A year before theatrical commitments to the Providence Performing Arts Center are made, President J.L. “Lynn” Singleton is busy talking to Broadway producers about the possibility of bringing openings of national tours to town.
Running parallel with those conversations, Singleton told Providence Business News, are discussions with major sponsors.
And while there’s not necessarily any direct correlation or benefit, Singleton says, to the Taco/The White Family Foundation’s recently announced multiyear sponsorship of PPAC’s Broadway Series, which covers the opening of one national tour – “Cinderella” – and six other productions, the sponsor’s commitment through the 2016-17 performance season elevates the theater’s profile.
“It’s probably helpful that you have a major sponsor, a major business in Rhode Island, on the team supportive of the organization,” said Singleton. “Now that they’ve made a multiyear commitment, that’s a vote of confidence in [PPAC].”
“Cinderella,” which runs from Oct. 10-18, is the fifth national tour to open at PPAC, following “Elf the Musical” in 2012 and “Evita,” “Once” and “Phantom of the Opera” in the 2013-14 season. All four prior openings qualified for a state tax credit, and Singleton said PPAC will be applying for a comparable benefit for “Cinderella.”
State law gives certain musical and theatrical productions a 25 percent tax credit against total production, performance and transportation expenses for a show that plays here as the first stop on a national tour following a Broadway run – or for a show that previews here before moving to Broadway within the year.
“Elf the Musical” received $210,493.59 in tax credits, but the other three shows have not received them yet, because the R.I. Film and Television Office does not yet know the results of audits performed by the R.I. Division of Taxation, said Steven Feinberg, executive director of the film and television office.
The exclusive sponsorship that the foundation now has is not new, though the commitment for successive years is, said Thomas J. Farrell, foundation president. And the sponsorship covers the entire Broadway series, not just “Cinderella.”