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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Local Production of “A Christmas Carol” Gives Trinity "a Run for its Money"

With Over 1,000 Tickets Sold

Cranston, RI – For years, the Black Box Theatre’s annual run of “A Christmas Carol” has happily packed houses at its home at Artists’ Exchange, a nonprofit arts collaborative at 50 Rolfe Square in Cranston. Casts have committed to weekends upon weekends of performances, responding to the growing demands of the theater-going public which is at its largest during the holiday season, a festive mood calling folks in droves to box offices for tickets to various versions of “A Christmas Carol,” “The Nutcracker” and assorted alternative holiday productions. Still, when Artistic Director Rich Morra looked at the count of 1,000 seats at the newly renovated Park Theatre, where Artists’ Exchange had booked a culminating performance after a run of five performances at their home base, the task of filling them seemed a daunting one.

The Black Box Theatre’s intimate house typically seats 27 for performances of “A Christmas Carol” (the theater can accommodate larger audiences for film screenings, as there is no performance space required for the medium), sometimes booking up to 12shows to fulfill the desires of the public. Approximately 30 seats and 12 performances translates to a typical 360 tickets sold. To fill the 1000 seat house at the newly renovated Park Theatre, the Black Box would have to nearly triple their audience.



However, booking a performance at a theater whose uncertain outcome had stirred the interest of an entire community could certainly help reach this lofty goal. Being the first to actually stage a theatrical production in the newly renovated theater after its long-anticipated reopening held quite a bit of promise. Touted as “the show that’s giving the Trinity Rep classic a run for its money,” a quote from New York Times Best-Selling Author and RI Monthly contributor Ann Hood, the growing popularity of The Black Box Theatre’s version of “A Christmas Carol” only added to the recipe for a hopeful sell-out… and sell out it did. With not a ticket left for Saturday, December 19th at RICPA (Rhode Island Center for the Performing Arts at the historic Park Theatre) and still a month to go before the show date, Artists’ Exchange and the Black Box Theatre have elected to extend the run with an additional matinee performance at RICPA on Sunday, December 20th. Initial worries of filling seats have translated to full confidence that this show, too, will sell out. “I’m dumbfounded and thrilled,” says Morra. “This is a really big deal for us, and we’re so excited to share it with a community the Artists’ Exchange and the Black Box Theatre have called ‘home’ for these past five years. The cast can’t wait to get up on that stage to share this story in such a grand way.”

“A Christmas Carol” will open on Thursday, December 10th and will run through Thursday, December 17th in the Black Box Theatre at Artists’ Exchange, closing at RICPA on December 19th and December 20th. All performances are scheduled for 7pm, with the exception of Sunday, 12/13 which will be a matinee performance at 2pm and 12/20 which will be a matinee performance at 3pm. All tickets are $15. Groups of 15 or more will qualify for a reduced ticket price of $10 per ticket.

For those desperate to see the show on December 19th, there remain a very limited number of tickets reserved for guests at a preceding VIP Party from 4:30 to 7pm at Artists' Exchange, hosted by Mayor Allan Fung and Steven Feinberg. The party will include a silent auction, delicious food from local restaurants including Arunothai, Efendi’s Mediterranean Grill, Café Luna and Phu Lam, wine from Jonathan Edwards Winery and beer from Rapscallion Brewery, live entertainment provided by Mark Taber, Linda Succi and the Always on Sunday Ballroom Dancers, and the chorus from “A Christmas Carol,” finishing with a horse-drawn carriage ride down the street to the theater. Tickets to the VIP Party are $75.

Artists’ Exchange is located at 50 Rolfe Square in Cranston. For more information, call 401.490.9475.
(This is not an RIFC Production)

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