Theatre looks back at season and sold out shows

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, April 24th, 2019 at 10:15 PM

With the end of another semester comes the end to another season of theatre at Edinboro.

Presenting shows such as “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940,” a night of “Jokes and Dagger” improvisation, “The Addams Family Musical” and a night of “One Acts,” it was a varied experience in spring 2019.

The community rewarded that variety.

For the “Addams Family Musical” alone, seven out of the eight showings were sold out, according to Alpha Psi Omega (ΑΨΩ) theatre fraternity treasurer Mikhail Ferree.

However, Ferree traced this recent success back to last year’s production of “Arsenic and Old Lace.” While that show did not break even, they did sell out for two of their showings. This led them to work more on their advertising to try to turn a profit.

Their efforts paid off with “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940.”

“We saw the highest attendance of any show in years, all thanks to our student-led initiatives packing the theater,” said Ferree.

Coming off of the success of this show, they prepared to produce “The Addams Family Musical”; unfortunately, this brought its own set of issues. “I was worried about the ‘Addams Family’ because two other local theaters were producing it just a month or two before us, and a third theater right after us. I was worried that there wouldn’t be a demand for ‘Addams,’ that people wouldn’t come to see it because they already had elsewhere, and that we wouldn’t get the rights because of saturation,” said Ferree. “However, despite all of that, we still managed to captivate the town and sell out almost completely.”

The success of the show was also seen by Alpha Psi Omega president Maddie Krol, who said: “The theatre has been doing fairly well recently. Advertising has gotten a lot better for us, and we have been doing our best to encourage as much student participation as possible.”

Ferree agreed, finding that in addition to advertising, a factor that played into their recent success has been a new method of selling tickets. “[We have] a new system that enables us to reserve seats and get people RSVP’d ahead of time. People were finding out that tickets were selling fast, and so they were more eager to come see our show. That is probably the biggest boon we’ve had to the theatre this year.”

All of this helped to create a great feeling of satisfaction for the cast, as well as the director of the “Addams Family Musical,” Joey Asti.

Of his experience, Asti said: “Honestly, and this sounds dramatic, but it was the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. It was amazing to get to see the growth of the cast, as a family and as individuals. While it was exhausting at times, it was worth it to see the reactions of audience members.”

Asti conveyed that there was another possible draw for the sold-out audiences. “I think the cast had a lot to do with it. We had such a talented group of individuals, and I think that after a few shows the word got out and people wanted to see it for themselves,” he said. “I think the name had a lot to do with it, as well. People love the Addams, and I think some of the people wanted to see them in person. I think we ended up with the perfect show and the perfect cast, and when that happens, it’s truly magical.”

It’s a trend that is much needed, because, as mentioned in previous articles in The Spectator (See stories in Issue 14 and Issue 19), the circumstances the theatre students find themselves in is certainly unique.

Ferree explained further: “In the wake of losing our major and minor, the onus of maintaining and regulating the theatre has fallen on the students, and as we’re learning how to do this, we have become more organized and united. This organization has started to create sustainable theatre and has finally put us on a path that can be financially viable, and we’re working hard to continue that going into this next season.”

This is a sentiment shared by Asti. “I think that the show serves as proof that theatre is far from dead on this campus,” he said. “I think it sends a clear signal that regardless of limitations, we have the ability and drive to keep theatre going on this campus. I hope that the traction we have built stays put, and that we can start working to make theatre more and more prominent on Edinboro’s campus.”

Ferree concluded: “It’s been an absolute pleasure seeing the growth in success of the theatre rise so rapidly, but this is only the beginning of an upward trend. There is still a lot of work to be done to keep it going, but I believe that will happen.”

While they have not yet announced the show lineup for next semester, the theatre groups at Edinboro hope to continue to put on quality shows despite the odds against them.

Nathan Brennan | ae.spectator@gmail.com

Tags: theatre, diebold

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