A Native American tribe announced this week that it's putting its capital into Broadway.
On Monday, Foxwoods Casino, a venture owned by the Mashantucket Pequot tribe in Eastern Connecticut, announced that it has purchased the naming rights to one of Broadway's biggest theaters, the Hilton Theater on 42nd Street.
Foxwoods says its new so-called "Foxwoods Theater" is part of a marketing strategy that it hopes will pay off long-term, in that it may get more would-be New York City gamblers to come to its Connecticut casino and resort. The name-change also comes just in time for the opening of Broadway's long-awaited Spider Man: Turn Off the Dark musical, which will be in previews for theater critics beginning on November 14, and will be open to the public on December 21.
“I think this is the biggest show to hit Broadway in years,” says the chief marketing officer of Foxwoods, Rob Victoria. “The fact that it’s taken as long as it has means they’ve worked very, very hard to perfect it.”
With an estimated budget of $50 million, Spider Man is also expected to redefine big-budget Broadway, since it's the most expensive known production on Broadway to date. The show features high-flying acrobatics and a musical score composed by U2’s Bono.
Spider Man was originally set to open in February, but several production delays have slowed it down. As a result, the show lost some of its original star power, including actors Alan Cumming and Evan Rachel Wood. It also reportedly lost Hilton Hotels, the previous holder of the theater’s naming rights.
“I’m not sure why Mr. Hilton pulled out of the Hilton Theater, but I think that the fact that Spider Man has taken so long to produce, that might have factored into it,” says Victoria.
Despite the big Foxwoods sign going up over the front doors of the Foxwoods Theater in the coming months, the live concert company Live Nation will continue to own and operate the space.