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Tony Award winnahs get box-office bump

June 18, 2008 |  7:00 pm

For those who wonder why the producers of Broadway shows work so hard to win Tony Awards, the answer lies in the dramatic uptick in takings following exposure on Sunday night's CBS telecast. Even with increased competition meaning decreased ratings as of late (last year it was the series finale of "The Sopranos" while this year it was merely a NBA finalist game), the 6 million or so who do tune in to the Tony Awards are definite theater fans.

As per Variety, they voted for the winners on Monday with best musical "In the Heights" racking up a cool million in sales while best revival "South Pacific" took in $700K. But these increased ticket sales don't come cheap. According to the exec producer of Lincoln Center Theater, staging the showstopping "South Pacific" medley on the Tony Awards cost $240,000. And "Heights" had to reach for close to $200K to put together its ensemble number.

In a break with Tony tradition, even new tuners that didn't make the final four were featured, albeit in abbreviated fashion. And old chestnuts like "The Lion King," which opened the telecast, and the soon to be closing "Rent," which brought back the original cast for one last number, also benefitted from the not so free publicity. And with host Whoopi Goldberg regarded as the best booster of Broadway since Rosie O'Donnell, hopes are that the sales will continue to rise into the summer.