Fort Bend Theatre’s Ambitious pursuit of Les Misérables
By Karen Daniels
At the beginning of each month, the Stafford Centre is listed on Stafford’s City Council agenda to update the Mayor and Council on matters pertaining to upcoming events and projects. Last week it was announced that Girlfriend’s Giggle 2015 will be held at the Stafford Centre for the first time; the 10-Year Stafford Centre Anniversary celebrations will begin this fall; and the final touches for the 3rd and 4th of July are in place. However, it was the innocuous topic of the City’s contribution toward the marketing of Les Misérables, this year’s Fort Bend Theatre’s chosen musical, that discussions over differing suggestions and opinions became intricate.
Set in early 19th-century France, Les Misérables is the story of the quest for redemption after a French peasant serves nineteen years in jail for stealing a loaf of bread for his starving sister’s child. Les Mis is the recipient of countless awards, but make no mistake, it can be a little dark and is suited for mature audiences – and this is the concern for City. Mayor Scarcella is worried that the community might not turn out for this and said, “If they don’t satisfy the attendance records this might be the last year.” He’s talking about the $15 thousand dollars spent by the City for promotions and future use of the Stafford Centre. It is necessary for Fort Bend Theatre to have near sell out crowds on August 1st, 2nd and 3rd .
The $15K is not being handed over. A marketing plan must be approved by the SEDC. Part of the money will be spent on an electric sign that will be positioned outside the Fort Bend Theater on Highway 90. Bryan Blaum, President of FM Squared, suggested that in order for the sign to be effective it must be in operation by July 1st. Councilman Cecil Willis said, “I don’t think it’s going to work…signs don’t sell tickets.”
When reached for comment, Tarra McCain, Executive Artistic Director of FBT, said that over the years she has been asked to produce shows that are geared toward an adult audience. The selection process is complex. “Just because it’s a play, doesn’t mean you can produce it.” Ms. McCain explained there are “many steps you have to go through to get approval” from Broadway.
This is the 25th Anniversary of the FBT and they have designated it as a “Season of Classics.” In an effort to reach out to a broader audience base, many that possibly have never before attended the Stafford Centre, she has teamed up with greater Houston area ministry groups that help prevent human trafficking, a tie-in to Les Misérables. A portion of FBT’s proceeds will go to this cause. The Mayor and Council wish the Fort Bend Theater well, and Ms. McCain said, “We do appreciate what Stafford does for us.”
Short URL: http://www.fortbendstar.com/?p=40341