For many professionals, being part of a Broadway musical is a high point in their career. Unsurprisingly, producing a Broadway musical demands a high investment that goes to actors, directors, costumes, productions and the list goes on.
However, there are no guarantees that a musical will be a success once it reaches the stage. Therefore, some plays go under a trial period in other cities before arriving on Broadway. Here are the 10 most expensive Broadway musicals ever produced.
10 Dance of the Vampires - $12 Million
Dance of the Vampires was released in 2003 and it was one of the most expensive Broadway productions ever made. Costing $12 million, it's an adaptation of the classic movie with the same name, directed by Roman Polanski.
The plot focuses on Professor Abronsius who tries to stop vampires from taking over the world on Halloween night. He also has to save Sarah, a virgin the vampire Count Von Krolock wants to seduce. The play was one of the biggest failures in the history of musicals and had a multimillionaire loss. It was canceled after 56 performances. However, Dance of the Vampires was a success in other countries.
9 Tarzan- $14 Million
Disney Theatrical Productions commissioned David Henry Hwang, a Tony Award winner, to write the Tarzan musical book. The play was based on the 1999 animated movie and cost $14 million, according to the New York Times.
Tarzan was held at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, with its first performance in 2006. However, the stage adaptation didn't thrill the public and the critics. Producers decided to cancel it in 2008 after less than 500 performances. However, it found success overseas, and it performed well in other countries. This frequently happens with musicals.
8 The Little Mermaid: $15 Million
After a try-out period in Denver, The Little Mermaid arrived on Broadway in 2007. According to the New York Times, Disney has invested nearly $15 million in the production.
The musical is an adaptation of the award-winning movie, released by Disney in 1989. The plot focuses on Ariel, a mermaid that makes a deal with a witch to have legs and try to find the man she fell in love with. The musical was not as successful as the movie and it was canceled in 2008.
7 SpongeBob - $18 Million
The musical SpongeBob arrived on Broadway in 2017. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the production cost $18 million and received 12 Tony nominations. The critics loved the play, but the public didn't love it.
The show had songs written by Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Cyndi Lauper, Sara Bareilles, John Legend, The Flaming Lips, Lady Antebellum, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T's, They Might Be Giants and T.I. But even that wasn't enough to fill the theatre seats, and it grossed 70 percent less than expected. The musical was canceled in September 2018, just nine months after its first performance.
6 Wicked - $16,900,00
Wicked is a successful musical that tells the history of Oz before the arrival of Dorothy. The plot focuses on the witches and shows that not everything is so black and white when it comes to heroes and villains.
Wicked cost $16,900,000 to make and both critics and the public loved it. It has also received multiple nominations for the Tony Awards. In 2013, Wicked set another record, and it was the first Broadway production to gross $3 million in just one week. According to Playbill, it is the second highest-grossing musical in history. It made $1.2 billion since 2003.
5 Beauty and the Beast: $17.4 million
Beauty and the Beast was the first Disney endeavor on Broadway. The $17.4 million musical was produced in 1994 and followed the plot from the animated movie released in 1991.
It was a success among critics and the musical received the Tony Award for Best Costume Design in 1994. The acclaimed play motivated Disney to adapt other classics to the stage. The super productions are often high-grossing musicals. The Beauty and the Beast musical was on stage for 13 years. The high-grossing play proved to be an excellent investment to the investors.
4 The Lion King - $27,500,000
The Lion King is the most daring Disney production on Broadway. The legendary Elton John created the music and Tim Rice wrote the lyrics. It is also the most expensive production and cost $27.5 million. However, it was definitely worth it.
The first time The Lion King was on stage was in 1999 and it was a success with both audiences and critics. In 2013, it was the first Broadway musical to gross $1 billion. It is also one of the longest-running shows of all times. It is also a success overseas and some countries have adapted the play.
3 Frozen - $25 Million
Frozen is the highest-budget Disney production. The musical arrived at the James Theater in New York after a trial.period in Denver. The production cost $25 million, but some sources say that the investment can actually be up to $30 million.
More than 200 people bought tickets to watch the preview. Frozen is one of the most successful Disney projects and made up to $1.2 billion since the movie was released in 2013. The musical didn't disappoint the fans and the stage version brought 12 new songs and new scenes.
2 Shrek: The Musical - $25 Million
According to the New York Times, Shrek: The Musical had a $25 million production cost. The musical adapted the successful DreamWorks animation and Jea nine Tesori created the music.
The stage version follows the book and the movie, and It focuses on Shrek and the talking donkey trying to rescue Princess Fiona from a tower. Although the plot is the same, the musical had some individual details that captivated the criticals. Although the musical was a success overseas, it did not perform well in New York.
1 Spider-Man - $75.000.000
The Spider-Man was the most expensive musical ever made. The production cost $75 million according to Variety. Julie Taylor, who directed The Lion King, and the U2 stars, Bono and Edge, worked on the production together. It seems like the perfect combination of successful, talented people, but the production wasn't successful.
The investors had a $60 million loss and several of them claimed they had not been paid back. According to Playbill, the Spider-Man production cost over $1 million per week and the weekly gross was less than that. Critics also slammed the production.