The University of Akron has announced a new two-year partnership with the Akron Civic Theatre and Playhouse Square to present the Broadway in Akron series.
The university says the shows will be presented as scheduled. The Broadway in Akron series begins with "The Producers" on November 3rd.
UA VP of Finance Nathan Mortimer says Playhouse Square will bring some marketing muscle to the program.
There was uncertainty related to whether or not the shows would go on after the staff at E.J. Thomas Hall was laid off in July due to budget cuts at UA.
Mortimer reiterates that all E.J. Thomas shows will go on.
The pact with the Civic Theatre and Playhouse Square lasts for the next two years.
(News Release - University of Akron) As the saying goes, "the show will go on," and go on it will at E.J. Thomas Hall through a new relationship between The University of Akron, Akron Civic Theatre and Playhouse Square to present Broadway in Akron.
"In consultation with the Akron Civic Theatre, we reached out to Playhouse Square to explore the best possible way to fulfill our commitment to season ticket holders and members of the Akron community to deliver Broadway," stated Nathan J. Mortimer, The University of Akron vice president for finance and administration and chief financial officer. "Our intent always was to present the shows as scheduled and we are excited that our relationship with Playhouse Square will enable us to do that. We are most grateful to both the Akron Civic and to Playhouse Square for working with us to seamlessly deliver the four scheduled shows at E.J. Thomas Hall. We are excited the same shows will be presented on the same dates and times and at E.J. Thomas Hall as previously announced and that all season ticket purchases are honored."
Broadway in Akron begins Nov. 3-4 with The Producers. The other shows are The Buddy Holly Story on Jan. 12-13, Flashdance the Musical on March 8-9 and 42nd Street on May 10-11.
"As a not-for-profit performing arts center, the entertainment on stage is at the core of our work and we feel it is important to help the Akron community experience the performances they have been anticipating in their home, E.J. Thomas Hall," said Playhouse Square Executive Producer Gina Vernaci.
The two-year agreement not only ensures the performances will go on as scheduled but also allows The University of Akron time to explore all options for presenting Broadway at E.J. Thomas Hall going forward.
"We all felt it was important to find a way to keep Broadway going in Akron," explained Akron Civic Theatre Executive Director Howard Parr. "People in the Akron area have proven over and over again they will support high-quality touring arts and entertainment programming at both venues. This new relationship helps make sure those programs will continue to be available in our community."
Tickets for individual shows go on sale September 28 and may be purchased online at ticketmaster.com, by calling 330-253-2488 or at the Akron Civic Theatre ticket office.
As announced previously, other non-Broadway performances scheduled for E.J. Thomas Hall will go on as planned. They include the Akron Symphony, Tuesday Musical Association, DANCECleveland, Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, performances by musical students from The University of Akron and other University-related programs.
The University of Akron continues to react to rumors that a name change is in the offing.
Vice President for Advancement Larry Burns repeated what was in a statement released Tuesday to the university community - they aren't planning to change UA's name.
"Well, I can't predict 10, 20 years from now," Burns tells WAKR's Jasen Sokol, "but at this point with this administration and the current situation we're in, the statement was clear that there will be no name change."
Burns says a name change or any such change would be a long process that would include the state legislature, and says no such proposal is on the table.
He says he realizes some may be confused by the process, and says that UA will continue to issue "as many statements as we need" to clarify the situation.