HAIRSPRAY, ALL SHOOK UP & More Announced For Chanhassen DT Through 01/2012

In an unprecedented move, the New Chanhassen Dinner Theatres announces its schedule of musicals through January 2012. Since the venerable theatre was sold in March 2010, the new ownership group has been busy negotiating contracts with New York licensing houses including Rodgers & Hammerstein, Theatrical Rights Worldwide, and Music Theatre International (MTI) to produce the following musicals:

The Main Stage:
ALL SHOOK UP - August 6, 2010 - January 29, 2011
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR - February 4 - July 30, 2011
HAIRSPRAY - August 5, 2011 - January 29, 2012

The Playhouse:
STEVIE RAY'S COMEDY CABARET - Friday & Saturday evenings and continuing

The Fireside:
I DO! I DO! - September 24, 2010 and continuing

When the regional theatre was sold on March 15, 2010, executives' first order of business was to negotiate contracts and secure licensure rights to produce and bring audiences some fresh new titles. Stated Brindisi, "Our audiences love musicals and we want to give them some shows they've never seen before on our Main Stage." That doesn't mean that Chanhassen won't continue to produce the beloved classics as well. Brindisi continued, "We see great value in bringing back some of the great time-honored traditional musical classics and audiences will get those in the mix as well, starting with the remounting of one of most popular classics in Chanhassen history, I Do! I Do! That will be produced in the Fireside beginning in the fall." Chanhassen favorites Keith Rice and Norah Long have been cast in the roles of Michael and Agnes. Rice and Long recently played opposite one another in Chanhassen's Main Stage hit of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and are well-loved by Twin Cities' audiences.

Announcing shows for dates this far in advance is a challenge. Since Chanhassen Dinner Theatres hasn't ever offered a true season package, there's never been a reason to set a firm schedule. Stated Brindisi, "It's one of our greatest challenges, selecting shows and firmly setting opening and closing dates. Flexibility can be a good thing. If a show is selling particularly well, we can extend, if not, we can opt to close. But after 42 years in the business, we know our busiest and slowest times. We know how many people attend each year and that has remained constant. But we also know that our group customers, those people who attend in parties of 15 or more, (and typically account for more than 30% of Chanhassen's business) plan their events months, sometimes years in advance. We have groups on the books with reservations through 2020. It helps our customers to know what our shows will be as far in advance as possible so they can make plans and successfully promote their trips. Last-minute programming changes don't work well for these customers. We're hopeful to continue to make these decisions further out with expectations that more people will come. We also hope to add a season ticket program in the future as things move forward."

Theatre management is grateful that even during a difficult economic climate, Chanhassen's audience base has remained faithful. Stated Brindisi, "We can't do what we do without our loyal audience following. Supporting your favorite local theatres is terribly important. We feel our product is one of the best values to be found and people can always depend on it to be a great experience."

Audiences change with the passing of time and as they develop, they seek more entertainment variety. Chanhassen's recent programming addition of STEVIE RAY'S COMEDY CABARET is a perfect example. Brindisi is excited about opening the Comedy Cabaret, "Where else in the western suburbs can you go to a cabaret-style club and enjoy an evening of comedy? Some people don't want to drive downtown and this is an option for those guests. People can buy a show-only ticket for just $25, without a traditional dinner, arrive later, come casual and order from a new ala carte bar-grill menu if they choose." Service continues throughout the show and people can laugh along in an evening of theatre improv, comedy sketches and songs presented by Stevie Ray, the Twin Cities' own master of theatre improv and his talented comedy troupe. "We aren't changing who we are, but rather, building on what we have and improving it as we go. And," added Brindisi, "we want to bring along the younger audiences too. The newer titles will be highly appealing to our existing audience and to new audiences. It's essential for us to grow our audiences, maintain and improve upon our established reputation in the marketplace, and make our theatre profitable. It's called the theatre business. It's a challenge, but moving forward, we plan to also have fun on the journey."

Tickets are available for sale (through the box office only) for all productions effective May 12, 2010. For parties of less than 15, call the box office at 952-934-1525 or 800-362-3515. Tickets for parties of 15 or more, please contact Group Sales directly at 952-934-1547 or 800-355-6273.

The New Chanhassen Dinner Theatre is Minnesota's only year-round fully-professional, producing theatre company. With scenic and costume shops on site, all design elements are created and executed by Chanhassen Dinner Theatres' resident artistic design and technical staff. The artistic program is led by the New Chanhassen Dinner Theatres' President and Artistic Director, Michael Brindisi. He works with co-owners Tamara Kangas-Erickson, VP and Choreographer, and Steven L. Peters.

The Main Stage
ALL SHOOK UP Aug 6, 2010 - Jan 2, 2011
The story is all new; the hits are all Elvis! This irresistible musical comedy-love story features the immortal music of Elvis Presley, incredible dancing and a rockin' hot staging to be loved by all.

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR February 4, 2011 - July 30, 2011
The first rock opera, and groundbreaking theatrical masterpiece by the legendary team of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Telling the story of the final seven days in the lif of Jesus of Nazareth, this show promises to captivate audiences with its transcendent power and passion.

HAIRSPRAY August 5, 2011 - January 29, 2012
"You can't stop the beat," with Broadway's big fat musical comedy hit that inspired a major motion picture and won eight Tony Awards including Best Musical.

The Playhouse:
Enjoy the new Stevie Ray's Comedy Cabaret every Friday and Saturday evening! Come later, come casual, come ready to laugh ‘til it hurts with comedy improv, sketches and music.

The Fireside:
I DO! I DO! Opening September 24 and continuing...
Discover the joys and woes of matrimony with Michael and Agnes as they "tie the knot" and live out fifty years of marriage on stage in a 2-hour time span. Chanhassen favorites Keith Rice & Norah Long star in the most popular musical in Chanhassen's history!

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