VENUE NEWS: Fox Theatre Launches New Ticketing Service & The Hippodrome Theatre Restores Life To Baltimore's West Side

Boulder, CO (CelebrityAccess News Service) – The Fox Theatre is pleased to announce the launch of a direct on line ticket solution to its customers, as well as, ticketing partnership with Twist & Shout Records in Denver. The new online service is a convenient and inexpensive option for customers to purchase tickets directly through The Fox at a significantly lower surcharge than through outside ticketing companies. The partnership with Twist & Shout adds another convenient location for patrons to purchase tickets, directly in the Denver area. In addition to Twist & Shout, Albums on the Hill in Boulder offers this convenience to the Boulder patron. This new ticketing option is one step closer to supporting the independence of the Fox Theatre and offers the most affordable ticket prices without a hassle. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers

www.foxtheatre.com

The Hippodrome Theatre Restores Life To Baltimore's West Side

BALTIMORE, MD (CelebrityAccess News Service) – After decades of uncertainty about the future of the Hippodrome Theatre, organizers are just weeks away from reopening the 1914 vaudeville palace where Frank Sinatra and Benny Goodman played during theatre's glory days. On February 10, the fully restored Hippodrome Theatre will make its debut as the heart of the new France-Merrick Performing Arts Center in Baltimore.

The Center opens with the Mel Brooks' musical, The Producers, the first live performance at the Hippodrome in more than 50 years. From 1952 through the '80s, the Hippodrome operated as a movie theatre until it became the casualty of a deteriorating neighborhood. In 2002, a partnership between the Hippodrome Foundation, Clear Channel Entertainment and the Maryland Stadium Authority allowed construction to begin, connecting the Hippodrome with two other historic buildings to create a 140,000-square-foot entertainment complex.

The France-Merrick Performing Arts Center enables Baltimore to host Broadway's most elaborate touring productions, such as Mamma Mia!, playing this May, and The Lion King, slated for the end of the 2004-2005 season. Equipped with a stage more than 50 feet deep and seven stories high, the theatre has been designed to meet the technical and spatial requirements of large-scale shows, which other venues in the area can't accommodate.

The Center also has been a catalyst for rejuvenating Baltimore's west side, a vibrant business and entertainment district for more than a century before its decline in the 1960s. Just as the National Aquarium and Camden Yards have brought attention to other parts of downtown Baltimore, the Center is expected to attract tens of thousands of patrons to the neighborhood, where the development of upscale retail and residential properties is in progress.

Clear Channel Entertainment, manager of the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center, anticipates it will host 275 performances in the 2,286-seat theatre in the first year.

While the Center's technology and amenities are state-of-the-art, the interior of the auditorium – the original Hippodrome Theatre – appears very much as its architect Thomas Lamb intended in 1914. Over the past 18 months, restoration professionals have spent thousands of hours repairing and recreating ornamental plasterwork, gilded moldings and other furnishings. Six opera boxes, removed in the 1960s to make room for a new Cinemascope movie screen, have been recreated, and a water-damaged mural by artist Vincent Maragliotti has been reconstructed. Seats, wall coverings, carpet and lighting have been selected to replicate the originals as closely as possible. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

Design Error To Cost $480,000 – Amphitheater Not Accessible To People With Disabilities

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A design mistake at a popular Des Moines amphitheater will cost taxpayers $480,000.

Planners failed to make the Simon Estes Amphitheater accessible to people with disabilities when it was built in 1996.

Advocates for the disabled say the amphitheater is too hard to reach for those who use wheelchairs.

To settle the complaint, the city of Des Moines and the Army Corps of Engineers will split the cost of improvements to the amphitheater. They will add a new wheelchair lift and stage-level seats, among other additions.

Stephen McKay Exits ADVO SummerWind Performing Arts Center

(CelebrityAccess News Service) – Stephen McKay is no longer with ADVO SummerWind Performing Arts Center in Winsdor, CT. "Even though I am no longer with SummerWind Performing Arts Center, I wish only the best for the organization." he says. "I am tremendously proud of all that I and my small staff, along with our team of dedicated volunteers, accomplished during my last two years with the venue and hope that SummerWind continues to evolve into one of the major arts destinations and presenting organizations in the region."

" I put my heart and soul along with many years of entertainment and marketing experience into SummerWind." McKay adds. "I am thrilled to have worked with and presented such great performers as Lou Rawls, Wynton Marsalas, Dave Brubeck, The Hartford Symphony, Judy Collins, The Saw Doctors, Yellowjackets, CeCe Winans, Celia Cruz and so many more. I was very fortunate to have worked with a very dedicated development director and together we were able to raise over $400,000 in sponsorships anddonations this past year alone not to mention well over $150,000 of in in-kind contributions. We were able to garner the support of companies such as ADVO, the Savings Bank of Manchester, Lincoln Financial, Comcast, SBC SNET and many media sponsors as well."

" We served our patrons well and accomplished our core mission while showing extreme fiscal responsibility," he continues. "I hope to continue to work in presenting interesting and unique artists within the region at another venue and wish SummerWind Performing Arts Center continued success." –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

Eilen Wolter Joins Knitting Factory Entertainment

(CelebrityAccess News Service) — Eileen Z. Wolter has been named director of business development for Knitting Factory Entertainment, a newly created position. Wolter’s responsibilities will include creating targeted marketing opportunities, developing new strategic business initiatives and activation of industry partnerships. She will also work closely with the festival, special event and talent buying departments to evolve current relationships.

“I am thrilled that Eileen is joining the Knit family. She brings with her a mixture of event marketing and entertainment industry experience, alongside great energy and an expansive knowledge of key players and trends which I feel will be a great asset as the company continues to grow in new directions,” stated Jared Hoffman, president Knitting Factory Entertainment.

“I’m very excited to be joining The Knit at this exciting time and look forward to creatively building the brand,” added Wolter.

Prior to joining Knitting Factory Entertainment, Wolter produced marketing events for a wide range of clients, including launch parties for Iggy Pop’s current album “Skull Ring” and “American Idol” fragrances, as well as The Andy Warhol Foundation and Warner Bros. Previously, Wolter planned special events for Virgin Records America and worked at Creative Artists Agency.

Knitting Factory Entertainment is a diversified entertainment company operating the world-famous Knitting Factory Clubs in New York and Hollywood, Knitting Factory Records, The Instinct Records Label Group, and KnitMedia, a developer and producer of musical events such as the Boru Irish Rhapsody Music Festival, and The Pontiac Vibe Beatfest and Road Trip. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

Harth's Legacy Lives At Carnegie Hall

NEW YORK (AP) — Robert Harth died after leading Carnegie Hall for barely 29 months, but his legacy is quite alive in its audiences: Jeans-clad youths now sit alongside silver-haired dowagers at concerts.

Harth, 47, was days away from unveiling Carnegie's 2004-05 season, the first created entirely by him, when he suffered a heart attack on Jan. 30.

His season lineup, unaltered, will be announced Wednesday. Although Carnegie staff declined to reveal details, they said it will carry out his vision to inject fresh blood into an institution steeped in tradition.

Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas hinted at the diversity the public can expect: "What was very much on (Harth's) mind was that Carnegie, while continuing to be a famous international hall, become more powerful in establishing the American musical identity, commissioning new works, involving different communities, and educating."

During his short tenure as artistic and executive director of America's premier concert hall, Harth turned the hallowed edifice into a dynamic and evolving place. Nowhere is that more evident than in Carnegie's new Zankel Hall, which opened in September as New York's first concert stage of the 21st century.

Harth predicted that the $72 million space — carved into bedrock beneath the main auditorium — would enable Carnegie to "step out of our comfort zone" of tuxedo-clad classics.

New and younger audience members, some in dreadlocks and many coming for the first time to Carnegie, have already responded to a changing repertoire. The lineup has embraced rap, 19th century Schubert and even a Cuban jazz pianist tossing seashells onto the strings of a Steinway for musical effect.

This week, acclaimed architect Frank Gehry — clad in jeans — and Carnegie's composer-in-residence John Adams regaled a Zankel audience in the first of a series of discussions titled "The Creative Process." Later this winter, Adams will engage director Peter Sellars on the same topic.

"This hall was Robert's crown jewel," Adams, a California-based composer, told the audience filling Zankel's 644 seats. Harth's usual seat, in a side balcony, was kept empty in his honor.

"We need more people with his kind of daring," said Simon Rattle, chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, which played at Carnegie under Harth. Rattle said he and Harth brainstormed many ideas, including projects bringing music to city schoolchildren.

"However crazy an idea you'd come up with, Robert would trumpet it — then go out, persuade somebody it's wonderful and get the money to make it happen," the British conductor said in a telephone interview. "He believed that music is for everybody, and a place like Carnegie Hall must not just be the province of a few people."

And if the music was for everyone, then all types of performers were needed.

"He didn't worry whether it was called classical music, world music, rock or country," said Emanuel Ax, an eminent classical pianist and a regular Carnegie performer. "What was important to him was that you be excited and moved by what was happening on the stage — whether it's music from Azerbaijan, or from the palaces of Vienna."

Carnegie Hall Shows Diverse New Lineup

NEW YORK (AP) — Carnegie Hall will offer a diverse season in 2004-05 — from whirling Dervishes to flamenco dancers, plus jazz and lots of classics — a legacy from its director, who died two weeks ago.

The new season is Carnegie's "most ambitious, exciting and diverse ever," Robert Harth wrote.

The lineup, announced Wednesday, is Carnegie's first entire season created by Harth, who died Jan. 30 of a heart attack after a 2 1/2-year tenure.

Attending the news conference unveiling the season were cellist Yo-Yo Ma, composer-conductor Pierre Boulez and mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne, who all worked with Harth on their Carnegie plans.

Boulez's voice broke as he spoke of passing Harth's empty desk on Wednesday morning and of the special "Discovery Concert" they programmed to introduce new listeners to great classical music.

Boulez is to lead the London Symphony Orchestra, explaining snippets of Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" before a full performance, with tickets, which usually range from $27 to $102, discounted to $10 to $35 to allow more people to attend.

Carnegie's three stages will offer 210 performances by 275 artists and ensembles from around the world.

The range — Harth's hallmark — is staggering.

The Oct. 6 gala opening features the Philadelphia Orchestra under Christoph Eschenbach, in an all-Richard Strauss program with soprano Renee Fleming and Ma.

Later in the season, Fleming sings a world premiere of a Brad Mehldau jazz piece, with the composer at the keyboard.

On an equally popular note, Carnegie will offer k.d. lang as soloist with the Brooklyn Philharmonic and a concert performance of "South Pacific" to close the season on June 9, 2005.

South African jazz pianist-composer Abdullah Ibrahim and his trio come to Carnegie's new Zankel Hall in November, more than a dozen years after his Carnegie solo recital celebrating Nelson Mandela's release from prison.

The 644-seat venue, which Harth helped inaugurate last September, is regularly selling out its performances, helping keep Carnegie in the black, said board member Klaus Jacobs, the interim artistic and executive director.

In October, Zankel is to host a 10-performance run of Stephen Sondheim's song anthology, "Opening Doors," in its New York premiere. Then comes director Peter Sellars' staging of Gyorgy Kurtag's "Kafka Fragments" — commissioned by Carnegie — with soprano Dawn Upshaw and violinist Geoff Nuttall.

The Whirling Dervishes of Damascus, Syria, are to sing and dance to liturgical music.

Harth also expanded the hall's artistic reach through the Internet, including a Web-linked rehearsal this spring joining more than 250 high school students in Arizona, New Jersey, North Carolina and Washington state. They'll then perform together at Carnegie Hall in May.

"As Robert said, `In our profession, you're only as good as what you do next,'" said Carnegie artistic adviser Ara Guzelimian, who detailed the season in Harth's place.

——

On the Net:

http://www.carnegiehall.org

Peter Morton And Brent Bolthouse To Open New Las Vegas Nightclub

(CelebrityAccess News Service) – Hard Rock Hotel and Casino owner Peter Morton has signed a deal to partner with Hollywood nightlife guru Brent Bolthouse on the opening of a new yet-to-be named nightclub at his Las Vegas Hotel in the spot where "Baby's" was previously located. Renovations begin in February and is being spearheaded by designer Kelly Wearstler from Los Angeles based design firm kwid. A spring opening is scheduled.

After helping establish the Las Vegas nightclub scene over six years ago, "Baby's" closed its doors on February 2.

"Brent is simply the coolest nightclub operator that I've come across in a long time," said Morton. "I feel like he can build a nightclub unlike any other in Las Vegas."

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino was opened by Morton in 1995 and quickly became the hippest, hottest and most sought after destination in Las Vegas. Boasting more than 650 rooms, world-class restaurants like Nobu, a brand new 5,000 square foot penthouse, and acclaimed live concert venue, The Joint, The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has revolutionized and redefined entertainment and excitement.

Bolthouse virtually invented the Hollywood nightlife scene over 15 years ago. Each week, countless trendsetters flock to Bolthouse produced nights at Hollywood hot spots such as Josephs, Concord, The Lounge and Avalon. His weekly promotion at Concord was recently named the "hottest night" in Hollywood according to People Magazine, and LA Weekly named him the top promoter in Los Angeles. Bolthouse also produces events for such A-List stars as Jennifer Lopez, Cameron Diaz and Gwen Stefani.

"I am extremely excited to be in business with Peter," said Bolthouse. "He is someone I look up to both professionally and personally." –Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner

Multi-Million Dollar Settlement Reached In Pier 34 Heat Nightclub Case – Award Totals $29.6 Million

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Civil suits stemming from the May 2000 collapse of a Philadelphia pier into the Delaware River that killed three women and injured 40 other people have been settled for $29.6 million.

The lead plaintiffs' attorneys, Thomas Kline and Robert Mongeluzzi, say they expect the deal to resolve all claims stemming from the collapse of the east end of Pier 34 on May 18th, 2000, which spilled patrons of the crowded Heat nightclub into the chilly river.

Three women were killed – 27-year-old Jean Ferraro and 21-year-old Monica Rodriguez, both of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and 25-year-old DeAnn White of Philadelphia, all employees of the New Jersey State Aquarium. They had been at the nightclub celebrating White's upcoming birthday.

Three quarters of the settlement will go to their families, and the other fourth – seven-point-four million dollars – will be distributed through an arbitration process to the 40 people injured.

The suits alleged that the pier had been in a dangerous condition for years and an inspector had warned of imminent collapse but was ignored. Pier owner Michael Asbell and club operator Eli Karetny have denied knowing about the danger.

A Superior Court panel last fall upheld the dismissal of felony charges against Asbell and Karetny, a ruling that prosecutors have appealed. The two still face misdemeanor charges, including 43 counts of recklessly endangering another person and three counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Dallas PAC Gets $1 Million Donation

DALLAS (CelebrityAccess News Service) – Ted Strauss, the husband of the late Dallas, TX Mayor Annette Strauss, has donated $1 million toward the design and construction of the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts. "She had a strong interest in the arts," he told the Dallas Morning News, "and she would have wanted us to make a contribution. Had she been alive, the gift would have been bigger."

When completed in 2009, the five venues of the $275 million PAC will include the Annette Strauss Artist Square. –Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner

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