SCC starts Sonoma Valley Box Office
With the launch of the Sonoma Valley Box Office, the Sonoma Community Center is hoping to become the main ticket outlet for all of the Valley's events, from concerts to fundraisers. The first group to jump on board was the Sonoma Theatre Alliance, which will launch its summer season of performances June 30 at the center.
"We're using this opportunity with (the Sonoma Theatre Alliance) to launch our box office system in a really intense way," said Kathy Swett, executive director of the community center, who added that tickets can be purchased online at the community center's website or in the center's main office.
The new ticketing system will not only streamline the process of buying event tickets, it will also raise funds for improvements at the historic Andrews Hall. While organizations hosting ticketed events will pay a small fee to cover the cost of running the box office system, each ticket will also have a $2 "limelight fee," which will be used entirely to purchase lighting, sound equipment and other items necessary to transform Andrews Hall into a dedicated performance space.
"When people buy tickets they'll also be supporting upgrades in Andrews Hall," said Jaime Love, executive director of the Sonoma Theatre Alliance.
Swett said that Valley nonprofits will be invited to list their major annual fundraisers for free, although the limelight fee will still apply for those who buy tickets online. Swett said the community center is hoping to become the Valley's major ticketing agent, giving event organizers one easy place to sell tickets instead of relying on a handful of Valley businesses to handle sales, which often gets complicated for both the organizer and the businesses.
Love said when the Theater Alliance sold tickets through Valley businesses last year, someone from the company had to go to each location the day of the event to determine how many tickets were sold. "People don't realize all the things that go into ticketing, and that's usually the last thing you think about when you're putting on a show," she said. "It's a huge headache."
In addition to being a one-stop-shop for tickets, the center's software system can better keep track of credit card orders in the event a refund is needed. Customers' credit card information will also be kept in a secured database, meaning those who buy tickets in the future won't have to input all their data again and again.
"It's just overall more organized," said Toni Castrone, event manager at the center.
The Theatre Alliance is the first organization to use the system with its summer theater system. Tickets can be purchased to any show at www.sonomacommunitycenter.org, although season tickets must be purchased over the phone by calling 938-4626, ext. 1.
The Theatre Alliance is a nonprofit collaborative effort of four theater companies who joined forces to create a dedicated theater space. The group held its first season last year, purchasing comfortable seats and risers to make a proper theater space. This summer, the four companies return with a new lineup of shows that run most weekends from the end of June through the beginning of October.
"We're the little engine that could. We had a really fun, eclectic mix last year and I wanted to recreate that," Love said, adding that the four companies worked together to create a well-rounded season this year. "We wanted to create a season that complimented each other while recognizing we're four very different theater companies."
The season kicks off with CAPS production of "Rocky Horror Show," directed by Cat Austin. This whimsically dark musical follows the adventures of a straight-edged couple whose car breaks down outside the mansion of the unusual Dr. Frank-N-Furte. The show runs June 30 through July 16 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
The Avalon Players, directed by Sonoma Treasure Artist Kate Kennedy, tackle complicated family relationships in "The Glass Menagerie," a play by Tennessee Williams. The show runs July 28 through Aug. 14.
Next up, Sonoma Stage Works offers the hilarious story of "The Odd Couple," written by Neil Simon and directed by Roy Jimenez. That show runs from Aug. 25 through Sept. 11.
The season wraps up with the Silver Moon Theatre Company's rendition of "Treasure Island." The classic swash-buckling tale of pirates and treasure runs from Sept. 22 through Oct. 9.
On off nights and in between performances, Andrews Hall is available to rent for $125 a night. Love is inviting poets, playwrights, musicians and others to share their work with the community in the "Summer Nights" series, adding that the event host takes home all the proceeds from ticket and concession sales.
For more information about the Sonoma Theatre Alliance, visit www.sonomatheatrealliance.org or call 996-6003.