Schenectady County

Theatergoers thrilled with summer show; Proctors plans more

Summertime Broadway will return. This week’s run of “Rent” has been successful enough to prove that

Summertime Broadway will return.

This week’s run of “Rent” has been successful enough to prove that theatergoers will support musicals in the summer, Proctors CEO Philip Morris said.

“It’s a new thought that summer recreation is in downtown Schenectady,” he said. “We think people liked it. We want to keep doing it.”

By Sunday, he expects to have sold 70 percent of the total seats — the benchmark he set for success. That’s a strong figure, not only because “Rent” raised the curtain during the first week of the annual Saratoga thoroughbred racing meet but because the show was not part of Proctors’ annual subscription.

Putting a summer show on the subscription would have guaranteed another 3,000 to 4,000 people, Morris said. He may make next year’s summer show part of the package.

Those who came this year raved about the time slot. They said summers are far better for theater than any other time.

“It’s perfect,” said Belinda Leackfeldt, a teacher from Ballston Spa. “I have summers off, and I have out-of-town guests from San Diego, so they get to see it, too. They’re only here in summer.”

Students loved it, too, saying that it’s far easier to see a show during the summer than to negotiate with parents for permission to be out late on a school night.

“Because school is out, we can actually see it,” said Barbara Cook, 17, a senior at Shaker High School in Colonie.

Parents cited the same reason.

“I think it’s easier, especially with the kids. Trying to get the kids out of school — summer is easier,” said Will Gallagher of Brunswick.

And there’s no threat of blizzards, said Cathy Monk of Canajoharie.

“I’d rather travel in the summer than in the winter. If you live where I live, you risk not getting here,” she said.

Some longtime Proctors fans also said that summer is the only time they get to see the shows anymore because they spend the traditional theater months in warmer climes.

“Summer is more convenient for me because I’m not here in the winter,” said Ann Costello of Cobleskill, a retiree who spends the colder months in Florida.

The timing also allowed some parents to bring their children as a reward for good grades. One mother bought tickets because her daughter had gotten on the high honor roll.

And those who traveled from afar to see “Rent” agreed that anyone spending a few days in the Capital Region would rather visit in summer than winter.

“There are things to do if you want to stay here for a couple days,” said Tara Funicello, who drove two hours from Middletown to see “Rent.”

“Winters up here are tough,” she said. “In the summer, there’s Saratoga.”

Categories: Schenectady County

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