A 2012 state law gives certain musical and theatrical productions a 25 percent tax credit against production, performance and transportation spending of the show. To qualify, productions must either preview here before moving to Broadway or play here as the first stop on a national tour directly following a Broadway run. Not everyone supported the idea of a new tax incentive, especially one that might appear to support a special interest. The tax credit applies almost exclusively to performances at the Providence Performing Arts Center and its subsidiary-managed Veterans Memorial Auditorium.
So far, at least, the tax credit has served its purpose. When “Phantom of the Opera” takes the stage at PPAC on Nov. 27, it will be the fourth show produced there to have benefited from the tax credit. And bringing in shows PPAC says wouldn’t have come without the tax credit has led to a boost of more than 10 percent in theater subscriptions this year and other economic benefits for local businesses.
The four shows expect to qualify for combined tax credits of nearly $1.5 million. Is this a good deal for just PPAC or the entire state?