The next Broadway show in our lineup, WICKED, is commonly called a “blockbuster.” There aren't many blockbuster shows out there. Only a small number of musicals can sell every seat from New York to Des Moines to Portland and down to San Antonio. PHANTOM, JERSEY BOYS, and LES MISERABLES are some examples of the half dozen or so productions that do well on Broadway and “on the road,” touring the country and sometimes even internationally.
These shows usually slow down after a few good years on Broadway and a trip or two around the touring hotspots, but every now and then a blockbuster takes on a life of its own. WICKED is a perfect example. This show, which just celebrated a decade on Broadway, prides itself on selling out every performance of the eight touring productions currently taking place all over the world. It is one musical that every theatre, the Orpheum included, wants as often as it can book it – taking into consideration, of course, that we don't "burn out" our audience.
Close on the heels of WICKED is another notable blockbuster: Disney’s THE LION KING. Both WICKED and THE LION KING are the godsends of any season ticket package.
We are very fortunate to have WICKED as our next Broadway show and the first for the new year. It will be here for three weeks. It's hard to believe that in that time, our 2,450-seat theatre will amass almost 60,000 patrons coming from all over the Mid-South to see this spectacular show. 60,000 – that is the equivalent of filling the FedEx Forum three times. Imagine three sellout nights at the Forum. I think it would take a rare superstar to sell 60,000 seats in Memphis. And WICKED is that rare superstar!
Tickets are selling fast at the rate of over 600 per day, and the show doesn’t open until January 29th – more than five weeks from now. When this musical has come and gone, I will start to look at when we can welcome WICKED back to the Orpheum a few years down the road. And then I will start to wonder when THE LION KING will once again parade down the aisles of the South’s most beautiful Theatre.
Orpheum President and CEO