Provided by Celebrity Attractions
Celebrity Attractions recently announced the cancellation of their upcoming engagements of THE WIZARD OF OZ and DIRTY DANCING: THE CLASSIC STORY ON STAGE. The 35-year-old company has presented Broadway in Lubbock for 22 years.
"Regretfully, we had little choice once we heard the Lubbock City Council had plans to ask the citizens to vote to abandon the Municipal Auditorium" said Kristin Dotson, Celebrity Attractions CEO.
"We had planned an exciting two-show lineup for 2018 having just left the Civic Center where the Broadway series played the last few seasons. But that theater was not conducive to the kinds of tours a Broadway audience expects. With the new Buddy Holly Hall still a couple of years on the horizon, we hoped we had found a temporary solution relocating the series to the Auditorium," she said.
Spokesperson and presenter for Celebrity Attractions Randy Cole said "more than ten years ago we were asked to champion a bond issue to benefit the Auditorium. The bond passed granting a few million dollars toward facility repairs and enhancements, but it is our understanding the city did not take action to use these funds until just a couple of years ago and instead chose to invest that money in the Civic Center instead."
Cole continued, "as the years continued without building repair, its conditioned worsened and we began to lose our audience. We hoped we could serve the Lubbock audience better by moving our series to the Civic Center but due to the limitations that building has, we were not able to bring the big shows that we bring to our other cities in Texas – Amarillo and Abilene. After a few more years we determined that the only venue available in Lubbock for now was the auditorium so we booked two big Broadway productions and took the steps to move our season subscribers from one hall to the other."
Between announcing the season and what would be the on-sale date of their first show this Broadway season, the company learned about the discussion of abandoning the Municipal Auditorium. Celebrity Attractions reached out to the venue management staff to discuss the issue.
Dotson said "we met with the venue management and a city official and determined that this upcoming vote had obvious consequences for the Broadway season and would certainly make it impossible to plan to continue a Broadway presence for the immediate future. After touring the facility we also determined that it did not meet the standards for a Broadway venue."
Both Dotson and Cole reported they are in communication with LEPAA in discussing the future of Broadway in Lubbock for the new Buddy Holly Hall for Performing Arts and while the Broadway series is now on hold in Lubbock, Celebrity Attractions plans to program the Civic Center occasionally until the new venue opens in 2020.
"We have the best partners here in Lubbock, box office and venue staff, Civic Lubbock, the local press, media and our patrons" said Cole. "This decision was not easy, in fact it was painful to reach this point. But we are committed to presenting programs at the Civic Center when the right opportunity arises, giving us the opportunity to entertain audiences with touring programs that otherwise might not play Lubbock."
When asked what those programs might be, Cole responded to simply keep up with Celebrity Attractions on social media and online at CelebrityAttractions.com for future developments.
The City of Lubbock issued this statement on Wednesday: