Merchants get boost from musical
Updated 8:05 p.m.
SCHENECTADY As the 23rd of 24 “Wicked” performances came to an end, actors contemplated upcoming vacation, the audience crushed toward the Proctors doors and Dennis McDonald of Pinhead Susan’s braced for a massive dinner rush.
“Before and after the performances it’s always pretty full in here,” he said over the sound of theater patrons enjoying a post-play Guinness.
His restaurant is one of the popular hangouts for audience members. Sunday evening, many of the tables resounded with “Wicked” recaps.
“We thought it was really great,” said Pat Wixson, who went with a group of eight friends to the musical and dinner afterward. “It was a little different than the production we saw in New York City.”
“It was cheaper,” laughed Tony Behan.
Asked what they liked most about “Wicked,” shouts detailing nearly every aspect of the production, from the fine colorful sets, to the tight songwriting, came rapid fire. Their laughter mixed with many others in the crowded restaurant.
“Proctors is very good for business,” McDonald said. “Sometimes I have to turn people away. There’s a small window between shows.”
According to Proctors CEO Philip Morris, Pinhead Susan’s isn’t alone.
“These Broadway shows change the whole atmosphere downtown,” he said.
Over “Wicked’s” 24 showings, Proctors filled an average of 85 percent of their 2,600 seats. It’s a win for the theater, Morris said, generating more than the $90,000 in weekly ticket sales necessary to maintain overhead.
Altogether, more than 50,000 people from all over the Capital Region saw the production, likely needing a good meal afterward.
But McDonald’s rush to get delicious pub fare to the guests was nothing compared with the task ahead of the “Wicked” stage crew.
After the last performance Sunday night, 13 big rigs were packed with gear from the tall sets and miles of electronics to flying monkey costumes — everything it takes to run the show -- headed to the show's next opening in Syrcuse on Wednesday.