GREENSBORO, N.C. — "Wicked" will finish its run at the Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, and businesses say they've seen an impact from the show's nearly three-week run.
"We have seen so many customers, which has been amazing," said Tara Reeves, co-owner of 'Cille & Scoe in downtown Greensboro. "(Lots of business) due to "Wicked" and I’d say a majority of our nighttime customers are coming to grab dinner before the show.”
The Broadway show is a retelling of the classic "Wizard of Oz," taking elements from the original 1900 children's book by Frank L. Baum and the classic 1939 film. It tells the story of the "Wicked Witch of the West" Elphaba and "The Good Witch" Glinda when they meet in school.
“It’s the story behind the story - that was the best part," said Sue Bang, who came from Wake Forest to see the show Saturday with her daughter.
Leaders with the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce said the Tanger Center and "Wicked" have breathed new life into Greensboro.
“Depending on the night, maybe a third to half of the audience are coming from outside of Greensboro, Triad and beyond, so that’s fantastic," said Brent Christensen, the president of the Chamber of Commerce. "Those folks are coming in and spending an awful lot of money and that’s a great shot in the arm to the Greensboro and Guilford County economy - there’s no doubt about that.”
Business owners like Reeves say you can feel the excitement.
“The atmosphere has been fantastic. People have been so kind and happy to be here," said Reeves. "They are excited to have something to do again. It feels like things have almost gotten back to normal a little bit when you get to go have a nice dinner and go see a show.”
Ali Steinhorn, the owner of Stumble Stilkins, said they did not really know what to expect but have seen large dinner crowds and generally more business.
"We are happy that 'Wicked' happened and we’re happy that the Tanger Center is here," said Steinhorn.
“What’s been wonderful is watching these restaurants that have been struggling a bit during COVID come to life," said Christensen.
Christensen said he knew the Tanger Center and the show was successful when he tried to get parking on a Thursday and couldn't find a spot.
“When you have sell-out night after night, I think it proves the market, it proves the demand that is here in the community for these types of shows," said Christensen.
The opening of the Tanger Center was pushed back due to the pandemic, but now the slate of upcoming shows is full and the community is ready.
“This three-week run of 'Wicked' has proven that it’s going to be a great asset to our community for many, many years to come," said Christensen.