You can see the impact big shows like "Wicked" and "Dralion" are having on local venues and our potential evolution from a tertiary to a secondary entertainment market.
The El Paso Convention and Visitors Bureau announced today that the Plaza Theatre is ranked 75th out of 100 theaters worldwide for ticket sales, through the third quarter of this year, by Pollstar, the event industry trade magazine.
The announcement comes a few weeks after Pollstar's rankings came out and UTEP's Don Haskins Center announced its own ranking at No. 157 in the magazine's list of Top 200 arenas worldwide through the quarter.
The rankings are based on ticket sales from Jan. 1-Sept. 30 of this year, though the venues did not announce the number of tickets sold.
The Plaza, of course, hosted a 16-show run of "Wicked" in Feb. 1-12 that drew 30,000 people, an historic run for the theater, which was restored and reopened in 2006. It grossed $2.37 million.
Similarly, the Don sold 34,000 tickets for eight performances of "Dralion" by Cirque du Soleil last Feb. 15-19. It grossed $1.86 million.
Both venues are getting busy with it this quarter.
The Plaza's schedule includes its Broadway series opener, "A Chorus Line," on Nov. 19, plus concerts by Bryan Adams (Dec. 12) and Dave Koz (Dec. 13), and performances of Cirque Dreams "Holidaze" (Dec. 11), the Moscow Ballet's "The Great Russian Nutcracker" (Dec. 16, two shows) and "Disney's Beauty and the Beast" (Dec. 18).
In addition to men's and women's basketball games, the UTEP arena will host the third local stop by Cirque Du Soleil with eight performances of "Quidam" Jan. 23-27.
In other news:
• Talk about moving fast on the new baseball stadium (which I can't wait for, by the way), the city's Museums and Cultural Affairs Department has $850,000 to spend on three public art projects for the stadium the city will begin building next year.
It's looking for proposals, but interested artists — local, regional, national — had better hurry. The deadline for applications is 5 p.m. Nov. 30.
One artist or team will get a $500,000 commission, another will get $200k and a third will get $150,000. That money has to cover all of the artist or artist team's costs, from design to travel.
MCAD's encouraging interested artists to be creative, think in terms of location within the venue and consider "innovative use of water, lighting and paving materials."
I like the idea of encouraging visual artists to help create the look and feel of the stadium. You want the venue to reflect the geographic area in which it will be built, not just be a cookie-cutter baseball field.
Go to the public art opportunities prompt on elpasoartsandculture.org for more info and applications.
• Filmmaker Cesar Alejandro, who runs the Binational Independent Film Festival on a small budget, is trying to win one of 24 $5,000 grants from Citgo through its Fueling Good program.
If you'd like to vote for the festival, which champions small films and filmmakers from North America, Central America, Latin America and Europe, click here.
• Blues man Austin Jimmy Murphy, touting his new "A History of Blues" CD, will join Guitar Slim and Geronimo Black for an intimate house concert at 7 p.m. at 2920 Stone Edge.
They're dubbing it "The Three Kings." They'll do individual sets, then a round-robin together.
Doors open at 6.
Seating is limited to 30 people. Tickets are $15. Call 562.0719.