Holiday Hit: Beautiful Star Breaks Attendance Record at NC's Triad

News   Holiday Hit: Beautiful Star Breaks Attendance Record at NC's Triad
The remaining performances of the grassroots Appalachian-set musical, Beautiful Star, have sold out at Triad Stage in Greensboro, NC. The show, which sets the nativity story in the mountains of North Carolina, is the biggest hit in the troupe's history.

Beautiful Star: An Appalachian Nativity, a 2007 reprise of its holiday hit from 2006, is "the highest-grossing and highest-attended production in the theatre company's history, breaking both records previously held by 2002's A Lesson Before Dying," the Equity troupe announced. "By the time the run ends on Sunday afternoon, Dec. 23, Beautiful Star will have made 150 percent of its original ticket goal and 8,400 people will have attended the show."

Additionally, 20 performances of the 32-performance run sold out. In response to high advanced ticket sales for the weekend performances, Triad Stage earlier added two Saturday matinees on Dec. 15 and 22. The company also provided area families a special discount with a "Buy 1, Get 1 Kids Ticket FREE!" offer to Tuesday and Wednesday evening performances.

The 2007 production, written and directed by artistic director Preston Lane, with music Laurelyn Dossett, included some changes and refinements to the score since last year.

"When Laurelyn and I started our work on Beautiful Star, we wanted to create a holiday celebration for our Triad audience," Lane stated. "As the play came to life through the generous work of the actors and the musicians, we hoped that it would provide an opportunity for audiences to escape the holiday rush and find a place of family and fellowship. We have all been pleasantly overwhelmed by the positive response to the piece, and are delighted to be able to have created something especially for this theatre and this audience."

Managing director Richard Whittington said that patrons have come to see the show from as far away as Asheville, Raleigh, Charlotte and Mt. Airy. "Looking at our overall attendance for the 2007 production, we've found that over 60 percent of the audience had never been in our theatre before," Whittington stated. "They heard good reviews about last season's premiere production from friends or weren't able to get tickets then and did not want to miss it again. We look forward to having them back for the productions in our regular mainstage season." Other regional theatres have expressed interest in the property.

Will Beautiful Star return in 2008 for a third production? Lane replied, "Based on the reception it has received, that's a possibility. We are working hard to put together the 2008-2009 season which could include Beautiful Star's return, but at this moment, nothing's definite."

Lane and Dossett will collaborate on the world premiere production of Bloody Blackbeard, about the pirate Edward "Blackbeard" Teach, scheduled for June 2008 at Triad.

Triad Stage's 2007-08 season continues with George Bernard Shaw's Mrs. Warren's Profession (Jan. 27-Feb. 17, 2008), the Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning Doubt (March 9-30, 2008), Endesha Ida Mae Holland's memoir From the Mississippi Delta (April 27-May 18, 2008) and Lane and Dossett's world premiere play with music Bloody Blackbeard (June 8-July 6, 2008).

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