The inaugural season of the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse's Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival was a success, according to Festival organizers. The Festival, held in Auburn, N.Y., included nine musicals and played a significant role in shaping 20 new musicals during the 2012 season. Downtown Auburn also saw a boost in activity as patrons visited restaurants and spent time in the city.
The Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival is held at the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, Auburn Public Theater and Theater Mack at the Cayuga Museum, all just minutes away from each other in Auburn. This was the first year that The Playhouse produced the multi-venue Festival, offering theatergoers access to traditional Broadway-style favorites, Off-Broadway productions and brand-new musicals in their earliest stages of development. As the Festival continues to grow in the upcoming years, organizers anticipate it will annually draw 150,000 attendees, generate a $30 million boost to the local economy and help create 400 new jobs.
"Critics and audiences alike praised the quality and variety that the Festival offered in its inaugural season," said Ed Sayles, producing director of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival and Merry-Go-Round Playhouse. "Box office records for many shows were broken as audiences grew and more people were introduced to the Festival."
The Festival produced a total of 272 shows in 2012. Standouts from the 2012 season of Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival included "9 to 5: The Musical," which far surpassed projected sales, and "My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding," which received acclaim across the board for its story and message. "Cabaret" was heralded by audiences as one of the best productions ever done at The Playhouse and also received attention from the industry with its high-quality production value. "The PITCH," the new works series dedicated to helping the growth of new musicals, developed its own subculture of patrons, who attended weekly for an experience that they could not get anywhere else.
In 2012, Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival organizers partnered with restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions in Auburn, N.Y., to offer packages and special deals for ticket holders. The Festival is expected to continue to partner with local accommodations and attractions for the 2013 season. Plans are also under way for the construction of The Schwartz Family Performing Arts Center, a new theater that will be built on State Street in downtown Auburn. The facility will become the fourth theater in the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival and will be used by Cayuga Community College during the school year. It is expected to be ready for the 2014 Festival season.
The Festival recently announced an exciting production schedule for the 2013 season. The season kicks off on May 29 with "Singin' in the Rain" at the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse. Additional 2013 productions include: "Legally Blonde: The Musical," "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," "Cats," "Hank Williams: Lost Highway," "The Great American Trailer Park Musical," "Neurosis: The Musical," and another season of "The PiTCH." With the exception of "Singin' in the Rain," none of these shows have been produced by The Playhouse before.
Tickets are now on sale for the 2013 season. Gift certificates and Flex Passes are being offered during the holiday season. For more information on the season or to purchase tickets, visit www.fingerlakesmtf.com.