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Friday, January 23, 2009

Broadway Center for the Performing Arts Still Thrives Despite Economy

I have had the privilege of seeing some shows through the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts late last year and early this year. Of course I purchased my tickets some time ago and hoarded them like a greedy little squirrel in my event goody box in the kitchen (home of the restaurant coupons, 2 for 1's, local art and food announcements, and the like). I caught Martin Short at the Pantages last fall, Billy Joel and Twyla Tharp's "Movin' Out" at the Pantages, and most recently, the Rock 'n' Roll American Gospel Choir at Theater on The Square.

All these shows were positively AMAZING and worth every cent. I witnessed some of the finest and most dynamic performers I've ever seen live. EVER. Each show whisked me outside of my life, little ol' Tacoma and deep into the world of music, dance, and comedy. I am very proud of Grit City and the Center's ability to attract excellent, high value entertainment. David Fischer, Executive Director of the center, wrote a beautiful letter in the "Encore Arts Programs" publication. He profusely thanked the local community for all of their support, despite these harsh economic times. And he noted, "...We are happy to fulfill and hopefully make your life a little better."

Ain't that the truth!

It saddens me to see empty seats at the shows, but I understand. As the old saying goes, when the economy goes sour, the arts tend to be the hardest hit.

So, I'll be saving my pennies to devote to live theater and performance going forward. To me, the transportation to another world and into the dream like swoon of the theater, is worth it.

Readers, bloggers: Are you passionate about the local arts? If so, what local arts venues are the most important to you? What ideas do you have for our local arts venues to attract more customers and business? How do you enjoy the arts without breaking the bank?

Do tell!


Lorraine Hart said...

Those of us who live in the Arts community get pretty lucky with our neighbourly open door policy. That helps a lot, seeing as we're often on the lower end of the economic spectrum.

The last show we broke the bank for was Savion Glover's "Bring in the Funk, Bring in the Noise" at the Paramount in Seattle...that was a few years ago now, though the memories of incredible dancing stay.

Tweed Meyer and I began a discussion that we intend to continue...about a co-operative of artists, trying to survive the hard times.

Speaking of Tweed, Kim, I know you really liked her work so I wanted to tell you that some of her artwork is being displayed this month in U.P. at the Franciscan Health Hospice, 2901 Bridgeport Way W. She'll be shown at the Key Centre library through February.

The Arts takes a hit during bad economic times but, at the same time, the Arts is what will bring our spirits through. Perhaps the local, affordable variety-type show might make a comeback.

I think it's important to remember that the Arts do more than pass the time, or simply entertain. They make connections in the brain and raise the all-important imagination for a little evolution.

Communities need their artists and the community should support them. I support an idea I heard on NPR, where a sort of Peace Corps of artists get to come into the schools that have lost Arts funding.

Stephanie Frieze said...

We have enjoyed several wonderful performances in the Tacoma Theater District, not the least of which has included First Night.

I would like to see Tacoma theaters make the sort of offer Seattle's Fifth Avenue has for educators. From time to time they offer a substantial discount on tickets to school district employees. The end of the month we are taking our daughter to see Memphis for $20 per ticket.

Always I've been a big fan of school theater. Thursday night our family attended the Harbor Ridge Middle School production of "Mid Summer Night's Dream." Granted it was 6th - 8th graders, but the price was right--free, although they passed the hat for PTSA.

Clover Park High School will be presenting "Little Shop of Horrors" at the end of this month and Gig Harbor High School is in rehearsals for "Guys and Dolls." For frugal theater you can't beat school theater so call your local high school and see what offerings they have for the rest of this school year.