The lights will go up only so many more times at The Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. The Mesa venue announced this week that it will close July 30. Its owners, meanwhile, are working to reopen the space under a new business model — and potential new name — in October.
“It’s always a difficult decision to close a theater. We have so many loyal customers and employees, many of whom have been with us since the beginning. However, the current business model and long summer months have proven too difficult to navigate in the current economic times. I’m confident the theatre will reopen later this year with a great new theatre concept,” said executive producer and owner William T. Prather.
The Broadway Palm will continue to operate with a full bill until the closure, albeit with a reduced crew.
“Run for Your Wife,” “Me and My Girl” and the children’s theatre production “Schoolhouse Rock Live!” remain on stage for the next several weeks. “A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline” (April 12-May 26), “Funny Money” (April 12-May 20), “Pinkalicious” (May 4-25) and a series of concerts will play later in the spring.
Sixteen concerts and “Disney’s Alice in Wonderland” are scheduled for the summer.
“We know we’re going to bring back ABBA Fab and The Piano Man, and we have a Beatles Tribute show coming in June. The George Strait tribute, Strait Country, will be coming back too,” says spokeswoman Linda Cobb.
Many staffing decisions are still uncertain, as the theater waits to see how ticket sales go over the next several months and to see how the owners manage to reinvent the space.
“They’re looking at all the options. We’re not really sure what’s going to happen in October, and it’s hard not to have a definite answer for people, but we’re hopeful the venue will be here in some capacity in October,” says Cobb.
The theatre is moving forward with a partnership with East Valley Children’s Theatre; that company will host its summer musical theatre camp at the Broadway Palm.
Prather Entertainment Group owns the venue, as well as two others in Florida and Pennsylvania and a national touring theater company. The 500-seat Broadway Palm is the newest of the Prather properties. Since opening in 2001, it has produced more than 130 Broadway productions, children’s shows and concerts. More than 1.5 million people have seen a performance there, according to the theater’s statistics.
Cobb says patrons are beginning to chime in on the news.
“A lot of people are saying how sorry they are. There’s a lot of sympathy out there. A lot of people are disappointed,” she says.
Tickets for all the theater’s remaining dinner-and-show performances will cost $39. The box office will remain open during normal business hours until July 30. Information and updates will continue on the theatre’s website and Facebook page.
For information or tickets, call (480) 325-6700 or visit www.BroadwayPalmWest.com.