Brandt Blocker, the Lyric’s artistic director and general manager, and county Chairman Tim Lee, made the announcement Thursday.
Blocker said he was ecstatic about the move. The season includes five shows.
“We are thrilled to be able to perform in a venue that has the joy of size, a full 44-foot wide proscenium stage with wing space, large dressing rooms, large orchestra pit, it’s absolutely perfect for a musical theater company,” he said.
For the last five years, the Lyric has operated out the Strand Theatre on the Square in downtown Marietta, but rental rates proved too costly for the theater company.
At the county-owned Anderson Theatre, the Lyric will pay about $7,000 per show to the county, spokesman Robert Quigley said.
“That would be $80,000 less a year than the Strand Theatre,” Blocker said. “It is a lot of savings to the Lyric, so this will hopefully help us fix the balance sheet. We enjoyed our time at the Strand, we really enjoyed being there, but it was an expensive proposition for us, and we had to make some changes. As a nonprofit or for-profit, you’ve got to keep the books balanced, so this will help us play some catch up on what we’ve been paying for the past several years.”
Mayor Steve Tumlin said he was working with the Downtown Marietta Development Authority and The Historic Marietta Trolley Co. to arrange for a trolley service to take theater-goers to and from the Anderson Theater to the Square.
“We’re so programmed to have everything on the Square, but Jennie T. Anderson will be a great place, and it might open up other opportunities for other restaurants and other economic development out there because they will draw a lot of people,” Tumlin said.
Lee said the Marietta and Cobb community benefits most from the deal.
“The arts in Cobb are very important to the quality of life for the folks in the city of Marietta and Cobb County, and anytime there is an opportunity for an arts group to be successful I think it’s good for the community at large,” Lee said.
The season kicks off with “The Producers,” on Aug. 9 followed by “Guys and Dolls” in October, Duke Ellington’s “Sophisticated Ladies” in January and later “Annie the Musical” and “Monty Python’s Spamalot.”
Tumlin referenced the namesake of the theater, the late Jennie T. Anderson, whose husband ran the Anderson Motor Co. for decades.
“She would be tickled to have this theater there,” Tumlin said. “She was a princess of a lady, and she loved the arts before it was the in thing to do, so it makes me feel good. Just like I love the Strand, I love the heritage that that lady brought. When I hear ‘Jennie T. Anderson’ it makes me think of her, and I think she would really be happy.”
Blocker expressed thanks to Tumlin, Lee and the Lyric’s patron base for their support.