Lexington Opera House program director Luanne Franklin says she wants to get two kinds of young people into her theater's Broadway Live series, and for the 2009-10 series, she has some things for both of them.
For kids, the series offers two classic titles: The Wizard of Oz, Nov. 6 to 8, and Disney's Beauty and the Beast, May 7 to 9. For both shows, the theater is moving up its curtain times an hour, to 1 and 7 p.m. That's particularly helpful in the evening, so kids won't have to stay up well past their bedtimes to see the whole show.
For another type of young person, the college student or young professional, the series, which was to be publicly announced Thursday night, presents Avenue Q from April 9 to 11. Yes, it's a puppet show. But it's a puppet show with full-frontal puppet nudity and plenty of R-rated dialogue. It was the upset winner of the 2004 Tony Award for best musical, topping heavily favored Wicked.
"We have to have something young professionals want to see," Franklin says. "It's very important they come to the theater and realize it is not a stuffy place and we have shows that are relevant to them."
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Entries that the theater has programmed previously to appeal to younger theatergoers have included Rent and this past season's 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
Among the shows targeting families, Franklin says, Beauty and the Beast is significant as the first Disney production to come to the Opera House. She attributed the milestone to the Opera House's growing reputation as a viable stop for top-tier companies, thanks to the theater being the site of technical rehearsals for touring productions of 12 Angry Men in 2007 and Mamma Mia! earlier this year.
Rounding out the schedule are Of Mice and Men, produced by Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Va., Sept 25 to 27; The Drowsy Chaperone, Jan. 22 to 24; and Camelot, Feb. 12 to 14.
Season tickets go on sale Friday, but individual tickets won't be available until Aug. 21 for the fall shows and Nov. 16 for the spring shows.
There are a few changes for season subscribers:
■ The cost of a season subscription will rise $5.
■ Subscribers who add a donation of $125 or more to their tickets will have admission to Pardy's Pub, with complimentary drinks and food before the show and during intermission at Friday and Saturday evening shows. Subscribers to the Saturday matinees and both Sunday performances will be able to make reservations at deSha's, which normally does not take reservations, as much as two hours before those performances, and receive a complimentary appetizer or dessert with an entree before or after the show.
■ Broadway Live subscribers will have the first shot at buying tickets for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, starring the Rockettes, at Rupp Arena on Dec. 10.
■ Recognizing economic realities, the theater is offering payment plans for season tickets, with half-payments due in August and January.
Despite the recession, Franklin said that for the just-completed 2008-09 season, "we did as well as we have any season."