News From the Courtyard Theater

Published 02/21 2014 12:40AM

Updated 02/21 2014 12:42AM

Three shows and 15 performances have been a learning experience for the owners of the area's newest community theater in the Central Susquehanna Valley. Even though Bob Taylor, the Artistic Director for the Courtyard Theater at the Susquehanna Mall has had 35 years of acting and directorial experience in the local area, Bob says there is still much to learn about audiences when you own a theater. His partner, Art Lieberman, has also been in direct touch with his audiences when he performed as a piano entertainer and he too feels that being a Producer with the responsibility of gathering an audience is something new to him. The duo have brainstormed a calendar based on their opinions of what would attract an audience to the facility and, for the most part, they have been on target. The theater audience has been steadily growing and there are several "loyalists" who have seen all three of the productions at the theater, starting with "Sweeney Todd" which opened last October.

The selected plays have also begun to attract talented performers from all over the area. The forthcoming production of "RENT" has several very experienced performers in the cast. Even the severe weather hasn't deterred theater lovers from attending the performances of "Same Time, Next Year", which concluded last weekend. "Only a few cancelled out on us during the snow bound weekend weather of the past two weeks," said Lieberman.
Now the focus of the theater turns to the upcoming schedule which seems to be attracting a huge amount of audience appeal, if the early reservations are any indications.

"We have never had so many advance purchases of tickets as we are experiencing for RENT," says Lieberman, "and interest in two of the upcoming events that will take place at the theater. "Fans and audiences of the Valley Players have begun to contact the theater about their performances of 'Lend Me a Tenor', the uproarious comedy which will debut at the theater on May 9th for 6 performances over two weekends and also the appearance of Beegeez USA, the Bee Gee tribute group, which will appear for a one-night-stand on Saturday, July 12th. Both events are attracting attention and ticket sales have begun for both."

In the meantime, the set of Same Time, Next Year, has been torn down and the set of RENT, is being erected. Rehearsals have intensified for the 20 person cast of the show and dozens of people who pass the theater every day have told owners that RENT is their favorite musical and that they saw it on Broadway several years ago. Because the plot of RENT deals with HIV-AIDs, the producers have teamed with AIDS Resources and have decided to donate some of the proceeds of the performance of RENT to benefit research to try to conquer this devastating disease.

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