Best Touring Theater Production of the Year - Phantom of the Opera
It came and went just more than a year ago, but people are still talking about it. Phantom of the Opera, the Andrew Lloyd Webber, synthesizer-heavy, Beauty and the Beast tale of doomed love, stayed here a record five weeks. While the hype surrounding Phantom's arrival was significant enough to support all 32 performances, the show lived up to every word of highly vaulted praise. Best of all, Phantom paved the way for big improvements, both in the Opera House and in the local economy. The Opera House roof was reinforced to support not only the showstopping chandelier drop, but also the helicopter for Miss Saigon, which preceded Phantom by six weeks. With a stronger Opera House, Spokane can draw bigger and better shows each year, which is a good thing considering the amount of visitors and revenue generated by Phantom. Eighty-two thousand out-of-town visitors poured into the area, and more than $9 million was pumped into the local economy. "It's had the largest single impact on Spokane since Expo '74," Jack Lucas, vice president of entertainment services for WestCoast Entertainment, told us last year. When it comes to big budget Broadway shows, all we have to say is "keep 'em coming."
Second place: Annie Get Your Gun
Third place: Ragtime/Stomp (tie)