Staging a musical has always been an expensive enterprise but nowadays to produce a big Broadway/West End hit costs many millions just to get to the point of putting the show on the stage.
Then there is the publicity, which has to be massive, and with the really big musicals the state government will give the producers grants as a successful show will bring millions of dollars to the city where it is showing. That’s why you will see competitions between Melbourne and Sydney to stage a musical first. The Book of Mormon has already been announced as opening in Melbourne in 2017 and Sydney saw Matilda as a coup.
The running costs for these big shows can also climb into millions each week so they have to make sure the theatres are full. The casts are big, the number of musicians is getting smaller as technology improves but they are still there, backstage there are usually more people than on the stage. And that is why the ticket prices are now close to $200 for the best seats.