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After ‘Wicked,’ Broadway in Fresno regroups

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I was very grumpy a few months ago when the new Broadway in Fresno season was announced. And why not? After teasing Fresno this past season with a full-fledged Broadway-caliber show in the form of “Wicked,” the 2011-12 season was a decided letdown.

Granted, the season has improved with the addition of “Rock of Ages,” which replaces “Grease.” But it certainly doesn’t include “The Lion King,” “Jersey Boys,” or the big-daddy touring show of them all, “The Phantom of the Opera” — one of which many Broadway fans I’ve talked to were hoping for. In my Sunday Spotlight column on the subject, I write:

The blunt truth is this: “Wicked” didn’t vault Fresno into the exalted ranks of cities that get first crack at hot Broadway shows. While the success of the unprecedented 16-show run, which was a near sell-out, probably did a lot to boost the city’s chances for nabbing a blockbuster show such as “Phantom” or “Lion King” in the future, the simple fact remains that there aren’t many shows with the name recognition and pop-culture appeal to anchor a multi-week run.

Broadway in Fresno is currently in the midst of its subscription campaign. I’ve talked to at least 10 people who say they aren’t renewing their season subscriptions.

A correction: In my Sunday column, I write that Blue Man Group — which Broadway in Fresno is marketing as its “big deal” appearance — will be here for its first appearance. What I should have written is that this will be Blue Man Group’s first Saroyan Theatre appearance with the series. The show has shifted from the arena-touring circuit to more intimate theater venues. Blue Man Group played at the Save Mart Center in both 2006 and 2008.

Here’s an interesting tidbit from those Save Mart performances, too. Blue Man Group’s 2006 appearance drew 4,410 ticket buyers. In 2008, that number had dipped to 2,995 — one of the lowest attended events that year at the Save Mart. Broadway in Fresno is hoping to fill three nights of Blue Man Group at 2,300 seats a night. Granted, the venue is smaller and more conducive to the scale of the show, but it will still be a hard sell for a show that’s already been here twice.

Responses to "After ‘Wicked,’ Broadway in Fresno regroups"

JC says:

When is In the Heights coming? When?

tony says:

just last week my wife and i saw BMG up in the city. the show was off the charts. nothing like we expected, but WOW. if anybody loves theater then you will be blown away with this. fresno is lucky to get this show and i hope fresno supports it.

Jasmine says:

Yes! I would love to see In the Heights come to Fresno.

Pickels says:

I went to San Francisco recently to see Blue Man Group. The Blue Man Group was a real hoot. Make sure you go if you are seeking to be entertained. I went with friends. We laugh our heads off. For the total effect, get tickets on the floor. Bring a plastic raincoat if you plan to sit in the first few rows. It gets a little messy.

Pickels says:

I went to San Francisco recently to see Blue Man Group. The Blue Man Group was a real hoot. Make sure you go if you are seeking to be entertained. I went with friends. We laugh our heads off. For the total effect, get tickets on the floor. Bring a plastic raincoat if you plan to sit in the first few rows. It gets a little messy.