When 80-something actor Jamie Farr walks onto the stage of the Historic Dixon Theatre to perform “Tuesdays with Morrie – The Play” on Oct. 6, he won’t be part of just an ordinary show.
He’ll be helping to kick off a hoped-for resurgence of activity at the 95-year-old, 950-seat former movie house that will include six more traveling shows through March.
A Florida-based production company, Cue Theatricals Inc., announced this week that it would stage seven productions there for the 2017-18 season.
After former “M*A*S*H” star Farr, best known for playing cross-dressing Cpl. Maxwell Klinger, wraps up his performance, “Beginnings – The Ultimate Tribute to Chicago” will follow on Oct. 20.
After that will come “A Night with Janis Joplin” (Nov. 11), “A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage” (Dec. 6), “Abba Mania” (Jan. 24), “The New Shanghai Circus” (Feb. 17), and “Rhythm in the Night, The Irish Dance Spectacular” (March 13).
We support efforts to promote greater usage of the Historic Dixon Theater, which is underutilized, to say the least.
Mayor Li Arellano Jr. remarked, “The quality of life for our citizens is going to jump dramatically.”
From our perspective, the key to the plan is generating public support.
The shows will have to be effectively marketed to bring in large audiences from outside the region.
For their part, local and area folks should make it a point to get out and attend these high-caliber performances.
Large ticket sales are needed to provide the financial incentive to increase the theater’s usage – and thus its economic impact on the city’s downtown eateries, taverns and other businesses.
Tickets, by the way, will go on sale Monday at cuetheatricals.com or dixontheatre.com.
The theater has been a downtown mainstay since it opened in 1922. However, since it closed as a movie house in the 1980s and the building was later restored by volunteers, the theater has not been that busy of a place.
We certainly hope this increased activity will inspire theater supporters to focus their efforts on improving operations, adding more events, clearing up lingering ownership issues, and making the Historic Dixon Theatre the best it can be.