Broadway stars help push tax break proposal for live theater

Sen. Chuck Schumer announces his campaign to give Broadway and live theater productions a tax break that will encourage investment and spur job creation at Sardi's Monday. Credit: Getty Images
Sen. Chuck Schumer announces his campaign to give Broadway and live theater productions a tax break that will encourage investment and spur job creation at Sardi’s Monday.
Credit: Getty Images

Stage stars and officials are pushing a proposal they said would make the neon lights on Broadway brighter to investors.

Actors Neil Patrick Harris, Tyne Daly and Bryan Cranston joined U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer on Monday to support legislation that would give Broadway and live theater productions a tax break.

“Broadway and other live theater productions face an uphill battle when it comes to getting investors to commit money to commercial stage productions,” Schumer said. “Investing in Broadway and live theater is often a big risk.”

Schumer’s bill would ease that risk, amending the federal tax code to allow 100 percent of investments in live theater be deductible up to $15 million per production, even if a show flops.

With more theater investment, the tax break would create “thousands and thousands” more jobs for actors and crew workers, according to Schumer, who was flanked by big-name stars and cast members from “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Newsies” and “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella” at Broadway restaurant Sardi’s.

Currently playing President Lyndon B. Jonson in “All the Way,” “Breaking Bad” star Cranston said the proposal is good for the tourism industry and would encourage investment in “fringe” projects.

“Full houses is what we’re looking for,” Cranston said. “Adventurous, new storytelling and making sure that every theater in New York has a play.”

Schumer said the amendment would put Broadway and other live shows on the “same footing” as film and TV projects, which already benefit from the tax deduction.

The proposal was tacked on to a tax bill that passed the Senate Finance Committee last week. Schumer’s office expects the Senate to vote on the bill in the coming weeks.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter @AnnaESanders


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