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PIPPIN Production to Go Down as One of Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre's Best Productions

Oct 24, 2017 10:10AM ● Published by Kevin

Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Fort Myers has produced more than 185 productions on its main stage alone, but according to director of sales and marketing Melissa Vogt, the current production of PIPPIN is going to go down in the books as one of the best they've ever produced.

"It’s absolutely one of the most technically difficult and one of the most entertaining shows that we’ve had on our stage," Vogt said.

Broadway Palm, now in its 25th season, is included in the Prather Productions family. Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre in Lancaster, Pa., now in its 31st season, along with Prather Touring and Apex Touring, which are national touring companies that bring productions across the country, are also a part of Prather Productions. The entire company entertains a half a million guests each year and employs over 300 people. 

Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre opened in October 1993, after an extensive renovation to a 36,000 square foot Publix Supermarket. To date, attendance has reached over 3,600,000. The theatre, Vogt explained, is committed to serving the community, not only through quality entertainment, but philanthropically as well.

"We strive not only to maintain the exceptional experience our customers have come to expect at Broadway Palm, but we also work hard every day at enhancing that experience and growing a new generation of theatregoers," she continued.

Vogt has been an integral part of the operation and marketing of the theater for 18 years. She is responsible for developing and implementing the theater’s sales, marketing and advertising plans, all public relations initiatives, publicity/promotional events, all social media channels, the website, along with other tasks such as booking and executing an annual concert series, taking publicity photos and selling advertising for theater’s playbill.
  
She received TRAVELHOST Magazine’s Hospitality Award in the spring of 2011 and is a graduate of The Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class of 2011. She is active on numerous committees for various organizations such as the Southwest Florida Chapter of Florida Public Relations Association, the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce and SoCo Cultural District.

Something many people don’t realize about Broadway Palm is that it is not a community theater, but a professional company that hires professional directors and performers through auditions around the country. The national artistic producer selects principle actors and ensemble members from auditions in Chicago and New York.

Local auditions are typically held once or twice annually for children and adults, depending on casting needs. More than 300 young local performers have appeared in Broadway Palm productions, in addition to many local adult actors and musicians. Each musical production features a live orchestra. All positions are paid. Costume creation, set construction and rehearsals all take place on-site.

The community staple was not severely affected by Hurricane Irma, Vogt said. Once the power was back on, the theater reopened and went straight back to entertaining.

"Our main focus was on the entire community before, during and after the storm," Vogt said. "We donated ice until it ran out, fired up the gas grills and cooked up everything that was in our freezer to feed the public during the days after the storm, and through a fundraiser and our own monetary contributions were able to donate $15,000 to the SWFL Community Foundation Hurricane Irma Relief Fund."

Community involvement is important to Broadway Palm. Other organizations that have benefited from the dinner theatre and its employees:
  • American Cancer Society
  • American Heart Association
  • American Lung Association
  • Big Brothers and Big Sisters
  • Golisano Children’s Hospital of SWFL
  • ECHO
  • HOPE Clubhouse
  • Lee County AIDS Task Force
  • Lee County Alliance for the Arts
  • Lee County Public Schools
  • Muscular Dystrophy Association
  • PACE Center for Girls
  • Temple Judea
  • United Way of Lee County
  • YMCA of Lee County
Broadway Palm is also involved in the local business community. More than 250 private functions are held each year at Broadway Palm, including business meetings, training seminars, fundraisers and many social functions.

It is a long-standing member of area chambers, as well as a sanctioned Florida Attraction.

Future productions to look forward to include Chicago, running Dec. 30 to Feb. 10, and Mamma Mia, running Feb. 15 to April 7. For more information, visit BroadwayPalm.com.
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