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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA Centennial Hall to boost performance arts by hosting Broadway in Tucson shows

A more varied program of plays and musicals will be available on the UA campus starting next semester, due to a recent collaboration with Broadway in Tucson.

A three-year contract signed by The Nederlander Organization, a parent company of Broadway in Tucson, will move production from the Tucson Music Hall to the UA’s Centennial Hall starting in the 2013-14 season.

Although a few Broadway shows, such as “Wicked,” have made their way to Centennial Hall in previous years, the partnership will provide more benefits for UApresents and businesses on University Boulevard. Conflicts with scheduled classes at Centennial Hall have hindered its ability to provide more Broadway shows and, in recent years, the shows have become rare for UApresents.

“We’re certain we’ll find better opportunities,” said Lendra Kearns, general manager of Broadway in Tucson. “I think it will add another value to campus and it’s great timing for our 10th anniversary.”

Although recent double bookings of shows and scheduling conflicts prompted Nederlander to relocate production, Kearns said those issues are no longer a concern. Kearns said she is confident the program will have something new to offer audiences based on past successes at Centennial Hall.

“Those were real issues, but that had a lot to do with old management and it’s really an old story,” Kearns said. “We can work closely with UApresents and we’re excited about being on campus and maybe even starting an auxiliary program with students.”

The partnership also looked promising from a financial perspective, said Chuck Tennes, the executive director of UApresents.

“Programming’s never been an issue and there’s no financial risk,” Tennes said. “We all know that campus has a lot of young … people, so we’d sell enough tickets. I am very glad to provide a new type of programming and add Broadway to the list of offerings.”

Tennes said with the recent move, Broadway in Tucson will add 40 shows to Centennial Hall for the upcoming year, but UApresents will have first call over booking space. He also said he hopes the collaboration will bring up renovation plans for Centennial Hall, which are already on the university’s budget plan.

“I think it would be more reasonable to ask for a remodeling with all of the extra programming going on,” Tennes said. “It’s been a very long time and we’d be bringing in major revenue.”

Despite the construction near campus over the past year and limited parking, attendance for shows has not been majorly affected, according to Tennes. Additionally, more shows at Centennial Hall will result in more customers for businesses located on University Boulevard, Tennes added.

Merchants near campus have already been approaching the Marshall Foundation, said Jane McCollum, general manager of the Marshall Foundation. When the Broadway show “Wicked” came to Centennial Hall during the 2010-2011 season, businesses on University Boulevard collaborated on marketing projects with Broadway in Tucson by offering specials and promotions. McCollum said she anticipates doing the same for the upcoming season.

As arrangements are made for the upcoming season, Tennes said he hopes to host Broadway in Tucson for years to come.

“It’s been a good thing and hope this is the beginning of a long-lasting relationship with Centennial Hall,” Tennes said.

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