Friday, March 18, 2011

"A Chorus Line" at the Strand Theatre Thursday, March 24

Danny Fogger, Executive Director of The Strand Theatre, has always been a fun person to talk to. But, as any Danny fan knows, his entire countenance – even the tone of his voice – changes depending on how Strand Theatre ticket sales are doing. Let’s just say, he sounds great right about now.

”We have 302 tickets left for ‘A Chorus Line,’ with six days until the show, and we have just about 400 tickets left for ‘Legally Blonde,’ more than a month out,” Fogger said. Later, he added that ticket sales “are better than they have been since 2004, when ‘Les Mis’ came to town.”

While careful to stress that donations are still very much needed (donations account for one-third of all Strand Theatre income), Fogger is cautiously optimistic that this season – which has seen two sold-out shows and may see a third in “A Chorus Line” – could be indicative of brighter days ahead for the theatre that he so clearly loves. He doesn’t take credit for this season’s success, but will go so far as to say “I like to think that we had a diverse roster of shows, with some classics and some new stuff.”

To illustrate his point: the two sell-outs this season were “Monty Python’s Spamalot” and “Fiddler on the Roof.” For my money, this is a textbook example of an arts organization recruiting new fans with one hand while catering to its base with the other. It deserves to be applauded. Those of us who were able to get into “Spamalot” (more than 600 people were turned away or placed on a waiting list) saw with our own eyes that the average age in The Strand that night was 25-35.

What does this season say about next season? Danny won’t talk about what’s in store for next season, but will allude to “more shows that young people will be drawn to.”

For tickets to The Strand Theatre, call (318) 226-1481 or visit the Strand on-line.

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