Kathy Rigby, right, in La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts'… (Isaac James Creative )
At a time when economic hand-wringing for the arts seems ubiquitous, La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts is riding high with a new sales record for the 2011-12 season.
"This is not just your grandmother’s La Mirada Theatre,” crowed Producing Artistic Director Brian Kite in an announcement on the theater's website, citing more than $1.3 million in single-ticket sales (that is, nonsubscibers) over the past season. By comparison, in 2010-11 the theater barely cleared more than half a million dollars in sales.
The difference can perhaps be best summarized in four words: "Miss Saigon" and "Peter Pan" -- though the latter could be better captured with "Cathy Rigby," who marked her fourth appearance as Peter and her first since retiring from the role in 2006. The production was the top-selling show in the history of the theater and was directly followed in sales numbers by "Miss Saigon," marking a popular one-two punch at the box office. Rigby's "Peter Pan" is also touring nationally through spring 2013.
Rigby's involvement with the theater was no fluke as the former Olympian and her husband are executive producers of McCoy Rigby Entertainment, which produces the center's Broadway Series that also included "39 Steps," "Noises Off!" and an appearance by singer Debby Boone.
Kite, whose tenure as artistic director began in 2008, credited the theater's success to reaching new audiences. "We wanted to make some changes," he said. "People would tell us that La Mirada Theatre was a little too folksy. They want to see the Broadway world and they want to see it in La Mirada, which I think we have achieved.”
The theater's 2012-13 season opens this fall and includes productions of "Jekyll & Hyde," "Boeing Boeing," "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" and two performances by Shirley MacLaine. The full calendar is available at the theater's website.
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