As cars drove past Proctors on Wednesday afternoon, something may have seemed out of the ordinary. Members of the Proctors staff, along with a small number of dancers from Northeast Ballet, were standing in front of the theater wearing tutus to promote the upcoming show, “Billy Elliot the Musical.”
“Today is awareness of the show obviously, but also celebrating the Billy Elliot character and his search for his dream,” said Richard Lovrich, Proctors’ marketing director, “so we thought that we’d share that dream with downtown Schenectady.”
At 4 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall, Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy proclaimed the day Tutu and Billy Elliot Day. In honor of Tutu Day, Proctors employees placed six tutus at different Schenectady landmarks, including Proctors itself. Scattering the tutus around the city was a way for Proctors to distribute free tickets through a scavenger hunt for the show, which opens Tuesday, June 4.
“You have to photograph and find the tutus hidden around the Capital Region,” explained Lovrich. “You come to our box office and show someone at the box office that you have the photograph on the phone or camera and you get the tickets.”
Proctors gave away a free pair of tickets for each of the six landmarks. Contestants could bring their pictures in for tickets until the box office closed at 6 p.m. Wednesday. In another avenue of promotion for Tutu and Billy Elliot Day, tickets sold at Proctors on Wednesday — May 22 — cost $22. Tickets could be purchased both online at proctors.org or at the box office on State Street.
Also Wednesday, staff from Proctors in tutus went around to various local businesses to publicize the Tony Award-winning show.
“Aperitivo and Zen [two nearby restaurants] will be fully tutued by about 1 o’clock today,” said Mitchell Burke, a press associate for Proctors, said Wednesday morning. “They have all female staff for the most part working today so they can wear tutus.
“It’s giving all the businesses and the local stores and restaurants an opportunity to come together for the community to push for the individuality, for the courage to be yourself, wearing the tutus all day. We’re guys wearing tutus. That’s something we normally wouldn’t do, but it’s just a way to show that we support what’s going on.”
Tutus have been a theme throughout the “Billy Elliot the Musical” U.S. tour. Producers for the show have been using the idea around the country, but according to Burke, “this is the furthest extent any city has gone.”
Lovrich made it clear how excited Proctors was to have a show as honored as “Billy Elliot the Musical.”
“It’s a 10-time Tony winner. We want to get it back on people’s radar,” said Lovrich. “It’s a terrific show that is actually nearing the end of its run. We’re one of the last theaters to get it. We’re very proud of that.”
Proctors has seen ticket sales increase lately, especially Wednesday. Proctors employees credit the increase to the promotion.
When the cast for “Billy Elliot the Musical” comes to Schenectady in early June, one member will be returning to familiar territory: Richard Gatta is originally from Niskayuna.
“Billy Elliot the Musical” will run June 4-9. For information on the show, visit www.proctors.org.