By Sarah Wallace, Arts and Entertainment Editor
The Kalamazoo Civic Theatre is proud to announce its holdover on its performance of Les Miserables. The play’s popularity has led to the addition of three new showings to the originally scheduled run. Originally scheduled to play through October 13th, Les Misérables will now run through Sunday, October 20th, with added performances from Friday October 18th to Sunday October 20th.
The great response of the play was evident by the first performance show pre-sales. According to Ben Zylman, the Marketing Director for the Civic Theatre, “[The Civic] had 4,500 seats to sell for the showing when we opened up ticket purchases for Les Miserables online and in the box office and by the time we opened, we had already sold 87% of the total seats.”
The widespread response of Les Miserables has chiefly been from students from both Western and Kalamazoo College. The Civic Auditorium is located on Park Street, just a 15 minute walk from the College. As noted by Zylman, “We have a special rate for student tickets; we’ve sold a large number of student subscriptions as well as student tickets for this musical.”
It is true that the Les Miserables has had a great response from college students, but it seems that there are numerous connections that the Civic Theatre has to Kalamazoo College itself.
The Civic Theatre is part of Theatre Kalamazoo, a non-profit collaboration between the live theatres on Kalamazoo, MI, consisting of 12 theatres. Their goal is to help make theatre more accessible to the public. The Festival Playhouse of Kalamazoo College is also a part of this group.
“Being part of this consortium group, we work closely with Ed Menta, Kalamazoo College’s director,” said Zylman. “We share physical resources, we work together to promote each other’s production and we work to create a heightened awareness of the theatre presence in Kalamazoo,” said Zylman.
Besides this, the Civic Theatre has also had ties with Kalamazoo’s Symphony Orchestra. In the 1950s, the orchestra used the Civic’s Carver Center, located across the street from the Theatre, as office and rehearsal space well into the 1970s.
Lastly, we find a connection between the Civic Theatre and the very foundations of Kalamazoo College. From 1922-1935, Dr. Allan Hoben was one of the first presidents of Kalamazoo College and his name has been remembered as one of the first-year dorms here. But also, Dr. Hoben was the Civic Theatre’s first president.
“Back in 1929, the theatre’s first president was Dr. Hoben. We had an immediate connection with Kalamazoo College,” Zylman said.
The Civic encourages participation on the part of Kalamazoo College as actors or volunteers behind the scenes. To find all of the latest information regarding upcoming productions, upcoming auditions and how to get connected as volunteers at the Civic Theatre, visit kazoocivic.com.