Disney’s The Lion King opening last night (June 14, 2011) at the Schuster Center is not only a great thing for theatre-goers, but it’s also a big deal for Dayton and the whole Miami Valley Region.
There is no mistaking Disney’s The Lion King for anything but a certified, award-winning, mega-musical. It has it all–unbelievable sets and costumes; memorable songs; a fine story with great values; and comedy, drama, and spectacle. It is a treat for audiences of all ages.
I have seen it a few times and I will be seeing it a few more before the end of its run in Dayton. I think the thing that always impresses me about the show is how really basic and simple it is, but simplicity taken to the utmost end of perfection. The stage effects are very basic –really, the Greeks invented a lot of the techniques 2,000 years ago– but they are done so effectively and dramatically that it all just works. The show typifies what great theatre is all about.
And with the show being of a certain size (GIGANTIC), it is a real financial force and that force reverberates throughout the community. I was talking to one of the people who handle merchandise sales for the show. He is here for four weeks and will stay in a hotel out by the Dayton Mall for all that time. And he’ll buy groceries and eat in restaurants, and he’s renting a car while he is here, and he will probably find a nice place to hang out after the show some nights, and he will spend some dollars in the community. Now, multiply that by about 100 people who are here with the show and pretty soon that is 3,500 hotel nights and over 9,000 meals, and who knows how many cocktails, trips to the dry cleaners, or rides around town in a taxi.
The standard multiplier for economic impact on shows like The Lion King is about 3 to 1. That means for every $1 spent on tickets, audiences will spend another $3 on ancillary purchases like parking, souvenirs, restaurants, baby sitters, etc. With an expected audience of 70,000 people and approximately $5 million in ticket sales, the economic impact is around $15,000,000 on the show–not a bad shot in the arm for the Miami Valley.