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4/25/2023 Senate OKs extension of tax credit for musical and theater tours launched in R.I.
STATE HOUSE – The Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore Hanna M. Gallo to extend the state’s existing musical and theater production tax credit program to national tours that skip Broadway and launch right from Rhode Island.

Rhode Island has established itself as a leading location from which to launch national tours since it enacted the musical and theater tax credit program in 2011. Since that time, 15 national touring productions have launched from Providence Performing Arts Center, and two more are scheduled in upcoming seasons, as well as one slated at Veterans Memorial Auditorium.

“Our tax credit program has helped Rhode Island become a leader as a location for launching national tours, to the benefit of our economy. We have developed an industry of theater professionals who are located here, and our hospitality industry reaps tremendous benefits from each production. Keeping our program up to date will help Rhode Island remain one of the most sought-after locations for national tour launches, and keep the associated dollars pumping into our economy,” said Senator Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick). “While national tour launches are big business, this is really a bill that helps small business. Every time we launch a tour, its Providence run packs our restaurants, our hotels, our local shops and other businesses. The benefits are widespread, and I’m happy to sponsor this bill to keep them coming.”

The way the existing tax credit law is written, a production qualifies for the tax credit only if the tour is launching either following a Broadway production of the show, or as a precursor to a Broadway run that is planned within 36 months of the tour.

According to Janice Anderson, who serves as director of theatrical programming at Providence Performing Arts Center and Veterans Memorial Auditorium, in today’s post-pandemic economy, producers are increasingly choosing to bring productions straight on the road, foregoing the risky economics of a Broadway production. Without a Broadway run, a tour would not qualify for Rhode Island’s tax credit program.

While Rhode Island has benefited from being one of the first states that had a tax incentive for the creation of touring productions, New York and Maryland have since enacted laws that put them in competition with Rhode Island, and Massachusetts and Connecticut are considering similar legislation, Anderson told the Senate Finance Committee during the bill’s hearing. Ensuring that productions can take advantage of the credit whether or not they have a Broadway run will help Rhode Island keep its place as a top location from which to launch a national tour.

The legislation (2023-S 0464) also extends the sunset on the tax credit program from July 2024 to July 2027.

The legislation now heads to the House of Representatives, where Rep. Lauren H. Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport) is sponsoring identical legislation (2023-H 5801).

For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-1923