Tourists' cash is going straight to Broadway's big shows

When it comes to big-ticket musicals, it looks like theatergoers want Broadway to play it again, Sam -- and again, and again, and again.

Gawker reports that New York City tourists spent a record amount on shows this Thanksgiving weekend -- but that most of the cash was pooled around longtime heavyweights like The Lion King, Wicked and Jersey Boys, all of which brought in $1 million or more at the box office. (Wicked, the biggest winner, made a lot more than that -- click here to read about that smashed record.)

Unfortunately, a boom for the big shows spells doom for the small ones. When critically hailed original musicals like In the Heights can't turn out decent profits, potential theater backers are less inclined to fund the production of new musicals, which are the real lifeblood of Broadway -- ever heard of an offbeat, no-budget musical called Rent?

Of course, shows like The Lion King and Wicked are so lucrative for a reason -- they're fantastic, moving and spectacles in the truest sense of the word.

So go ahead and see them. But if you already have, and you've got a trip to Broadway planned in the next several months, consider an underdog option like the revival of Hair, the family-themed Next to Normal or the blues-infused Memphis. You'll get plenty of bang for your buck -- and the added satisfaction of supporting the arts.

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