Arts & Culture

Broadway Center season includes Bill Cosby, Peking Acrobats, Jars of Clay – and stage improvements to the Pantages

Tickets are now on sale for the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts’ 2014-15 season. Opening Sept. 4 with a solo show by chanteuse Storm Large, the season includes a wide range of music, dance, theater, comedy, circus and more, capitalizing on a newly revamped Pantages Theater stage.

One of the challenges of the historic Pantages, built in 1918, has always been the “hard legs” of the stage: two tall pillars several feet wide on either side of the stage that reach several stories underground and up to support the roof. They compound the smaller size of the stage and backstage area, making it difficult to load big sets and increasing costs.

"Bigger shows would have to unload everything, set up (what would fit), put the other things back in the truck, then (after the show) take everything out again and repack it," said David Fischer, BCPA executive director. "It increased our labor costs by $5,000-7,000 per show."

The legs were removed this summer as the initial part of a multi-year renovation project that extends across all three downtown theaters.

Now, local companies like Tacoma City Ballet can use big sets for works such as "Cinderella" next May. Other big shows in the season include Christian rock group Jars of Clay (September), Tacoma Opera’s "The Magic Flute" (October), the Peking Acrobats and RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles (January), Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (February), and "Menopause, The Musical" (April).

Other star acts include Sister Helen Prejean (October), Danny Glover (November), Bill Cosby (April), and David Sedaris (May), as well as local groups like the Tacoma Symphony, Tacoma Opera, Tacoma Concert Band, Northwest Sinfonietta and Tacoma City Ballet.

The season also expands out of the Theater District to the historic Armory building with Spectrum Dance (October).

For tickets, subscriptions and a complete schedule, call 253-591-5894 or go to broadwaycenter.org.

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