The Richmond Register

Arts/Events

October 6, 2013

Flashdance cancellation costs EKU $105,000

Low ticket sales responsible for cancellation

RICHMOND — Cancellation of “Flashdance: The Musical” at the EKU Center for the Arts cost $105,000, according to executive director Joel Aalberts.

Aalberts said tickets to the show weren’t selling well, and even if the three planned shows were consolidated into one, the center would have taken an even greater loss.

The move was a business decision, he said.

“We needed to mitigate losses,” Aalberts said. “It certainly was not an ideal situation.”

The director, who was hired this past summer after most of this season’s shows had been contracted, said there is a certain amount of risk taken with every show booked at the center.

After only two years in operation, the staff still has to guess at what will be popular in the area from which the center draws its audience. Sometimes shows have difficulty gaining interest, regardless of how well they are publicized, he said, and the center plans to recoup the loss incurred by the Flashdance cancellation by booking other shows that should sell better and selling more tickets to already popular shows.

Friday night’s Dwight Yoakam concert had sold more than 1,200 tickets by Friday morning, he said.

In consideration of the cancellation cost, the Flashdance producers waived the royalties on all sold tickets.

While Flashdance was removed from the season’s schedule, Aalberts said he is negotiating to get another show scheduled for early 2014 that the center will “satisfy the Broadway audience” that exists in Richmond.

“I don’t want this to be a momentum killer,” Aalberts said.

The Broadway Musical “Momma Mia,” scheduled for three shows March 22-23, looks to be one of the season’s more popular events, he added.

Aalberts said his goals as the center’s executive director are to be a good steward of the center’s money and make good use of customers time.

The next performance at the center will be “Weird Al’ Yankovic’s “Alpocalypse Tour” on Thursday. Aalberts said he and the rest of the staff are excited about the upcoming show.

Seth Littrell can be reached at slittrell@richmondregister.com or 624-6623.

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