Maybe, just maybe, the Decemberists (above) will find time to pay us a visit after they wrap up that faux feud with Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert.
AP PHOTO/COURTESY OF AUTUMN DE WILDE
When I recently learned that the folks at Broadway Center had been using the city’s Tacoma Arts listserv to survey locals on whether they would come out to see the Decemberists, Rilo Kiley and other hip indie rock types at their Pantages and Rialto theaters, it piqued my interest to say the least.
But hold up, Decemberist fans. Before you get all hot and bothered, check the actual letter, cut and pasted below. None of the bands listed are necessarily coming. Just throwing out ideas, folks.
So I called Lacey Leffler, the center’s communications and marketing manager, in an attempt to figure out exactly what’s up. And she told me that executive director David Fischer was spearheading big changes at Broadway Center.
The survey helped focus the direction change may take. Responses "indicated that we are not providing enough for (the younger) age group," Leffler said. "And it seems that Tacoma is changing and we need to provide for that demographic."
The venue sizes (the Pantages seats 1,169 while the Rialto fits 742) make them ideal for attracting the sorts of second-tier rock acts that headline the Moore Theatre. "We want Tacoma to be on the destination route," Leffler said.
I wonder about one obstacle, though – one that’s in many band contracts. Over the years, I’ve talked to several promoters and booking agents who have alluded to clauses that prohibit acts from playing multiple venues within a certain radius. Tacoma, apparently, falls in that radius a lot; Olympia – which has the Capitol Theater and the Washington Center for the Performing Arts – not so much so.
Still, the Broadway Center had begun to negotiate with some acts, Leffler said, though she couldn’t specify. "We’re definitely considering more folk and indie rock as well as comedy." (Hmm. That vague description eliminates a few peeps on the list below. Whaddaya think?)
December 5, 2006
Dear Friends of the Broadway Center,
We are now in the process of booking additional performances for 2007-08. We’d like to include you in our planning.
We are working to change the scope, style and breadth of what the Broadway Center offers, and in order to present the highest caliber of entertainment in Tacoma and to the South Puget Sound, we will need to increase the artist fees we offer. This, in turn, will lead to higher ticket prices (pricing is made more challenging because of the size of our hall at 1,120 sellable seats.) At this time, we have not confirmed any of the performances listed below, however we are carefully considering the opportunity to possibly bring the following events to the Broadway Center. Please review the list of potential artists below with likely (but unconfirmed) ticket prices and let us know your excitement and interest in the acts:
*The Wailers (Reggae) General Admission – $39
*Bob Newhart (Legendary Comedian) $78, $64, and $54
*Madeleine Peyroux (New jazz vocalist) General Admission – $39
*Gov’t Mule (Roots, Folk) $52 and $36
*The Decemberists (Folk/rock) General Admission – $39
*Ben Folds (Singer/Songwriter) $69, $55, and $45
*Medeski, Martin & Wood (Roots, Folk) General Admission – $39
*Rilo Kiley (Indie rock/Folk) General Admission – $39
*Josh Blue (Comedian) General Admission – $39
*Foreigner (Classic rock) $78, $64, $54
Our programming is evolving from what we currently offer, and would love to hear from you. Thank you for taking the time to respond to this e-mail. Together we will bring a new era of great performances to the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Tacoma’s Theater District. Time is of the essence in the booking process, please respond by 10:00am on Wednesday, December 6 to: email@example.com. Thank you very much for your time.
Sincerely, David Fischer – Executive Director