Friday, April 3, 2009

The Drama Drop -

* Shock of all shocks... another arts organization is needing to make cuts. Opera Columbus has decided, due to it's financial issues, to cancel a planned June run of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado, to cut an employee and mandate unpaid days off for its remaining workers. I feel badly for the employee that was let go because I have been laid off and it ain't fun. But, what's worse is that they're cutting The Mikado, which can be a real box office draw if it's publicized correctly. After all, it's the best of the G & S shows, in my opinion. But I tend to be a little biased - PoohBah stand as one of my favorite roles.

* Phoenix Symphony musicians could be forced into part-time work under a proposal to help balance the 60-year-old organization's budget. According to Mark Dix, a spokesman for the American Federation of Musicians, Local 586, Phoenix Symphony musicians haven't worked part time in over 30 years. The union represents 76 symphony musicians. The Arizona Republic reports that the change would shorten the orchestra's 40-week season, which features 200 performances. A sharp slide in donations has forced the Phoenix Symphony to raise $2 million by June 30, said Maryellen Gleason, the symphony's president and CEO. This is a little more personal to me since I lived in Phoenix off-and-on for 11 years. I continue to wish nothing but the best for the TPS - and encourage all of my Phoenix friends to attend a performance or five! There is one upcoming performance that should be particularly fantastic as it features a certain soprano.

* In better news, the USC Thornton School of Music announced today that it is expanding its presence on campus by 50% as it has acquired three buildings on the university's main campus. The buildings belonged to the USC School of Cinematic Arts which just moved into it's new home. The newly acquired School of Music buildings will transition to USC Thornton over the next two years and will be used as classrooms and rehearsal and performance spaces. In addition, the school also confirmed to the LA Times that four new undergraduate programs will launch in the fall 2009 semester. The offerings will be Bachelor of Arts degrees in popular music performance, choral music, vocal jazz and performing and visual arts studies, which is an interdisciplinary degree.

* And some news that will thrill my four-year-old to no end... Disney Theatrical Productions announced a new ticket-discounting program on Wednesday to boost sales for its three Broadway shows. The program offers a $15 companion ticket to any theatergoer who buys a regularly priced ticket this spring. The promotion will apply to The Little Mermaid, which has lost considerable ground compared with a year ago, as well as Mary Poppins and The Lion King.

[Photos - Top: Theatre poster for The Mikado. Bottom: Sierra Boggess, left, Sherie Rene Scott and Tyler Maynard in Disney’s The Little Mermaid. By Sara Krulwich/The New York Times]

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