The surprising cost of a musical


Box office for “Footloose”

Sabrina Leung, Editorial Director


Carlmont’s musical production of “Footloose” hit the stage this weekend with a full audience and sold out two consecutive nights.

Although it may appear that Carlmont’s Performing Arts Program makes a huge amount of money off the musical, most people do not know how much a musical production costs.

“We don’t earn much money at all, maybe a few hundred dollars. What we aim to do each year is to simply break even on our expenses. Costumes, renting sets, building sets, lighting etc…all cost a lot of money,” stated Choir Director Geneieve Tep.

This year, “Footloose” required a variety of props for each scene throughout the whole show. Actors also had multiple costume changes as well.

While some believe that $15 is expensive for a high school musical production, musicals require a huge amount of money for extravagant costumes and decorative scenes and props.

“The lighting and technical stuff used for the musical costs a lot of money. Sometimes, we have to rent costumes and the different background scenes. So all the money earned is used to pay the expenses. Luckily, the students serve as actors, musicians, backstage crew and technical assistants,” stated sophomore Laila Rafi.

On average, a small musical production costs over thousands and even hundred thousand dollars. According to New York Times, it costs around $5 million-$20 million to open a musical on Broadway.

Students aren’t the only ones involved in the musical. Parent volunteers also help with the box office ticket sales.

“Parent volunteers with guidance from the performing arts faculty run the box office and ticket sales for the show. Most of them are part of CAPA or parents of the kids in the show,” explained Tep.

In the past, Carlmont has earned the money for a musical production through ticket sales and donations.

“We get the money for costumes and decorations from ticket sales and profits from past music events. Some of the set props and costumes were donated. The extra money earned from the musical is donated to the Drama club,”said Tep.

Despite the thousands of dollars earned from each production, the money allows the performing arts program to cover the expenses of the show and allow audience members to enjoy future musical productions.