Sunday, October 22, 2000

Rockettes kick up holiday ticket sales




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        All Rockettes all the time, that's what Cincinnati's getting for Christmas.

        Tickets to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular (Dec. 21-30) have been almost flying out of the box office since they went on sale in September. About 80 percent of the tickets are sold (that's 36,000 plus tickets), and half the performances “are sold out or close,” says Van Ackerman of the Fifth Third Bank Broadway Series. If you feel left out in the cold, here's some news to warm you: Performances are being added. Additional shows are set for 11 a.m. Dec. 22; 1 p.m. Dec. 24, 29 and 31; and 4 p.m. Dec. 26 and 28. Tickets range from $20-$49.50. Call 241-7469 for reservations.

        What the spectacular Radio City sales mean for the rest of the holiday performing calendar remains to be determined.

        Playhouse in the Park reports that sales for A Christmas Carol (Dec. 1-30) are on track with last year. Single ticket mailings didn't go out until earlier this week, and ads won't appear until mid-November.

        Carol, the best Christmas ghost story ever, is so different from the Radio City variety show that it's likely to be least affected.

        The big behind the scenes questions have been whether the Cincinnati Symphony's Home for the Holidays (Dec. 16-17 and 22-23) andCincinnati Ballet's The Nutcracker (Dec. 15-26) will be looking at empty stockings.

        Both shows' ticket sales are running ahead of last year.

        The CSO'sCinergy's Home for the Holidays has sold 1,975 tickets to 1999's 1,569 — but the CSO has added two extra concerts, and the second weekend (Dec. 22-23) runs head-to-head with the competition.

        According to CSO's Rosemary Weathers, the increased sales numbers this year come from group sales for company holiday parties and church groups, a push that started at the beginning of September.

        And Home for the Holidays has one of the best marketing tools around — fliers that will be included in Cinergy bills that will go to 713,000 households in November. Direct mail pieces also will go out in early November.

        Happily, Ms. Weathers points out, “We do have people who appreciate it's the Cincinnati Symphony doing the show, and children's tickets are only $10. It's more affordable for families.” (So there, Radio City.)

        “The big But in all this,” Cincinnati Ballet's Susan Eiswerth says, “is that it's early to be assessing the overall impact of the Radio City show.”

        Net arts: Is there a future for the performing arts on the Internet?

        “That's a big question, a huge question,” Karen Faaborg says. Ms. Faaborg, with Alan Yaffe, runs the Graduate Program in Arts Administration at University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. They are hosting the second annual Joan Cochran Rieveschl Series on Issues in the Arts. This year's forum, set for 1 to 3 p.m. Friday, is the Performing Arts on the Internet.

        The Internet, Ms. Faaborg says, has the potential to change the way we experience art.

        “It's totally interactive,” she says. “Some artists are already using the Web for collaboration. With 3-D and virtual reality there's the potential of being able to go onto the stage of an opera production.

        “How is that going to change what artists and audiences are and what they can be?”

        CCM has rounded up some of the biggest names in the business to help find answers:

        Lawrence Wilker is president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. He's leaving the center at the end of the year to join a new business venture that will present performing arts over the Internet.

        Joining him will be:

        Eugene Bonelli, president of the Dallas Symphony Association (and a former dean of CCM).

        Eugene Carr, president and CEO of arts ticketing and information site CultureFinder.com.

        Cheryl Faver, founder and co-director of the Gertrude Stein Repertory Theatre. Recently the theater has been working with Bell Labs to develop a new way for theater companies to use the Internet to collaborate on productions.

        The forum is open to the public. Call the arts administration office at 556-4383.

        Amnesty benefit: In other Broadway Series news, musicians and vocalists from Riverdance will cover songs by U2 to benefit Amnesty International's Campaign Against Torture, 7 p.m. Monday at Jump Cafe & Bar (1203 Main St., Over-the-Rhine).

        An Cat Dubh (that's U2-speak for “the black cat”) will include appetizers (courtesy of Jump), a cash bar and auction. The U2 connection is because lots of the performers have toured or recorded with the band.

        For ticket information, call the Broadway Series at 241-2345.

        • Helen Reddy has dropped out of the cast of upcoming Sound of Music (playing at the Aronoff Nov. 28-Dec. 10.) No word on a replacement. For everybody who has called asking the identity of the world's favorite singing novice, the Broadway Series reports she will be a newcomer.

        Soyinka dates set: Dates are now set for Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka's visit to Southwest Ohio. The Nigerian playwright/poet will appear at University of Cincinnati, then read his work at Ensemble Theatre, 8 p.m. Nov. 30 (tickets $10). On Dec. 1 he will travel to Miami University.

        His local appearance is in conjunction with the Theatre of the Mind reading series hosted by ETC. The series will present Mr. Soyinka's Death and the King's Horseman at 7 p.m. Nov. 20 to preview his appearance. Tickets $5. For information and reservations call the ETC box office at 421-3555.

        Actors wanted: IF Theatre Collective is looking for four actor/singers (men and women) for its December production of Songs for a New World. Tony-winning composer Jason Robert Brown's thoughtful and thought-provoking chamber musical is about the bigness of the small moments in life.

        Auditions are Monday evening by appointment. Call Benjamin Mosse at 961-7434.

        Road trip alert: Cincinnati actress Dale Hodges, who triumphed last season in Playhouse's production of Wit, returns to the role of a brilliant terminal cancer patient at Actors Theatre of Louisville. The show opens Thursday and continues through Nov. 18. Ms. Hodges last appeared at ATL in 1988 in The Real Thing.

        For reservations and information call the box office at (502) 585-1205.

        Want to direct?: The Footlighters are looking for directors for the 2001-2002 season at the Stained Glass Theater in Newport.

        Anyone interested in pitching a project should contact 791-4041 or Hofnheimer@aol.com for an application form. Deadline is Oct. 25. (Footlighters will be presenting, as always, two musicals and one non-musical)

        Jackie Demaline is The Enquirer's theater critic and roving arts reporter. Write her at Cincinnati Enquirer, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati OH 45202; fax, 768-8330; e-mail, jdemaline@enquirer.com.
       

       



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