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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Centennial Hall’s new role as Tucson’s Broadway venue means big benefits for UA area

    Bright lights. Big costumes. Tony Award winners.

    Broadway is coming to campus.

    With the opportunity to host shows like “Wicked” and “Sister Act,” UA Centennial Hall has been named the new home of Broadway in Tucson, beginning with its 2013-2014 season.

    The move from the downtown Tucson Musical Hall was announced last week, as Broadway in Tucson’s parent company, The Nederlander Organization, is signing an initial three-year contract in order to avoid some of the challenges of adapting to a new place, according to UApresents executive director, Chuck Tennes.

    Bringing Broadway shows to campus is one of the best possible moves for the UA. Not only is it going to bring the arts closer to students, but it will also make positive impacts on the campus community, like an increase in business for nearby restaurants, and will bring more attention to the art scene.

    “For UApresents and Centennial Hall, it’s a big thing,” said Tennes, who added that there are 40 shows scheduled for the upcoming season.

    According to a recent Arizona Daily Star article, the move was prompted because of TCC’s history of scheduling conflicts and double-booking shows.

    These problems were not only making TCC look bad, but also affecting Tucson’s reputation as a destination for the arts.

    Tennes said that this new agreement allows the company to provide Broadway showing without the financial risk, as its get the programming under the arrangement with Broadway in Tucson.

    What this means is that Centennial Hall no longer needs to worry about evening out costs from bringing a show by making revenue.“It’s basically like a renting agreement to use the stage, however unlike the previous arrangement with the TCC music hall,” Tennes said. He added that it also makes use of well-developed professionals who work for UApresents, such as the backstage crew and ushering staff.

    “A lot of goodwill between Broadway Tucson and UApresents,” said Tennes. “We are honored that they decided to do that with us.”

    Even though some individuals see this venue as a downgrade from the capabilities of the TCC music hall, it’s really just a matter of transition.

    Centennial Hall recently updated its sound system and brought in “Wicked,” a Broadway show that enjoyed success beginning in 2003.

    Not only that, but Centennial Hall is no stranger to presenting big-time shows.

    Just last week, it brought the Broadway musical “Fela!” to the stage, and it already does about 50 shows a season, according to Tennes.

    “We know the strengths and weaknesses and the challenges,” Tennes said. “Obviously Broadway in Tucson feels like it’s going to be a superior experience than what they have been doing downtown.”

    Not only that, Tennes said that UApresents also hoping to remodel Centennial Hall in the years ahead, making improvements so the seating and floor arrangement can be better adapted for a range of shows.

    Having a consistent, high-quality venue is going to build both Tucson’s and the UA’s reputation, which will only attract more individuals, groups and performers to our community.

    “It is all to the benefit to the UA community,” Tennes said. “We are going to bring tens of thousands of people on campus with little financial risk. To me it’s a very, very positive development.”

    —Razanne Chatila is a journalism sophomore. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @Razanne92.

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