Last week I had the pleasure of attending the ceremony announcing the 2010-2011 season at Shea’s Performing Arts center. It’s the first time I’ve been to the event, and honestly, I only went because my partner’s cousin, Elizabeth De Rosa, was in town performing a few numbers from Mary Poppins. She is part of the Broadway cast, which will be making a stop at Shea’s in October.
The upcoming season will be chock-full of fun theatrical events, from Young Frankenstein to Mary Poppins, but that is not why I am writing. Did you know that Shea’s boasts more than 12,000 season subscribers? The average subscriber base for a city our size is 4,000. Shea’s and its staff have blown that number out of the water, making Buffalo a premier destination for traveling Broadway productions. Just five years ago, Shea’s had to beg to be included in the schedule of many top productions. Today, Buffalo is one of the first cities producers call. When In the Heights stopped here, our fine rust belt city came in second only to Boston in total revenue, and Boston is a city with much higher ticket prices.
At the ceremony, Shea’s took a fun approach to introducing each upcoming show by having staff from all aspects of the theater take part. Everyone from sales to maintenance had an opportunity to announce an upcoming production. I can’t help but think that this sort of inclusive approach to running a business is one of the things that has made Shea’s one of the most reputable theaters in the country.
I’m thankful that I finally made the event and plan on attending every year, if only to soak up a nice dose of Buffalo pride. Hats off to Tony Conte and his entire staff at Shea’s for doing their part to show the rest of the country that there is more to Buffalo than chicken wings and hockey. Money CAN be made here, and we have earned the right to stand shoulder to shoulder with much larger cities.
If that isn’t a Buffalo Rising story, than I don’t know what is.
For more information on the upcoming season and to purchase tickets, got to www.Sheas.org
Becker is a comedian who started
her comedy career in Toronto 8 years ago, and since then has traveled
the continent performing and producing shows. She has opened for
national acts such as Doug Stanhope, Josh Blue (Winner of Last Comic
Standing), and Ani DiFranco. Additionally, Kristen beat out 60
contestants (all men) to win the 2006 Queen City Comedy Competition.
Becker was recently named “One of America’s Funniest Lesbians” by CURVE
Magazine, in a tie for #8 with Lily Tomlin. Locally, Becker has been
producing/hosting the Doin’ Time
Stand-Up Comedy Showcase at Nietzsche’s
every Tuesday in Buffalo for the last 4 years.