Sept. 18--ALBANY -- The Palace Theatre's 2013-14 season will include more shows than in the past, increased programming diversity and new entertainment options made possible by a digital projector.
"The Palace really is a premium venue for the arts," said Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings during a news conference Tuesday to highlight the season as well as changes and other improvements at the historic 2,800-seat theater.
The Palace expects to host up to 125 events in the 2013-14 season, up from 114 during the season that ended in May, said Holly Brown, the theater's executive director. She projected attendance of about 180,000, an increase of about 12 percent over last season.
Expanded programming choices this season include one-night stops of the touring musical productions "Midtown Men," featuring original cast members of the Broadway show "Jersey Boys" performing songs of the 1960s; "American Idiot," based on the Green Day album of the same name; and "Million Dollar Quartet," about a legendary recording session with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.
Although the Palace has occasionally hosted musicals in the past, it is more known for comedy and concerts, and so Brown said she chose the titles in the Broadway series because, with their focus on popular music, they resemble concerts as much as musicals. On a related note, the Palace recently announced the booking of a concert-musical hybrid called "The Rascals: Once Upon a Dream," a musical about the eponymous 1960s group that was conceived and directed by Steven Van Zandt, who is a member of Bruce Springsteen's band and was a cast member of the TV drama "The Sopranos."
Also new for the second half of the season will be a digital projector, expected to be operational by January. The projector will allow the theater to screen live concerts, operas and other events, as well as digital movies that can't be shown on the 35mm projector used for the Palace's classic film series.
Brown said the digital projector could add 30 screenings to the Palace's lineup within the next year.
Finally, the Palace will expand its relationship with Park Playhouse by hosting public and school performances in April of Park Playhouse's production of "Pinkalicious: The Musical," based on a series of children's books. As part of Park Playhouse's educational outreach, the show will be performed in 12 Albany elementary schools, but adding the Palace performances will allow children from other districts to see it as well, said Owen Smith, who is Park Playhouse's producing artistic director and, in a job-sharing agreement, is also the Palace's managing director.
Numbers are being finalized for the Palace's most recent fiscal year, which ended June 30. Brown said she expected a surplus of about $50,000, or three times greater than shown during the previous fiscal year.
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