Group to sell cut-rate tickets in Towson Cultural Arts Center setting up outlet at branch library

July 05, 1996|By SUZANNE LOUDERMILK | SUZANNE LOUDERMILK,SUN STAFF

Following the lead of New York, Boston and Washington, a Towson arts group soon will be offering cut-rate tickets for area theater and musical performances.

The Maryland Cultural Arts Center at Towson Inc. will set up the region's only half-price, same-day ticket outlet, called BOXoffice, at the Towson branch of the Baltimore County library, starting Tuesday. The outlet also will sell full-price, advance-sale seats through the TicketMaster network.

"We want to make theater as popular as going to the movies," said Nancy Warner, the nonprofit organization's executive director.

The arts group, which is still recruiting theaters for the discount tickets, has approached such venues as Center Stage, Baltimore Opera Company, Fells Point Corner Theater, Pumpkin Theater and Mechanic Theatre.

Brian Liddicoat, the Mechanic's general manager, said the Mechanic has adopted a wait-and-see stance. "I'm hoping it goes well, and we sign on," he said.

His concern is that the Towson center is not in the heart of the theater district as similar operations in other cities are.

But Warner is confident. "There is a demand. This is where many theater-goers live," she said.

For half-price and regular tickets, people must go to the center. The outlet will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays, and the discount tickets will be sold at the outlet on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of the show.

Customers may call 832-5545 to find out what is available.

For the past year, the Cultural Arts Center has operated an information center in the library's rotunda, which has not been used since library cutbacks reduced staffing. Now, in addition to selling tickets at the outlet, the center will sell pastries and coffee from Wolford's Bakery on the library's ground floor.

"It's an ideal location," said Warner, who hopes to attract county residents and the 5,000 library patrons who walk through the doors each week. "We'd like to see more happen in Towson."

The Cultural Arts Center is patterning its operation after the successful Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington. The arts center has been running TICKETplace for 14 years -- which sells half-price, day-of-show tickets for shows at the Kennedy Center, Arena Stage, Ford's Theater and other locations.

The two arts groups are forming a partnership so that they can offer tickets for performances in Baltimore and Washington.

"It's something I've been hoping for for a long time," said Steve Clopper, TICKETplace treasurer. "It's a terrific idea. I have people who ask about shows in Baltimore."

Warner envisions putting together theater packages for shows in both cities that would include dinner and limousine service.

"The great thing is nothing is set in stone," said Linnet Everett, who is to be BOXoffice manager. "We want to work with the box office managers."

Pub Date: 7/05/96

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