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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UApresents no longer hosting Broadway

    Bye, Bye, Birdie

    Over the past five years UApresents has managed to rack up a $940,000 deficit, but the department has hopes of restoring financial stability.

    UApresents Executive Director Natalie Bohnet recognized that the department’s budget had heavily relied on revenue from Broadway productions such as “”The Phantom of the Opera,”” “”Les Miserables”” and “”Miss Saigon.””

    However, the 2003 arrival of Broadway in Tucson, which presents Broadway productions at the Tucson Music Hall, was competing for the same audience and had slaughtered their profits.

    “”Broadway shows were our money cows,”” said Bohnet, who has eliminated Broadway productions from UApresents upcoming 2006-2007 season.

    UApresents would have made a profit last year if it weren’t for the poor ticket sales from Broadway productions “”Oklahoma”” and “”The Little Shop of Horrors,”” said Bohnet.

    Together, the shows cost the department a whopping $160,000 and the latter of the two shows was canceled last year because of low ticket sales.

    A lawsuit was filed by The Little Shop of Horrors Touring Company for the show cancellation and the UA settled with the company for about $83,000 in June.

    Kale P. Arndt, a theatre arts junior, had tickets for the “”Little Shop of Horrors”” show.

    “”I was very disappointed when I heard that the show was canceled,”” Arndt said. “”I’m a huge fan of Little Shop of Horrors.””

    The number of shows put on by
    UApresents was reduced from 148 in 2000 to 80 shows for last season. There are 50 shows scheduled for the upcoming season.

    The reductions are part of Bohnet’s plan to be more financially responsible in their artistic decision-making, while continuing to fulfill the UApresents mission.

    Bohnet expects the deficit will take at least four to five years to pay off and plenty of hard work.

    Bohnet said she believes the upcoming season should be a profitable one for UApresents with shows such as the East Village Opera Company’s rock-opera concert.

    “”It will either turn a lot of opera fans off opera or turn a lot of rock fans onto opera,”” joked Public Relations Coordinator Jonathan Holden.

    The shows are expected to fill the 2,456 seats in Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd., which houses most of UApresents’ shows, Bohnet said.

    UApresents also stages shows at Crowder Hall, the Stevie Eller Dance Theatre and the Fox Theatre.

    The UApresents season begins Friday,
    October 6 at 8 p.m. when JosǸ Feliciano takes the stage in Centennial Hall. The Grammy Award-winning Feliciano was born blind but has mastered the acoustic guitar and recorded nearly 70 albums.

    Other shows from UApresents’ 2006-2007 season include:

    Cirque Dream’s “”Jungle Fantasy,”” a circus show of the world-renowned “”Cirque du Soleil”” variety.

    Momix’s “”Opus Cactus,”” a show put on by dancer-illusionists that combines gymnastics, acrobatics, aerial arts and ballet.

    “”Phonk!”” a group of five musicians that bang out a percussive beat on unusual instruments made from industrial scrap and not to mention some of the world’s best jazz bands, orchestras, dance groups and various other performers of international fame.

    Think operas are boring? Then look into East Village Opera Company, a rock opera. This opera includes an “”electrifying five-piece band, a string quartet and two powerful vocalists,”” according to the UApresents brochure.

    For more information on how to purchase tickets, for the 2006-07 schedule of events and for a teaser video, please visit the
    UApresents Web site at www.uapresents.org.

    In an effort to encourage students to attend the shows that UApresents has to offer, UA students, faculty and staff can purchase tickets at a discounted rate, starting at $10.

    Many students are unaware of the discounted ticket prices available to them, but Mario Di Vetta, UApresent’s public relations and marketing assistant, said he has plans to change that by placing fliers and posters in high traffic areas around campus.

    Di Vetta also creates events on Facebook.com inviting as many people as possible, and also advertises on MySpace.com. A UApresents MySpace account is also in the works, Di Vetta said.

    Mya Betts, a junior majoring in Spanish, said that going to a UApresents show would be a better alternative than the routine dinner-and-a-movie date.

    Edric Wong, an undeclared freshman, and Richard Nagy, a designer and drafter for the Steward Observatory, said they would both like to see more stand-up comedy acts in the UApresents program.

    “”UApresents provides a real opportunity for cultural enrichment,”” said Holden. “”We really are hosting world-class acts.””

    Centennial Hall has hosted many famous artists including Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Bill Cosby, Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Matthews Band and the Grateful Dead, who essentially rent the hall from UApresents.

    The money UApresents receives from renting the hall combined with their own ticket sales comprise 65 percent of the department’s income, 20 percent comes from state funding and the remaining 15 percent comes from private and corporate sponsors, Bohnet said.

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