By Grace Stafford, Staff Writer — Touring Broadway shows have found a new home at the Tivoli Theatre for the first time in Chattanooga.
Broadway shows would occasionally stop in Chattanooga, according to Nick Williams, the director of development for the Tivoli Theatre Foundation and Chattanooga native. However, there has never been a fully developed season at a local theatre.
“People will associate Broadway and high quality shows with the Tivoli Theatre,” said Williams.
The 2017 season includes “Chicago,” “Rent,” “Riverdance” and “Annie” throughout the next couple of months. “Dirty Dancing” started off the season last month with great success; both shows sold out.
Dave Holscher, the general manager for the Tivoli Theatre and the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium, has represented AC Entertainment since the partnership began two years ago. AC Entertainment manages venues, books shows and general big picture aspects of the venues.
“We’re in the second year of working for the foundation and booking shows, and we wanted to start the Broadway series knowing there’s not one in Chattanooga,” said Holscher. “The series has been surprisingly more successful than we thought for the first year.”
The shows selected for the Tivoli’s inaugural season were chosen to offer a diverse range for all audiences, from family shows like “Annie” to the more adult-themed “Rent.” The tickets range from $37 to $77 depending on the selected seats.
The popularity of the season is not incredibly surprising to Holscher. He acknowledged that many people in Chattanooga travel to New York City, Atlanta or Nashville to see Broadway shows, but now those same people can see the same shows in their hometown theatre.
“Putting this opportunity into a growing, thriving city like Chattanooga, they’re bound to really take off,” said Williams.
The future of the Broadway series at the Tivoli Theatre is promising. Holscher said that the next season is already set with recognizable titles. The lineup will be announced at the end of the current season during the first few weeks of May.
In the meantime, Williams encourages interested theatre-goers to subscribe to the mailing list on the theatre’s website. A patronage program is also in the works to provide unique opportunities to attendees, for example interactions or events. The Friends of the Theatre could donate from all ranges because the goal of the program is to engage the local population with the theatre community and have a special experience at the Tivoli.
Williams and Holscher agreed that they would like to reach out more to the UTC population and encourage their involvement.
“UTC is a major part of our city and our community, and we want to focus on involving them,” said Williams. “I know that most of my money did not go to the theatre when I was a student, but we want to create opportunities for students to interact with.”