VENUE NEWS: Palace Sports And Entertainment Venues Top The Charts In 2003

(CelebrityAccess News Service) — Palace Sports and Entertainment (PS&E) received national recognition by earning lofty status on 2003 year-end charts of two leading entertainment trade publications. DTE Energy Music Theatre kept its status as the nation's most-attended amphitheatre, and The Palace is listed as the second most-attended arena in the nation according to year-end polls of Pollstar and Billboard magazines.

It was the 13th consecutive year DTE Energy Music Theatre was listed as the nation's highest-attended amphitheatre, going back to its first summer under ownership and management of PS&E. It registered number one in total tickets on Pollstar's Amphitheatre Venues chart to go along with a number one ranking in total attendance and number five in total gross on Billboard's Top 10 Amphitheatres list.

The Palace was listed number two in the nation in total tickets for Arena Venues by Pollstar and second in total attendance and total gross by Billboard, trailing only Madison Square Garden in New York City in both polls.

PS&E's Florida arena, St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, earned a number six spot nationally for total tickets on the Pollstar year-end Arena Venues chart.

In addition, Pollstar listed PS&E as the ninth best-selling promoter in the nation.

The organization also earned dual nominations in Pollstar's annual Concert Industries Readers' Poll. The Palace was nominated as Arena of the Year and Marilyn Hauser, PS&E's senior vice president of booking/marketing, earned a nomination for Facility Executive of the Year.

Helping the venues reach their high rankings was the appearance of seven concerts listed on Pollstar's Top 200 Concert Grosses chart in 2003:

* Billy Joel/Elton John/ May 2-3 at The Palace (#15 on list)

* Simon &Garfunkel/October 18-19 at The Palace (#37 on list)

* Shania Twain/October 24-25 at The Palace (#73 on list)

* Dixie Chicks/June 2-3 at The Palace (#90 on list)

* Tim McGraw/March 21-22 at The Palace (#142 on list)

* Ozzfest 2003/July 24-25 at DTE Energy Music Theatre (#156 on list).

* Eagles/October 14 at The Palace (#182 on list)

"We are very proud of our high national standings, they prove the continued enthusiasm in our area for live musical entertainment," said Tom Wilson, president and CEO of PS&E. "It has been our challenge, and our privilege, to satisfy their appetite and provide them the best shows in the best setting possible. We owe our sponsors, media and promotional partners a big thanks for their assistance."

PS&E ownership includes The Palace and DTE Energy Music Theatre. The organization also manages the Meadow Brook Music Festival on the campus of Oakland University. Combined, PS&E's Michigan venues average 300 events and 3.5 million guests annually.

The Palace has been voted Arena of the Year eight times by Performance magazine and twice by Pollstar magazine and is listed annually among North America's top-grossing arenas. Voted "Best Outdoor Concert Venue" in Pollstar's 2000 Readers' Poll, DTE Energy Music Theatre has been listed as the nation's most attended amphitheater by Amusement Business/Billboard each of the 13 years of PS&E ownership.

PS&E also owns the leasehold rights to the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida, a 1999 recipient of the Prime Site Award by Facilities &Event Management magazine and one of North America's top-grossing arenas annually. –Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner

Philadelphia Music Academy Receives $15M

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Four months after a $50 million gift to the Philadelphia Orchestra, The Annenberg Foundation is giving $15 million to the endowment of the Academy of Music, the Broad Street landmark the orchestra owns.

Leonore Annenberg, president of the foundation, is the widow of the late billionaire publisher and diplomat Walter H. Annenberg, and has had a long association with the orchestra. The $15 million, in payments of $5 million a year over three years, will be placed in the Academy's endowment to generate income for improvements to the 147-year-old landmark.

"What this really does is to make sure that the building is preserved," said Harold A. Sorgenti, the Academy's outgoing president.

"I think she is picking up the lead from Walter, who had a very strong interest in everything that happens at the Academy of Music," said Luther W. Brady, the incoming president, who said he was already planning for the 150th anniversary celebration of the building in three years.

The Annenberg gift will quadruple the size of the Academy's endowment to $20 million, which will generate about $1 million a year in interest and other income.

The latest Annenberg gift brings to at least $89 million the amount the two philanthropists have given to the orchestra and the Academy in the last few decades. Lenore Annenberg has been on the orchestra's West Philadelphia Volunteer Committee since 1953, and was on its board of directors from 1968-80 and 1981-86.

——

Academy of Music: http://www.academyofmusic.org

The Annenberg Foundation: http://www.whannenberg.org

Fugitive Theatre Developer Arrested – Man Allegedly Misused Cincinnati's Money

CINCINNATI (AP) – A fugitive developer accused of illegally accepting thousands of dollars in city loans and grants to renovate a theater has been arrested in New York, federal authorities said.

LaShawn Pettus-Brown, 27, a former professional basketball player in Japan, was arrested on Friday. He is charged with wire fraud and accused of obtaining money from the city under false pretenses.

Pettus-Brown had proposed renovating the 90-year-old Empire Theatre in the city's Over-the-Rhine neighborhood and using it for comedy, music and karaoke performances.

In June 2002, the City Council approved $220,000 in loans and grants for the project. Pettus-Brown disappeared a year ago.

A search warrant for a raid on Pettus-Brown's office stated that nearly $93,000 of the $184,000 the city paid him was missing. Federal investigators have said Pettus-Brown wrote five bad checks totaling $33,850 to a contractor for work at the theater site.

No details about Pettus-Brown's arrest were available on Sunday. A message seeking comment was left with the FBI in Cincinnati.

The FBI said last week that it thought Pettus-Brown was in Los Angeles, trying to get hired by Dennis Rodman's new basketball team, the Long Beach Jam.

Councilman Pat DeWine, a Republican who voted against lending Pettus-Brown the money, doubts the city will get back the money.

“My sense is that it's gone,'' he said. “He went through the money and now has no assets.''

FBI officials said Saturday that Pettus-Brown would be returned to Cincinnati.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

Vegas Hotels Cancelled Super Bowl Parties

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Some of Las Vegas' biggest hotel-casinos cancelled Super Bowl parties and handed out refunds to thousands of guests after the NFL threatened legal action against those who broadcast the big game on big-screen TVs.

Several hotels received letters last week informing them that their parties were "unauthorized use of NFL intellectual property."

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league only recently became aware of these large-scale parties planned in Las Vegas and elsewhere around the country.

"These establishments were attempting to charge admission for something we are offering for free, and we believe that's a violation of a long-standing NFL policy that specifically prohibits mass out-of-home broadcasts," McCarthy said.

In determining whether an event violated the NFL's copyrights, the league considered the location's size, whether TV screens were larger than 55 inches and whether people had to pay to get in.

Some hotels scrapped party plans entirely, while others are scrambled to accommodate the estimated 274,000 visitors expected to come to Las Vegas for Super Bowl weekend.

"As far as I'm concerned, the NFL is full of soup," said Mayor Oscar Goodman. "I would tell them to go shove it."

A Super Bowl party inside a movie theater at the Palms was scrapped after the hotel received a letter from the football league on Jan. 23. The gathering usually attracts several hundred people, who enjoy hot dogs and beer and compete in games and raffle drawings for $39.99.

The off-Strip hotel decided to rent dozens of smaller TVs that will be set up in a hotel ballroom, and the beer and hot dogs will be free, said general manager Jim Hughes.

"The Palms is all about the party, and we want to make sure anyone who comes to the property is still going to have a good time," he said.

The Aladdin hotel-casino had to cancel its bash planned at the hotel's 7,000-seat Theatre of Performing Arts after receiving an NFL letter Friday. Officials scrambled to find small TVs that they could place throughout the casino for guests wanting to watch the Super Bowl.

"The city has had events like this for years," said Tyri Squyres, an Aladdin spokeswoman.

Casinos' sports books were not affected. Last year, some $73 million was wagered on the game, according to state gambling officials.

Goodman said Las Vegas was being unfairly targeted, charging the league had allowed "a condition to exist for the past 10 years and then they want to change the rules two days before."

McCarthy dismissed claims that Las Vegas was being singled out, saying the NFL had sent letters to several locations in Boston, Charlotte, N.C., and Houston.

"When we become aware of a potential violation, we take action," McCarthy said. "It's not a city issue, it's a copyright issue."

The NFL's letter was particularly devastating to promoter Todd Krohn, who had organized a party at The Orleans hotel-casino that was expected to draw some 6,000 sports fans at $45 a ticket. He estimated the cancellation cost his company, T & J Trust, more than $100,000.

"Our biggest problem with this was the late notification. If the NFL had made this decision, why didn't they give us 30 days notice?" Krohn said. "We wouldn't have scheduled the event. We wouldn't have spent the money."

Professional gambler Tom Burton said the hotels were providing a community service by televising the game.

"You can't go to the Super Bowl because all the seats are taken," he said. "The NFL just wants to dig deeper and deeper and wants to get as much money as they can. When is it going to end?"

'Phantom' Broadway's No. 2 Longest Show

NEW YORK (AP) — "The Phantom of the Opera" is now No. 2 — Broadway's second-longest running show.

The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical passed "Les Miserables" at its Wednesday evening performance — notching performance No. 6,681 at the Majestic Theatre. Only "Cats," another Lloyd Webber show, has run longer, lasting 18 years and 7,485 performances. "Les Miserables" closed on Broadway in May 2003 after 6,680 performances.

"Phantom," which now stars Hugh Panaro as the spectral figure who haunts the Paris Opera House, opened Jan. 26, 1988. The New York production, which has grossed more than $530 million, has been seen by 10 million people. It won seven 1988 Tony Awards, including the prize for best musical.

Worldwide, the show has grossed more than $3.2 billion, having played 110 cities in 20 countries. Besides New York, companies of "Phantom" are still running in London; Madrid; Budapest, Hungary; Stuttgart, Germany; Fukuoka, Japan; and an American company touring the United States.

The African continent production opens in April in Capetown, South Africa.

Time Warner Opens New Building In N.Y.

NEW YORK (AP) — The city's West Side has a new retail, residential and commercial anchor, bringing high-end shopping, luxury living and the new headquarters of Time Warner Corp. to a corner overlooking Central Park.

The $1.7 billion Time Warner Center, a 2.8 million-square-foot complex at Columbus Circle, was to open to the public on Thursday after a black-tie gala Wednesday night.

The two-tower center, which sits at the southwest corner of the park, includes a 40-store retail facility, five world-class restaurants, a new facility for Jazz at Lincoln Center and a 59,000-square-foot Whole Foods supermarket. There also is the opulent Mandarin Oriental hotel featuring plasma TVs in its rooms and a duplex apartment that reportedly sold for $42.5 million.

"The successful completion of this project is testament to the continued vitality of New York," said William Mack, managing partner of Apollo Real Estate Advisors LP, a primary developer of the site.

The center rises 80 stories above street level and contains 201 luxury condominiums, a 251-room five-star hotel and 211,000 square feet of office space.

"It's a great part of New York," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at the private opening. "It tells you what's really happening here … the best days are yet to come."

The gala private opening included performances ranging from Cirque du Soleil to the singers Jewel and Marc Anthony and the Jazz at Lincoln Center orchestra.

The construction of the complex, which took four years, was not without its troubles, including complaints of traffic and pedestrian headaches.

In 2002, a construction worker was critically injured when a piece of debris fell from the building and struck him in the head. Last year, a fire damaged four floors, injuring an elevator mechanic and 13 firefighters.

Gov. George Pataki told reporters he was "impressed" with the complex.

"It's worthy of the world headquarters of a corporation like Time Warner," he said. "It might be a little out of my price range but it's a great place to window shop."

Goodspeed Opera May Build New Theater

MIDDLETOWN (AP) — Goodspeed Opera House officials said they will negotiate with the city about the possibility of building a new $45 million theater.

The famed Victorian building has long been a fixture in the town of East Haddam, where it produced Tony Award-winning shows and launched some shows to national fame.

The board voted Saturday night to listen to Middletown's offer, which includes $5 million in grants, a free site and ample parking.

"Yes, we will negotiate with them seriously, but we have not decided the theater will be built in Middletown," said Dan McMahon, Goodspeed spokesman.

Theater officials have said they need a larger stage so they wouldn't have to rework shows for the road, and to accommodate the stunts used in modern spectacle-driven shows.

If the theater did build its new facility in Middletown, the East Haddam theater would remain open, but on a limited schedule.

Middletown Mayor Domenique Thornton said the city remains "fully committed" to its proposal.

"I think the board members will find that if the board members are to accomplish their dream, they will build it in Middletown," she said.

East Haddam First Selectman Brad Parker said he was happy that Goodspeed hadn't closed the door on expanding at home.

"It was a good thing they didn't make a decision today," he said. "The last thing that I asked them was to carefully consider all their options. This shows they are doing that … I think it's probably still 50-50."

ENDIT! Presents Inks Exclusive with Mishawaka Amphitheatre

(CelebrityAccess News Service) – Colorado promoter ENDIT! Presents will exclusively book Mishawaka Amphitheatre in Fort Collins, CO, for its second consecutive year.

Among last year's numerous sell-outs and multiple nights events were North Mississippi All-Stars, Israel Vibration, Ozomati, John Hiatt, The Rev. Horton Heat, Leftover Salmon, G. Love & Special Sauce, Ratdog, Ziggy Marley, Hot Tuna and Toos & the Maytals.

“I couldn’t even count the number of people that made a point to thank me for every show at Mishawaka last summer, the whole concept of the place, from the location to the people that attend; it’s something I have fallen in love with," said ENDIT!'s Eric Pirritt, also the head talent buyer at Boulder's Fox Theatre. “Just from the relationships here at The Fox, we are asked to put on shows throughout the state of Colorado on a daily basis, and now that ENDIT! has solidified the best possible independent venue for summer shows, the sky is the limit!”

Pirritt, who was profiled on CelebrityAccess last year, can be reached at 303.447.0095., ext. 20; e-mail: ep@enditpresents.com — Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner

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