Lyric Theatre finds a new home
by Jon Gillooly
April 19, 2013 12:13 AM | 7737 views | 11 11 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Brandt Blocker, artistic director and general manager of the Atlanta Lyric Theatre, stands outside the Earl Smith Strand Theatre on the Marietta Square. (MDJ Staff/Laura Moon)
Brandt Blocker, artistic director and general manager of the Atlanta Lyric Theatre, stands outside the Earl Smith Strand Theatre on the Marietta Square. (MDJ Staff/Laura Moon)
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The Lyric Theatre will present its 2013-14 season in the 606-seat Jennie T. Anderson Theatre at the Cobb Civic Center.

Brandt Blocker, the Lyric’s artistic director and general manager, and county Chairman Tim Lee, made the announcement Thursday.

Blocker said he was ecstatic about the move. The season includes five shows.

“We are thrilled to be able to perform in a venue that has the joy of size, a full 44-foot wide proscenium stage with wing space, large dressing rooms, large orchestra pit, it’s absolutely perfect for a musical theater company,” he said.

For the last five years, the Lyric has operated out the Strand Theatre on the Square in downtown Marietta, but rental rates proved too costly for the theater company.

At the county-owned Anderson Theatre, the Lyric will pay about $7,000 per show to the county, spokesman Robert Quigley said.

“That would be $80,000 less a year than the Strand Theatre,” Blocker said. “It is a lot of savings to the Lyric, so this will hopefully help us fix the balance sheet. We enjoyed our time at the Strand, we really enjoyed being there, but it was an expensive proposition for us, and we had to make some changes. As a nonprofit or for-profit, you’ve got to keep the books balanced, so this will help us play some catch up on what we’ve been paying for the past several years.”

Mayor Steve Tumlin said he was working with the Downtown Marietta Development Authority and The Historic Marietta Trolley Co. to arrange for a trolley service to take theater-goers to and from the Anderson Theater to the Square.

“We’re so programmed to have everything on the Square, but Jennie T. Anderson will be a great place, and it might open up other opportunities for other restaurants and other economic development out there because they will draw a lot of people,” Tumlin said.

Lee said the Marietta and Cobb community benefits most from the deal.

“The arts in Cobb are very important to the quality of life for the folks in the city of Marietta and Cobb County, and anytime there is an opportunity for an arts group to be successful I think it’s good for the community at large,” Lee said.

The season kicks off with “The Producers,” on Aug. 9 followed by “Guys and Dolls” in October, Duke Ellington’s “Sophisticated Ladies” in January and later “Annie the Musical” and “Monty Python’s Spamalot.”

Tumlin referenced the namesake of the theater, the late Jennie T. Anderson, whose husband ran the Anderson Motor Co. for decades.

“She would be tickled to have this theater there,” Tumlin said. “She was a princess of a lady, and she loved the arts before it was the in thing to do, so it makes me feel good. Just like I love the Strand, I love the heritage that that lady brought. When I hear ‘Jennie T. Anderson’ it makes me think of her, and I think she would really be happy.”

Blocker expressed thanks to Tumlin, Lee and the Lyric’s patron base for their support.
Comments
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rionrustle@y__oo.com
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April 23, 2013
This is such great news! I know that the email that I sent to the Atlanta Lyric Theatre most likely has nothing to do with how they found the Jennie T. Anderson Theatre but I have to at least ask. Did my letter lead you to the Anderson Theatre? It doesn't matter either way because I'm glad that you found a better theatre that is more suitable for your kind of production at an even less expensive price no matter how you did it. I still would like to know though. Did my letter do it? That would be great! I'm really glad that you were able to stay in Marietta and Cobb County, Atlanta Lyric Theatre! I look forward to many, many years of you being in our area and seeing great shows. Thanks, Ryan R.
Subscriber to Lyric
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April 19, 2013
This is fantastic - The Arts in Cobb moves forward !
Good Riddance
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April 19, 2013
No one is going to go see them in that nasty hole of a venue. Good luck.
Bisquick
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April 19, 2013
You sound very bitter. Why not support, instead of bash?
Arts Community12
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April 19, 2013
I completely agree. I'm glad they're out of the Strand too. Nasty hole.
One Small Request
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April 19, 2013
Congrats to the Lyric and the city of Marietta! We'll follow good theatre where ever it goes. Now that you're at a theater built for theatre (and not movies), can you please do Mary Poppins?
Queen Bee
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April 19, 2013
Glad something could be worked out, but the Lyric went from gold to brass on this one. Poor managment.
Cash is King
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April 19, 2013
$80,000 a year cheaper for a more capable facility. I think the Friends of the Strand are a little too proud of their project.

PAY IN ADVANCE
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April 19, 2013


Let's hope Tim Lee gets us paid in advance for the first Lyric production at the civic center, cause there ain't likely to be a second one unless the Lyric have as much reserve cash as they have of their same old same old.

SuspiciousOfYou
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April 19, 2013
Quit trolling these boards. This article is a celebration for not just the Lyric but for the arts in Cobb County. Why write such a hateful comment (that doesn't even correlate with this article) on this board? I bet if you pull the IP addresses from these negative comments, you'll find them all to be from 117 North Park Sq.

Congrats, Lyric. You deserve better.
Ron G
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April 19, 2013
This is GREAT news! Wonderful venue and wonderful new opportunities for ALT!!! Can't wait to see you in your new home!
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