When “Phantom of the Opera” takes the stage at the Providence Performing Arts Center on Nov. 27, it will be the fourth show to be produced on Weybosset Street that benefited from the tax credit enacted more than a year ago.
Qualified production expenses for “Phantom” total more than $2.6 million, and enable the production company to qualify for $663,350 in tax credits, according to Steven Feinberg, executive director of the Rhode Island Film and Television Office.
The new law gives certain musical and theatrical productions a 25 percent tax credit against total production, performance and transportation spending of a show that either previews here before moving to Broadway within 12 months or plays here as the first stop on a national tour following a Broadway run.
Calling the relatively new tax credits, which so far have applied to tours following Broadway runs of “Elf,” “Evita,” “Once,” and now “Phantom,” critical, Norbert Mongeon, PPAC’s director of finance and programming, said these productions “wouldn’t have come if it hadn’t been for the tax credits. A lot of companies are opening down South because labor rates are inexpensive. Producers go where things are most affordable so the tax credit kind of evens the field a little bit.”
Making Providence more competitive has meant beating out Boston in attracting shows, Mongeon said.
“Boston in the past always has played before Providence, but this has allowed Providence to play before Boston,” he said. “[Before the tax credits], Boston would have gotten ‘Phantom,’ and then we would have gotten it two years from now. City pride aside, the markets do overlap, so we get the economic benefit of the first tour coming through.”