In a move that may shift the economics of the local theater scene into a higher gear, 710 Main Theatre – former home of Studio Arena – announced Wednesday that it will host three shows by local companies as part of its inaugural subscription season.
The first of the three local collaborations in the new season will be a production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning 2010 play “Clybourne Park,” an intense piece that confronts race in contemporary America, from Road Less Traveled Productions. It runs from Nov. 8 to Dec. 1.
Next, the Hamburg-based Buffalo Laboratory Theatre will mount a production of “Cyrano,” its own tried-and-true adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s famous play “Cyrano de Bergerac” from Feb. 6 to 23. And MusicalFare Theatre will decamp from its soon-to-be-renovated home in Snyder to produce “Red,” a musical about the life of abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko, from March 13 to 30.
For these smaller Western New York companies, moving one show a season to the 610-seat theater represents both a daunting marketing challenge and a major potential to increase earned revenue if ticket sales are high enough. Earlier this season, Road Less Traveled did a kind of test-run on the 710 Main stage with its production of “Circle Mirror Transformation,” which sold a respectable 2,000 tickets, according to RLTP co-founder and director Scott Behrend.
The fact that the bulk of the relaunched theater’s five-show season will be produced by local companies signals a growing confidence from its board and Shea’s President and CEO Anthony Conte, who helped shepherd the new organization into existence, that smaller companies are capable of snagging much larger audiences.
The 710 Main subscription season, for which tickets are now on sale, also includes two touring productions. The previously announced “I Love Lucy Live On Stage,” a look at Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, kicks off the season Sept. 17 and runs through Oct. 13. And a production of the popular one-woman show “Golda’s Balcony,” starring acclaimed actress Tovah Feldshuh as Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, runs from May 8 to 11, 2014.