By Elena Perantoni, Venue Rental Coordinator
As you sit in the dark theatre, just seconds before the show starts, you start to feel that nervous sense of excitement. You’ve had this date marked on your calendar for weeks and weeks. You’ve planned ahead of time, purchased your tickets, perhaps made the preparations for a babysitter, had a lovely dinner out with friends, etc. And as the house lights go to half and then slowly out, you shift in your seat with anticipation.
If you’re anything like me, despite having seen dozens and dozens, nay, hundreds of live performances be it rock concerts, theatre, orchestras, musicals, you’re still astonished and awed by what you see on the stage. In this era of immediate entertainment (DVRs, iPhones, Hulu) we’re used to having entertainment at our fingertips. There’s nothing wrong with that; technology is amazing. But nothing compares to live entertainment. It’s not immediate, and it doesn’t always work on your schedule, but there’s something about it that just gets me.
I started working at CAPA 5 months ago in the Programming Department, booking rentals into the theatres, helping arrange the schedules of our resident arts groups, etc. Since then I have had to rethink my own personal definition of the word “busy.” A co-worker asked me to go to lunch a few weeks ago. “I’m not sure I should,” I said. “I’m so busy! I’m trying to get caught up.”
“Caught up?” she said, “Don’t get caught up! If you get caught up we’re out of business!”
Two weekends ago, we had an amazingly busy night in CAPA’s venues. David Gray played to an almost sold out audience at the beautiful Ohio Theatre. Disney Live! entertained thousands during its two-performance day at the Palace Theatre. The Columbus Jazz Orchestra presented I Loves You Porgy at the Southern Theatre, which was simultaneously broadcast live on WOSU. Things were heating up over at the Capitol Theatre, as hundreds gathered for an all day dance competition. And The Phoenix Theatre for Children, accompanied by ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, presented a concert version of Titanic: The Musical at the Lincoln Theatre. All in all over 7,100 patrons were present at CAPA venues.
A good weekend for live entertainment in Columbus, if I do say so myself. Backstage at Disney Live!, the tour manager asked about our other venues and if we’re keeping busy. “Actually, we have a show at every theatre tonight,” I said proudly. She was impressed.
Point is, we’re busy. This is a good thing. How fortunate we are as Columbus-ites (Columbians?) to have so much live entertainment in our wonderful city. I can safely say that despite the volume of work, I will continue to be awed by what I see on the stage. It takes a lot of planning for these shows to come together: scheduling, rehearsing, traveling, promoting, some of which we may tend to forget as we sit in our seats waiting for the show to begin. Not to mention the fact that while you’re sitting there, let’s say at the Lincoln at 7:58pm on a Saturday night, there are likely at least 4 other audience-filled venues just a few short blocks to the west. It’s enough to almost make your head spin (don’t worry, mine is too).
So, yes, in the past 5 months, my definition of “busy” has changed. Busy is now a very good thing. It means healthy, vibrant, exciting. It means that on any given Saturday night we have multitudes of entertainment choices to choose from, not just at CAPA’s venues, but at any large or small performance venue in our fair city and by any number of local or out ot town groups. Shows that keep us excitedly chattering away to our seat neighbors just as the curtain rises. For that, I don’t so much mind being busy.