Lee, Anderson Theatre did well to land the Lyric
April 23, 2013 11:56 PM | 3025 views | 7 7 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The past year or so has been rocky for the Marietta theater scene, but this spring already has brought a shot of welcome news: The Lyric Atlanta Theatre, on the heels of a breakup with its former landlords at The Earl Smith Strand Theatre on Marietta Square, now will call the Jennie T. Anderson Theatre at the Cobb Civic Center home.

“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 and large orchestra pit. It’s absolutely perfect for a musical theater company,” Lyric artistic director and general manager Brandt Blocker told the Marietta Daily Journal on Thursday.

The Lyric called the Strand “home” for the past five years, ever since the Strand’s reopening after a lavish renovation. But the boards of the Lyric and the Strand were unable to come to agreement on the terms of a new contract. Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin stepped in at the last minute to try and broker a deal, but was unsuccessful.

Blocker told the Journal that the new contract with the county, under which his company will pay the county about $7,000 per show, will be more beneficial to the Lyric’s bottom line.

“That would (come to) $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.”

Meanwhile, Tumlin is hoping to work out a separate deal with the Marietta Trolley Co. to shuttle Lyric-goers to and from the Square, in hopes of lessening the impact of the Lyric’s departure on the Square’s many eateries and nightspots.

“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.

Echoed Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee, who played an important role in keeping the Lyric here, “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.”

The Lyric’s new season will kick off Aug. 9 with “The Producers,” followed by “Guys and Dolls” in October, Duke Ellington’s “Sophisticated Ladies” in January and, down the road, “Annie the Musical” and “Monty Python’s Spamalot.”

That’s a strong lineup of shows, for sure. And Marietta and Cobb — and the theater-going public — are very fortunate that a theater company of such high quality has chosen not just to come to Cobb, but to stay in Cobb.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
April 24, 2013
Oh, Goody; "Guys And Dolls" and "Annie". Hardly anything that has not been don thousands of times before. What next, Rosie O'Donnell as "Peter Pan"? Testing not only the patience of the aucience, but the architectural integrity of the building!
April 24, 2013
Huge congratulations to the Lyric...finally a home that is outfitted for them and that they in turn will be a good fit for. The Strand A. Has no clue what they have lost and B. Apparently has no clue how much their decision will hurt the businesses that surround the beautiful Marietta Square. Its not always about money folks, its about quality of life! Personally, I would love to see how they plan to fill the gap and their $1mil plus budget without the Lyric. I believe that they are kidding themselves if they don't understand the cost and risk of in house producing. That, or Mr. Reece has certainly sold his board a bill of goods with that story!
Lyric Subscriber
April 24, 2013
Tremendous news and a far better venue ! Congratulations to the leaders of Lyric, Cobb and Marietta.
April 24, 2013
I thought the Atlanta Lyric was bluffing? That's what the MDJ said a few weeks ago. How does that crow taste?

Glad the theater is staying in Cobb. Atlanta Lyric has been the most influential arts happening in Cobb in decades. Lets hope they stay for a long time.
Old News
April 24, 2013
Didn't we see this already? IS this story still dragging on?
Yes Old News
April 24, 2013
Same MDJ story. Creative (?) use to make it look like it is new. Slightly misleading, however.
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