Thursday, May 22, 2008

They had a date with fate in ... Magna?

Marketing the Empress Theatre presents two distinct challenges, both of which are summed up in this blog post by Jason Bennion.

Magna doesn't get a lot of respect around here. It began a century or so ago as a company town housing workers for a nearby mine and smelter, and it's never managed to live down its humble roots or its rough-and-tumble reputation. It's certainly not a place you'd think to go in search of an enjoyable night of live theater.


I wasn't expecting much. Utah often seems to be the world capitol of community theater -- the impulse to "put on a show" is one of the strongest threads in the tapestry of Mormon culture -- and I've always reflexively dismissed that sort of thing as the worst kind of amateur-grade fromage.

In short, people don't think Magna has anything cultural to offer, are reluctant to make the drive all the way out here, and they have expectations that our "community theatre" will offer only amateur and mediocre fare.

Jason, who learned about our little secret because he came to support a friend in the cast, then found his expectations to be somewhat over met...

And then the play began. And I was very pleasantly surprised. With the exception of one cast member who seemed to keep forgetting his lines, the caliber of the performances was only slightly below the professional theater I've seen in Salt Lake.

Uh huh. Yep, its like that. Happened to me the same way.
Once the secret gets out, everyone will come to Rick's The Empress. Realizing the importance of the case, my men are rounding up twice the usual number of suspects.

Louis Jason, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship!

Here's looking at you, kid.

(With apologies to Casablanca and a hat tip to Bennion Gardner.)

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