The Louisville Ballet closed the first run of its new production of The Nutcracker yesterday, after more than a dozen performances. And it produced some surprising results. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports.
Just after the economy took a nosedive last year, the Louisville Ballet had its lowest selling production of The Nutcracker. And it had to shave more than $1 million from its $3.5 million budget.
But ticket sales from the company’s new production of The Nutcracker has officials looking up — so says, the company’s executive director Dwight Hutton.
“We are ecstatic with the response from the public for this production,” Hutton says. “We’ve had the highest attendance numbers since the ‘90s, and we are nearing a 40 percent increase over last year, which is phenomenal.”
Hutton says most companies staging new Nutcracker productions generally see a 20 percent increase in ticket sales.
He also says the company is building audiences, even during a recession, and has increased community support.
“We budgeted very conservatively, I must admit,” he says, “but we have experienced the highest subscription numbers this year than we have in 10 years, and we are we are overachieving on our earned income, contributed income.”
This success comes as many arts groups nationwide are struggling amid the recession. He says that that corporate contributions are still fewer and often in lower amounts than before the recession.
He says local excitement about the new Nutcracker production should work to enhance the company’s reputation in Louisville and beyond.
“I think we’ve proved to all of our corporate supporters and individual donors that given the opportunity that we can produce a world-class product,” he says. “I, quite frankly, expect us to work harder and achieve even higher attendance next year.”
Two years ago, the company received a $1 million grant from the Brown-Forman Corporation to create new sets, costumes and choreography for The Nutcracker.