Friday, April 27, 2012

I really don't know what to make of this, as I only hear people crying poor...poor funding, poor attendance, poor support...and here is a %10 increase over past year?


Sarasota, FL: The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall has just completed one of the most successful seasons in the theater’s forty-two year history, surpassing last season’s sales. This year’s sales were $6,207,790 and 108,737 tickets sold, while last year’s sales were $5,559,227 and 99,946 tickets sold. This amount consists of Van Wezel presented Main Stage performances only, and does not take into account local companies, event rentals, and Van Wezel Schooltime performances.

 The theater was delighted to open this year with brand new seats, supported in part by a grant from the Selby Foundation, and pleased to be the first performing arts venue in Sarasota to offer a Hearing Loop, generously sponsored by Sertoma Sarasota. Season highlights included Sarasota debuts of Dolly Parton whose performance was underscored with multiple standing ovations and a presentation of a key to the city by Mayor Atwell, and two phenomenal sellout performances of Jerry Seinfeld. Triumphant return sellouts  or near sellouts included RAIN, Tim Conway, Willie Nelson, Cats, Moody Blues, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, B.B. King, Fiddler on the Roof , and new shows including Straight No Chaser, Celtic Thunder, Masters of Illusion, ABBA The Concert and Mandy Patinkin & Patti LuPone, among many others which helped to round out the successful season.  2011-2012 ended on a high note with two back-to-back sellouts of Chicago the band and Yanni.

                Van Wezel Executive Director, Mary Bensel said, “It was simply a phenomenal year for us all. I have so many memories, starting with the multi-talented Dolly Parton, Audra McDonald who went directly from enchanting our audience to Broadway to star in Porgy and Bess, the Alvin Ailey company’s exquisite dancing, and  Diana Krall—who came to us from performing on the Grammy’s with Paul McCartney. Frankly, I could go on and on. Our season was so magical and our audience so gracious-- it is a joy to welcome these world –class performers to Sarasota. Our education program, which is dear to the staff’s heart, also thrived this year, and we look forward to our Friday Fest free concert series on the Bay Front, this summer. None of this would be possible without our audience, staff, subscribers, volunteers, sponsors, City family and the Van Wezel Foundation.”
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