District Theatre changes season lineup

Posted Online: July 03, 2013, 10:25 am
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By Jonathan Turner, jturner@qconline.com
The musicals "Little Shop of Horrors," "Ragtime" and "Young Frankenstein" have been pulled from The District Theatre lineup later this year, and in their place are the classic courtroom drama "Twelve Angry Men," the revue "Let's Face the Music" and the new one-man show "The Agony and Ecstacy of Steve Jobs."

"Lower than anticipated ticket sales, skyrocketing prices, a myriad of other factors, not to mention the general nature of show business has made it nearly impossible to proceed with business as usual," Tristan Tapscott, the theater founder and artistic director, wrote in the District's "Reasons to be Pretty" program. The moves were necessary to stay in business, he wrote.

"We still want to do quality shows, but make sure we can actually afford to do them," Mr. Tapscott said this week. "It's so expensive to produce a musical."

Royalty costs dramatically have risen in the past few years, and it's typically much more expensive to a produce a musical versus a play, and a newer versus older musical, he noted. Those costs must be paid up front, before any tickets are sold.

The "new vision," which presents a greater variety of plays and musicals, was planned anyway for 2014, but Mr. Tapscott and the board of the nonprofit theater just moved it up. "This is a cost-cutting measure to make sure we're still here," he said.

"We looked at our projected expenses and revenue and made the decision to unveil our newvision for the District Theatre immediately," board president Matt Mercer said. That new vision included changing some of the lineup for the rest of the year and partnering with other arts organizations, he said.

The new offerings begin in August, with "Twelve Angry Men"; "Let's Face the Music," a musical revue featuring Gershwin and Porter songs in September and "The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs" (featuring Ed Villareal on the late Apple genius) in early October. The rest of the year includes the previously scheduled "Rocky Horror Show" in late October, Shakespeare's "The Tempest" in November and the musical "A Christmas Carol" by Mr. Tapscott and Danny White in December.

Earlier this year, the musical "Rent" didn't do as well as expected, and Mr. Tapscott said it's hard to gauge what will succeed. The District's biggestsellers last year "Parade," "Company," and "A Christmas Carol," he noted.


Local events heading

  Today is Monday, Sept. 22, the 265th day of 2014. There are 100 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The board of education has granted Thursday as a holiday for the children, with the expectation that parents who desire to have their children attend the Scott County Fair will do so on that day and save irregularity the rest of the week.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The guard fence around the new cement walk at the Harper House has been removed. The blocks are diamond shape, alternating in black and white.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The Rev. R.B. Williams, former pastor of the First Methodist Church, Rock Island, was named superintendent of the Rock Island District.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Abnormally high temperatures and lack of rainfall in Illinois during the past week have speeded maturing of corn and soybean crops.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Installation of a new television system in St. Anthony's Hospital, which includes a closed circuit channel as well as the three regular Quad-Cities channels, has been completed and now is in operation.
1989 -- 25 years ago: When the new Moline High School was built in 1958, along with it were plans to construct a football field in the bowl near 34th Street on the campus. Wednesday afternoon, more than 30 years later, the Moline Board of Education Athletic Board sent the ball rolling toward the possible construction of that field by asking superintendent Richard Hennigan to take to the board of education a proposal to hire a consultant.

(More History)