Today is a one of those days in the theatre that you both live for and dread. You hope you work on a show that is so special to the creators and the audiences that you hate to see it close. When lightning does striek, you hang on to every second because you know it just doesn't happen all that often. Southern Crossroads is one of those.
Created out sheer necessity, against some pretty steep odds, Southern Crossroads has been a phenomenon from is first show until today, the closing day. Every performance has met with a standing ovation and cheers like we haven't seen in some time. We've seen more repeat business for this show than we've ever seen, and everyone who has come in contact with the show hates to see it close. Audiences are overwhelmingly enthusiastic.
The inevitable question is "why close it?" Simple. Our next show has a very good advance and we have an obligation to our subscribers to provide it. Southern Crossroads was a gamble when all we had left was ourselves and our ceativity. It was intended to be a bridge and now it has turned into something much more important for many of us. I've been asked if it saved the theatre. The answer to that is yes and no. It allowed us to keep going when it looked like that might not be possible. Did it gross tons of money? No. But we think we're starting to find out what our "new normal" for box office returns will be, thanks to this show. It is tough to compare slots year to year in the theatre because the shows are invariably different, but Southern Crossroads did about 20% less than what we usually see this time of the year. Is that a new normal? At the moment I think so, but we'll see how things continue. I certainly hope the difference doesn't shift unfavorably, because any gains could be wiped away in a hurry.
Southern Crossroads I'm sure will appear again here at Wayside Theatre. We're already talking to other theatres about future productions, so the Greene Family Singers will get to play some more music and enchant more audiences. The story, the music, and the fun have warmed a lot of hearts in our area this winter, and I think it will continue to do so in the future.
I can't begin to express my gratitude to the cast, the staff, and the audiences that have turned Southern Crossroads into a new benchmark in my life. It has been an amazing ride.