign of the area’s resurgence. A bustling theater district is part of the reconception of the Loop as a so-called “24-hour downtown.”

If only there were more theater crowds to fight through. Wicked, in an open run at the Oriental theater, is Broadway in Chicago’s crown jewel, grossing more than $1 million a week. Mayor Daley says this proves that pumping public money into the renovation of the Loop’s theaters was worth it. But theater critic Chris Jones, who wrote today’s story in the Trib, says that whether the boom will continue past one hit show remains to be seen.

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