Theater isn't just good for culture - it's good for the economy, too

Every $1 spent on an arts activity generates $7 in the overall economy, according to studies by Americans for the Arts, a national advocacy and lobbying group based in Washington, D.C. According to the latest data, the arts are now a $135 billion business, nationally.

Take a look at the numbers from the three-week run of "Wicked" at the Morrison Center that closed on May 4.

According to the Center, nearly 40,000 people attended the 24 shows, helping to create an economic impact of approximately $9 million in the Treasure Valley.

How do they get that number? It's based on a statistical formula developed by The Broadway League, a national trade association for the Broadway industry. 

It includes ticket sales, which were between $55 and $150 per ticket, and things like salaries paid to local crew - stage hands, lighting technicians, musicians and dressers. Also tallied: Hotel rooms for the cast and people coming into the area for the show, dinners at restaurants and other trickle-down expenditures that come with a night out at the theater. For example, Cheerleaders Sports Bar and Grill, 815 Ann Morrison Park Drive, stayed open late specifically for the cast, which would visit after the evening performance.

On April 18, Fred Meyer, the company that sponsors the Broadway series, donated tickets to the Idaho Foodbank. Sales of those tickets benefited the Idaho Foodbank and raised $30,000, enough for 100,000 meals to feed Idaho's hungry. The cast attended a post-show reception for the food bank ticket holders and later in the month volunteered to work in the Idaho Foodbank warehouse.

Check out the Morrison Center's next Broadway season that includes "The Book of Mormon" and "Jersey Boys."