In a recent article at the Denver Post, it was revealed that nonprofit theatres (read: not commercial for profit theatres on Broadway) contributed 1.9 billion dollars to the national economy in 2010.
The article states:
The study also asserts that, generally speaking, communities in which theatres pop up are communities that are then revitalized by the presence of that theatre, which further encourages the growth of local economies. One researcher is calling this the "arts ripple effect."
So, not only is the theatre good in qualitative ways (enrichment of mind and soul), but it's also good for America (and Canada [and...the world!]) in down and dirty monetarily quantifiable ways. Good to know.