By Matthew J. Palm, Orlando Sentinel Arts Writer
12:37 PM PST, February 1, 2013
After a month of handwringing, public appeals and lines in the sand, a deal was struck on the future of Broadway touring shows in Orlando.
The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts will co-present touring shows with the Florida Theatrical Association-Broadway Across America partnership, which has been bringing shows such as "Wicked" and "The Lion King" to Orlando for 24 years.
It's a win-win-win-win.
Why so many wins?
Well, the Dr. Phillips Center wins by gaining access to the 70 percent of the touring market controlled by Broadway Across America. It also won't have to worry about competition — the Florida Theatrical Association had planned to set up shop elsewhere and run its own series. Critically, the center will now have access to Florida Theatrical's Broadway connections, experience — and season subscribers.
Florida Theatrical Association wins, too. It can offer its subscribers shows in the new, state-of-the-art center, scheduled to open in 2014. A spokeswoman for the association told me it will continue its grant program for local arts groups, so that means organizations such as Mad Cow Theatre and Theatre Downtown are also winners in this deal.
Finally, readers, you might be the biggest winners of all. Because the deal allows the Dr. Phillips Center to also book shows outside of Florida Theatrical Association's usual interests, an even greater variety of productions could be available. The center also plans special events for season-ticket holders and hopes to offer more shows each year than the six or seven Orlando currently hosts.
More shows with top quality in a brand-new facility? Sometimes drama really does have a happy ending.
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