California Musical Theater artistic director Scott Eckern was on Seventh Avenue looking toward Central Park (that’s in New York City, kids) as we spoke this afternoon, but he had glowing reports from Sacramento on the Free Night of Theater program.
“We anticipated there would be a great response," he says. "My concern is always, ‘Did we get the word out enough?’ and, apparently, we did.”
While Eckern, along with CMT executive producer Richard Lewis, is in New York for the National Alliance for Musical Theatre fall conference, he's staying on top of the local news.
Free tickets to participating area theaters became available beginning Oct. 3 through the seeaplay.com Web site here and were so sought-after that the computers were initially overwhelmed.
“We’re in partnership with Theater Bay Area and it was their computer that was processing the requests,” Eckern says.
“They’re making sure now that there aren’t duplicates. If there are, the campaign is set up to not have any so it may free up some shows, which are currently listed as being gone.”
Eckern suggests people check back to the Web site on a regular basis between now and Oct. 17 to see if more tickets become available. The shows take place between Oct. 19 and Nov. 19. Eckern says theaters might also decide to make more tickets available, as well.
Here are the numbers as of this afternoon: 27 Sacramento region theaters... 29 productions ... 40 performances ... and 2,112 tickets claimed.
“People got very excited about this opportunity, and I think there are people out there who are taking advantage of this by either going to theater for their first time or going to a theater they haven’t been to before,” Eckern says.
“There’s nothing to lose - take a chance. If you don’t recognize the title, it’s OK -
check it out anyway. Any live theater production adds value to your life.”