For more than four decades, Jack Lucas has been deeply involved in the Inland Northwest's entertainment industry. Whether it was as president of TicketsWest, event supervisor for the city of Spokane, or in his current position as the president of West Coast Entertainment, he's played a leading role in bringing top-class entertainment to the region.
Here are some of his behind-the-scenes revelations.
1. Entertainment is Good for the Economy
No, this basic fact might not come as a shock, but the scale is certainly impressive. Lucas estimates that Best of Broadway alone has brought over 2.8 million people through the front doors of the INB Performing Arts Center (and its earlier incarnations) since the series started 33 years ago.
"The last study that the Broadway League did indicated that for every dollar spent on a Broadway ticket, there's about a $3 return to the local economy," he says. Ticket prices have changed over the years, of course, but even a conservative average estimate of, say, $30 per ticket amounts to a pretty hefty boost to local businesses.
2. It Takes a (Skilled) Village
"It takes between 50 and 100 local stagehands to make the theater magic happen on each Broadway show. That means moving the show in, running the performance and then moving the show out at the end," Lucas says.
For that, he relies heavily on IATSE Local 93, the local stagehands union. Its talent pool includes wardrobe specialists, wig and hair stylists, cosmetologists, electricians, lighting designers and carpenters.
"We would not be able to do Broadway here in Spokane — it just wouldn't happen — without the vast variety of talent that actually lives here."
3. There's No Such Thing as "Traveling Light"
A typical Broadway "mega-musical" touring production travels in around 20 53-foot semi trucks.
"If you were to line those up on Spokane Falls Boulevard, it would span a few blocks," says Lucas. "It's huge. It takes about two-and-a-half days to move a show like Phantom in, and it takes an enormous amount of hours to move a show out. It's a long, long process."