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By Tony Aiello

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Peter Pan and Miss Saigon lead the way in setting box office mark; 2012-13 also on record setting pace
The La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts has set box office records in overall and individual categories this past season the city announced recently.
“It was an exciting year for us, this is not just your grandmother’s La Mirada Theatre,” said Producing Artistic Director Brian Kite.


Record total sales of $2,392,357 were set by McCoy Rigby Entertainment’s (MRE) Broadway Series in its 2011-12 season at the theatre.
Peter Pan, starring famed actress and Olympic gymnast Cathy Rigby, closed the season out last month.
Single ticket sales, those sold essentially to non-subscribers, came in at $1,371,444 during the year, almost tripling the $531,741 in the prior year. In addition, $25,515 in donations was received through the MRE series.
“Pan” became the highest selling show in the 35-year history of the theatre and Miss Saigon, from this past April, took second place on La Mirada’s all-time list of best selling productions. Both shows were attended by more than 22,500 patrons during their 21 performances.
This was Rigby’s fourth stint as Peter after temporarily retiring from the role in 2006.
The MRE Broadway Series also included performances of Noises Off, Life Could Be A Dream, The 39 Steps, and a special appearance by Debby Boone.
We asked Kite what can be attributed to the success at the box office, “McCoy-Rigby continues to provide quality productions along with the support of the city. We also have a great staff here and they are very excited. We are getting new people from La Mirada and new people from all over the area,” he said.
Kite also indicated the theatre has attracted and captured a new audience, “We have been very successful with our social media campaign, it seems to have brought in a younger crowd to add to our other age groups, and our season-ticket holders.”
“We are still a great deal, a better deal than any of the L.A. Theatres. It’s been a tough few years (economically) for a lot of people, and we provide quality entertainment. People want to get out. They want to have a good time, and they want to bring their families. We provide that here in La Mirada.”
It also didn’t hurt that the critics were very kind to La Mirada, “With the awards, and all the great reviews in the papers, our entire profile (in the theatre profession) really has been outstanding including nationally. We must be doing something right,” Kite said, “but we are not resting on our success, we are going to continue to try to get better.”
Pan and Saigon received Ovation Recommended ratings by judges from LA Stage Alliance and Miss Saigon was named a Critic’s Choice by the Los Angeles Times.
The nostalgic-ridden theatre originally featured a single screen and debuted as the Stanley Warner La Mirada Theatre on December 20, 1962. It was a very popular hangout for families, especially teen in the 60’s and early 70’s. It was transformed in 1977 from a neighborhood movie house to a world-class performing arts center, and is owned and operated by the city.
“La Mirada Theatre has the highest cost recovery ratio of any city department with upwards of 90 percent of its total budget being recovered through ticket sales and other revenues,” said City Manager Tom Robinson. “La Mirada residents can be very proud of the theatre’s box office success, which is directly related to the excellent artistic quality of its productions.”
The stage at the La Mirada Theatre is also being set for another outstanding season in 2012-13 that begins in early September with Jekyll & Hyde. The new season is currently experiencing strong pre-season ticket sales and “is on a pace to beat last season’s record,” said Kite.
The new 2012-13 lineup of shows by MRE includes: Jekyll & Hyde, September 7 through 30; Winter Wonderettes, December 7 through 30; Boeing Boeing, January 18 through February 10; Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, April 12 through May 5; and Next to Normal, May 31 through June 23. In addition, two performances of An Evening with Shirley MacLaine will be held on May 18.
Kite, who officially took over as theatre director in 2008, said he is pleased that some of his goals appear to be coming to fruition.
“We wanted to build an audience by appealing to our longtime supporters, and also to a new set of people. We wanted to make some changes. People would tell us that La Mirada Theatre was a little too folksy. They want to see the Broadway world and they want to see it in La Mirada, which I think we have achieved.”
Subscriptions are available by calling 562 944-9801 or 714 994-6310 or by visiting www.lamiradatheatre.com.
La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts is owned and operated by the City of La Mirada. La Mirada Theatre has received the Henry Reining Award for Outstanding Public Service in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area from the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration.

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