VENUE NEWS: Metropolitan Talent To Produce First-Ever Concerts at Meadowlands Fair (Click on More to view all articles)

Metropolitan Talent has entered into an exclusive, long-term agreement with New Jersey-based State Fair Event Management to produce the first concerts in the 18-year
history of The Meadowlands Fair.

Under the agreement, Metropolitan Talent will bring major national touring artists and regional acts to perform every night at the 18-day-long event, June 19-July 6. The
concerts will take place on the grounds of the Meadowlands Sports Complex in a specially constructed venue with seating for approximately 8,000, which will also feature
state-of-the-art sound and lighting.

Prices for each concert will vary, with admission to some concerts included in the fair's entry price. For concerts with separate admission, tickets for those concerts will be sold through Ticketmaster outlets.

"I want to say how pleased Metropolitan is to bring a live concert element to The Meadowlands Fair, one of the longest running and most well-respected annual events of its kind in the northeast," said Metropolitan's Ian Noble, "With the diversity of top acts we are bringing in, combined with the high-end production, each of these concerts will be a great live entertainment experience."

Meadowlands Fair President Al Dorso added, "The Meadowlands Fair has become an institution in the metro New Jersey and New York market, drawing over 300,000 people
each year. We are excited to have Metropolitan Talent on our team, and the concerts they produce will bring the fair to an even greater level of success."

U.S. Steel Acquires Stadium Naming Rights

U.S. Steel has bought the naming rights for the new 6,000-seat, $45 million minor leage baseball stadium in Gary, IN, scheduled to open in June. Under a 10-year agreement, the home of the Gary Southshore RailCats will be called The Steel Yard. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The RailCats are one of 10 teams in the Northern League, an independent professional baseball league that isn't affiliated with any Major League teams.

Additionally, U.S. Steel Foundation signed a 10-year, $875,000 grant to establish and fund the newly created Gary Baseball Foundation, which will support youth baseball in the city, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times.

Palace of Aurburn Hills Has Best Week in Six Years

Buoyed by the Detroit Pistons playoff run and the highest-grossing two-day concert stand in building history, The Palace of Auburn Hills enjoyed its heartiest week in more than six years during the period of April 30 to May 6, 2003.

Overall, the seven day span saw five sold out events: Pistons vs. Orlando Magic (NBA Playoffs) April 30; Billy Joel/Elton John May 2-3; Pistons vs. Magic (NBA Playoffs) May 4 and Pistons vs. Philadelphia 76ers (NBA Playoffs) May 6. The Palace also hosted the Detroit Fury vs. Buffalo Destroyers in Arena Football League May 1 and pop/rockers matchbox twenty with Sugar Ray and Maroon5 May 5.

Billy Joel and Elton John's back-to-back sellouts surpassed Madonna's August 26-27, 2001 "Drowned World Tour" dates as the top-grossing two-night stand in The Palace's nearly 15-year history, in excess of $4.6 million.

The building's five full houses in seven days represents its fullest week of capacity crowds since April 14 to April 20, 1997, when it hosted six sellouts in seven days including Lord of the Dance April 14-15; Pistons vs. Milwaukee Bucks April 16; Pistons vs. Cleveland Cavs April 18; Bush with Veruca Salt April 19; and Grand Funk Railroad performing with the Sarejevo Symphony Orchestera, Peter Frampton and members of the Black Crowes April 20.

"From our building's standpoint, the Pistons' playoffs make a huge difference in revenue, image, morale and national exposure," said Tom Wilson, president and CEO of Palace Sports and Entertainment (PS&E). "As one of the top concert facilities in the nation, hosting major tours such as Billy and Elton do the same. We are excited to have several other national concert tours coming through in the near future including Avril Lavigne, the Dixie Chicks for two shows, Fleetwood Mac, the Dave Matthews Band and Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake."

Fenix Nightclub Reopens in Seattle Two Years After Earthquake

Two years after the Nisqually earthquake hit Seattle and hurled chunks of the old Fenix nightclub's building onto the street rendering the Pioneer Square club uninhabitable, the well known popular hangout is gearing up for a mid-May reopening. The Fenix has been reborn at a new location in the old Buttnick Building at First Avenue South and South Washington Street in Pioneer Square and has
taken two years and $4.2 million dollars. Once opened, the Fenix will be one of the city's bigger music venues, with
18,500 square feet of space and capacity for up to 1,200 people.

Two Wisconsin Theaters and Jam Theatricals To Bring Shows To New Milwaukee Theatre

Two Wisconsin theaters and a national theatrical event
producer are joining forces to ensure that Broadway will be a significant part of the programming mix at the new Milwaukee Theatre after it opens in November. The agreement unites the Wisconsin Center District (WCD), which
owns and will operate the Milwaukee Theatre, the highly successful Weidner Center for the Performing Arts in Green Bay, and Chicago-based Broadway producer and presenter Jam Theatricals as exclusive partners in bringing a series of Broadway shows to the Milwaukee Theatre.

This relationship will gain the group a strategic edge in bidding on and buying popular theatrical tours, particularly shows that currently bypass Wisconsin markets. By combining resources, the three organizations will also
realize more efficiency in marketing, enhancing their ability to build a strong Broadway Series season ticket base at the new venue.

"Theatrical producers are like any decision-maker," said Jam Theatricals president Steve Traxler. "When taking a show on the road, they respond to promoters who offer solutions, make them money, and make their lives a little easier. This agreement helps us do so by bringing sharply focused resources, multiple stops and streamlined marketing and operational support to at least one leg of a tour. Anything that reduces a show owner's risk and improves their prospects helps us sell tour routing here and elsewhere in the region."

WCD officials expressed particular enthusiasm about the agreement's potential to assure a successful launch of the new Milwaukee Theatre this fall. Jam's extensive experience and the Weidner Center's remarkable accomplishments may be crucial to WCD's success in programming full seasons
of high-quality entertainment, optimizing marketing and drawing audiences. The Milwaukee Theatre is being built with a goal of becoming one of the Midwest’s premier "destination" theaters for entertainment tours, convention assemblies and prospective attendees of either.

"Even after this agreement bears fruit for all parties, we will remain indebted to Jam and the Weidner Center for the wealth of experience they will have brought to the effort," said WCD president & CEO Richard Geyer. "Make no mistake about it, the Milwaukee Theatre is an amazing facility, and our plans are ambitious. We've set our sights on making waves in the industry, becoming a 'must' tour stop, and gaining a landmark profile among Milwaukee attractions. This means drawing tours that currently skip
Wisconsin and audiences not just from the Milwaukee area, but from a wider regional and tourist market."

"You won't have to travel out of state anymore to see the kind of Broadway shows we'll present,” added WCD chairman Franklyn Gimbel. "Bringing these tours to the Milwaukee Theatre, the likes of which Wisconsin has never had before, will offer audiences more in-state entertainment choices, but our program should not and will not dilute the future opportunities and viability of other entertainment venues in the area."

"This agreement links two great facilities and two great markets," said Tom Gabbard, executive director of the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts. "Booking Milwaukee and Green Bay together creates a cost effective route for
a show and additional reason to play Wisconsin. The exceptional quality of our facilities and amenities for ticket buyers will assure that the Weidner Center and Milwaukee Theatre are the venues of choice in our markets. We're impressed by the Wisconsin Center District's plans for the Milwaukee Theatre, and by Jam Theatricals' commitment to bringing quality entertainment to the Midwest."

Jam Theatricals is a Chicago-based entertainment company that presents, produces and invests in Broadway engagements throughout North America. Founded by Arny Granat, Jerry Mickelson and Steve Traxler, Jam Theatricals manages subscription seasons in more than 30 cities. Jam has presented notable national touring productions such as STOMP, Les Misérables, Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Miss Saigon and Riverdance and has produced national tours for the stage, including Eric Idle Exploits Monty Python. Jam is
currently producing the touring production of Barrage as well as the long running engagement of Second City at the Flamingo Hilton in Las Vegas. On Broadway, Jam produced the hit revival of Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune and the highly successful Jackie Mason: Much Ado About Everything.
Jam's Broadway and Off-Broadway investments have included Dame Edna: The Royal Tour and Victor/Victoria starring Julie Andrews, and the currently running Baz Luhrman’s La Boheme, Man of La Mancha, De La Guarda and Rent.

The Weidner Center for the Performing Arts opened in 1993 on the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay campus, and was expanded in 1998. The Center includes
a 2,021-seat main performance hall and several auxiliary meeting room, lobby and lounge spaces. In only ten years of operation during which it has hosted pop, rock and orchestral concerts, Broadway plays, family shows and fine
arts performances, the Weidner Center has become a Fox Valley focal point second only to Lambeau Field and the Green Bay Packers.

The Wisconsin Center District is a municipality which owns and operates three adjacent facilities in downtown Milwaukee: the 668,000 square foot Midwest Airlines Center convention facility; the 12,700-seat U.S. Cellular
Arena sports and entertainment venue; and the new, 4,100-seat Milwaukee Theatre, being built within the shell of the former Milwaukee Auditorium and scheduled to open in November, 2003. In addition to hosting Broadway shows,
concerts and other entertainment, the Milwaukee Theatre will also be used for convention and other assemblies, primarily related to events at the Midwest Airlines Center.

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