The Rushmore Plaza Civic Center kicks off the 2017-2018 Broadway Play Series Friday, Oct. 27, with the premiere of Jersey Boys.
The series is in its 30th year at the civic center and features four shows per season. Bringing it back to Rapid City for another year was a no-brainer. There has been an increase in ticket sales every year since the series began said Jayne Kraemer, deputy director of events at the civic center.
But deciding which shows to bring to Rapid City takes a team and a lot of planning, she said.
“Lynn Singleton helps us with the booking of the shows. He’s very instrumental and knowledgeable in the Broadway world. He has a good feel for what shows are doing well and advises us on what shows will do well.”
Singleton is the President & CEO of Providence Performing Arts in Rhode Island and has been involved in live theater for more than 30 years. The civic center books some of their own shows, but will consult with Singleton on seeking out different shows for the series.
“If we see something that we like, we work together based on routing dates and when the shows are near our area,” Kraemer said.
Working within a show’s schedule presents its own challenges. Booking a show for a weekend is ideal, but that doesn’t always work. There were issues with routing last year and some shows had to be scheduled on weeknights.
Though audiences are attracted to traditional shows, Kraemer said the goal of booking shows is to attract younger Broadway goers and to get more seasoned subscribers to come on board. She said they also listened to ticket holders and the general public to gauge what shows would be successful.
Kraemer said bringing an event like this to Rapid City has had a positive impact on the community.
“Rapid City is very involved in the arts world. We have a strong local community theater and our high schools are involved in theater. There are great shows at the high school and community level. We are educating people in the arts and it’s an added bonus.” she said.
This year’s series opens with the Tony Award-winning show, Jersey Boys. The show follows the formation, success, and break-up of the 1960s rock 'n roll group The Four Seasons. Fans will have the chance to enjoy top-10 hits such as "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Sherry," “Walk Like A Man,” and "December 1963 (Oh, What A Night).” Jersey Boys opened at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway in 2005 and was the 12th longest running show in the theater district’s history. The 12-year run came to a close earlier this year.
The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday, with two more shows on Saturday, Oct. 28, and one on Sunday, Oct. 29. Doors open one hour prior to the show. Individual tickets range from $68 to $78 and are available at gotmine.com or by calling the civic center box office at 605-394-4111.
The play series continues throughout June 2018 with "The Wizard of Oz," Dec. 9-10; "Rent," Feb. 9-10; and "Cinderella," June 2-3.
With this year’s series booked, the focus shifts to working on next year’s shows and dates. Although she couldn’t reveal the lineup for next year, Kraemer hinted that the series will feature more fan favorites.
“I’m very excited about the shows we have next year. It's going to be a lot of the classics,” Kraemer teased.