Programmers for the Bloomington Center For The Performing Arts said the city-owned venue had a full and successful season last year and hope to build on that performance. The BCPA has never turned a profit and was not expected to at its founding. But, Assistent Performing Arts Manager Ann-Marie Dittman said last year gross revenue rose by $200,000. The improvement came after some instability and a lower than usual number of bookings in 2017 following the unexpected death of BCPA Director Tina Salamone. This season, Dittman said the BCPA is revving its engines with an even more full and diverse selection of shows.
Dittman said the goal of the 2019-20 season is to appeal to a wider audience.
“I listen to input from the community, and I also talked to a number of different agents that I have relationships with. So we try to balance that pretty well. I think we've done a pretty good job. I'm very conscious about trying to make sure that we have a little something for everyone. So I'm looking at a lot of different demographics, and saying, OK, we need something for kids, families with kids, and we need something for older adults, and we might want to hit something in other communities as well,” said Dittman on WGLT's Sound Ideas.
The season will feature 32 acts, including new shows and a few repeats from last year. The most anticipated returning show, Dittman said, is Black Violin, which sold over 1,000 tickets last year. Other returning shows include "Penelope the Pirate," the "Naked Magicians," and the Russian National Ballet. The Aquila Theatre Company will return with a different production. Dittman said Aquila will perform "1984."
Dittman credited audience input as the inspiration of this season’s selections, which will feature more dance.
The Russian National Ballet performed "Swan Lake" last year and will be performing "Sleeping Beauty" this year. In addition, the Lula Washington Dance Theater is an African American-owned dance company that features a combination of ballet and modern dance. The company is based in Los Angeles, and will be celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2020.
“I think that we don't get a chance to see (that) here in Bloomington that often. Even at the universities, you don't often see the more lyrical or modern dance presentations as much as some other forms. So I wanted to be able to bring that to the community,” said Dittman.
There will be two Broadway show performances and the Aquila Theater's production of "1984." Dittman said "1984" will be a dynamic performance and still holds relevance in today’s society. The two Broadway shows will be "Beautiful, The Carole King Musical," and "Bandstand," a musical following a group of World War II veterans who form a swing band.
The BCPA’s biggest lineup is in live music, featuring nine performances across many genres. The featured groups include Black Violin, Four Italian Tenors, Choir of Man, The Brubeck Brothers, The Stray Cat Lee Rocker, The Drifters, the string quartet Ethel with Grammy-award winning composer Robert Miraball, and Windham Hill artists.
The BCPA is also one of the concert homes for the Illinois Symphony Orchestra.
Dittman said, there will be four shows aimed toward children, and five comedy acts primarily for adults. One of the most anticipated acts, she said, is "Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live," which will be performed by the original host and the puppets. Colin Mochrie from "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" fame will join a hypnotist to perform “Hyp-prov,” which is a combination of improv theater with hypnotized audience members.
More information about featured acts can be found on the BCPA's website. Tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Aug. 22.
People like you value experienced, knowledgeable and award-winning journalism that covers meaningful stories in Bloomington-Normal. To support more stories and interviews like this one, please consider making a contribution.