For lovers of stage shows and musicals, the Mattie Kelly Arts Center at Northwest Florida State College's Niceville campus is an unlikely blessing.
Few communities — thanks to a perfect storm of geographical and technical factors — can lure Broadway blockbusters such as "The Addams Family," which runs Nov. 12.
But the convergence of the center's prime location, on a route well-traveled by touring shows, and being a state-of-the-art facility leads to the Mattie Kelly Center being a Mecca for stage buffs.
"We're in a marvelous location for the touring shows," Sylvia Bryan, the center's assistant director, said.
"When the shows travel the circuit, they're going to go to the bigger cities. Well, guess who's right in the middle, right off I-10?"
The Mattie Kelly Center's previous Broadway hits established NWFSC's ability to attract successively impressive seasons, Bryan said.
"We've gained a reputation over the years that we can accommodate these shows," she said.
Location and tech
Bryan said planning each new season depends on which productions are touring along the Interstate 10 corridor, often between performances in Jacksonville and New Orleans.
Smaller cities, such as Pensacola and Mobile, also attract touring shows, but the Mattie Kelly Center's versatility and technical superiority can mean local audiences get shows that might skip those cities.
Making a stop en route to the next major engagement also explains why most touring Broadway shows only run one night, Bryan said. It can also reflect the local market, she added.
"Usually the one-nighter is a function of their schedule ... but it's hard in this market to fill up that house two nights," she said.
A towering fly space — the multi-story space above the stage — along with wide wings and a deep stage attract shows dependent on several sets, scenery and technical effects.
When the curtain rises Tuesday on the creepy, kooky and all together ooky "Addams Family" musical, local audiences will enjoy a show that entertained New York audiences for 722 performances.
But their appreciation of the Mattie Kelly Main Stage's technical advances is unlikely. And that's just fine with Bryan, who said it's the show, not how it's produced, that matters to ticketholders.
WANT TO GO?
WHAT: "The Addams Family" musical
WHEN:7:30 p.m. Nov. 12
WHERE: Mattie Kelly Arts Center, Northwest Florida State College, Niceville
TICKETS: $51; call 729-6000or see www.mattiekellyartscenter.org
Contact News Bulletin Arts & Entertainment Editor Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.