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  Commentary September 10th, 2009

The Editor 

Well known and widely respected marketing guru, Mike Wagman, appears to have gotten a pretty good handle on the eclectic mix of performers at his new assignment as Marketing Director for Poway Center for the Performing Arts Foundation.

He’s kicking things off with Dave Mason, appearing Saturday, October 3rd at 8pm.

Mason, a guitar virtuoso with a voice that made him one of Rolling Stone Magazine's "100 greatest singers of all time," opens the 2009-2010 season. A Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and one of rock's critically-acclaimed musicians, Mason is a natural choice to kick of the 2009-2010 performance season.
Bluegrass fans will jump for joy when they learn Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys with Cherryholmes is coming on October 24th; Paula Cole on December 5th, Booker T (of Booker T and the MG’s) on January 16th followed by Ed Asner on February 20th. Much more to come and we’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile, Mike Wagman is busy promoting more and more acts for North County to enjoy.

I think Mike is right on target with his bookings. He is, in my judgment, booking acts that the public wants to see and hear. For too long, again, in my judgtment, area entertainment venues have been attempting to ‘force feed’ us acts that ‘they’ think we should enjoy.

Doesn’t work that way.

People will come out and support entertainment venues that give them what they want to see and hear.

Another example of this trend is at the Welk Theatre. New producer and theatre manager, Joshua Carr, has changed the entertainment lineup and way of doing business at the Welk Resorts Theatre. For a long time, the Welk Theatre had been booking plays, musicals, for months at a time. Toward the end of the run, there were a lot of vacant seats.

Josh’s plan is totally different. He’s bringing in name acts for relatively short periods of time and anticipates sold out houses for each. Example:
Steel Magnolias, starry Cathy Rigby and Michael Learned will run from January 7th through January 24th - a three week run.
“Vicki Lawrence - Vicki and Mama - A Two Woman Show”, January 27th through January 30th.
Jumping forward a bit, look for:
Suessical, from July 8th through July 25th; again, a bit less than three weeks.
The Smothers Brothers, in on September 3rd through 5th.

The current show at the Welk Resorts Theatre is “The Andrews Brothers,” which is booked through November 8th. Details on this show can be found in this edition’s Social Butterfly column as well as a brief review in our cover story on Page one. Welk Resorts Theatre returns to more traditional fare from November 12th through January 3rd, with “A Christmas Carol.”

The performing arts theatres in our area appear to be responding to the considerable challenges posed by the various casinos, who can afford to bring in top name acts. The local theatres are also booking top name acts. It’s a delicate balancing act, matching up the generally smaller performing artists budget with the financial demands of those artists . . . but it can be done, and is.

I think that’s a tribute to men like Mike Wagman and Joshua Carr. They have the right “feel” for the marketplace and book those available acts that they sense the public will respond to.

Now it’s up to us. We need to support these entertainment venues. When they book acts we enjoy . . . we need to take the cobwebs off of our coinpurse and shell out a shilling or two and buy tickets. It’s called supporting the arts.

These folks are supporting us with top performing artists. Now we need to support them, with our pocketbooks and attendance.





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