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IU Auditorium chooses season with audience in mind



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IU Auditorium displays posters for shows IU productions during the 2018-2019 season.  Alex Deryn Buy Photos

The IU Auditorium presents entertainment for those in Monroe County, from Broadway shows to stand-up comedy events at IU. 

IU Auditoriums’ season is chosen in a plethora of ways, with the audience and the university in mind.

“A large degree of consideration is placed upon popular survey selections,” IU Auditorium Managing Director Maria K. Talbert said in an email. “If we are unable to get that specific artist, we are able to use the information to guide us to the genre of performances that seem the most desirable to our patrons.”

While certain types of shows are marketed toward younger-age demographics and some to older demographics, the survey's primary focus is on genre, not age, Executive Director of the IU Auditorium Doug Booher said.

He said the IU Auditorium tries to offer classical music performances such as pop and revivals of old Broadway favorites as well as new shows, talks and comedy performances. 

The availability of performers, what their touring schedule looks like and how that lines up with IU Auditorium’s calendar also plays a factor in booking the acts, Talbert said.

This season IU Auditorium has shows such as as “Spamalot,” “Finding Neverland,” Modest Mouse and “Chimes of Christmas” starring the Singing Hoosiers. 

One challenge for students may be that a number of the touring Broadway shows perform on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Booher said touring companies reserve Tuesday through Thursday for regions with a smaller market size than a metropolitan area such as Chicago. Broadway shows perform five weekend shows Friday through Sunday in those areas.

IU Auditorium also advertises its shows differently, based on how long the touring company wants to make tickets available and and how many seats are available.

"Our students are encouraged to go," Booher said.

For instance, September's "An Evening You Will Forget For The Rest Of Your Life" with Steve Martin and Martin Short was announced in February of this year. When it got closer to the performance date, Booher said IU Auditorium was able to spend less resources advertising it than a show like "Spamalot," a Monty Python spoof which will be performed at the end of the month.

IU Auditorium works with IU to benefit students in a number of ways.

“We always make an effort to select artists and performances which complement the educational endeavors of IU’s music, theatre and dance students,” Talbert said. “Master classes and other outreach opportunities are often arranged in conjunction with the artists to supplement the students’ classroom education.”

Such educational opportunities include the “{well-advised lunch}” series presented by the Jacobs Office of Entrepreneurship and Career Development. This series provides an opportunity for students to learn from and interact with visiting singers, musicians, directors and more.

The next of these events will be “The Phantom of the Opera in Music and Film: A {well-advised lunch}" with Dennis James and conductor Hayden Denesha. James, a Jacobs alumnus and organist, and Denesha will accompany a screening of the “The Phantom of the Opera” for the 50th anniversary performance of “Dennis James Hosts Halloween” at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 26.

Students also engaged with the pit-musicians of “Chicago,” which played at the IU Auditorium earlier this month, at a “{well-advised lunch}”. The IU Auditorium also engages students on-stage as well as off.

“IU students will be featured alongside prominent artists such as The Cleveland Orchestra and Dennis James during their performances,” Booher said in a press release. 

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