CLIFTON FORGE — Justin Reiter, executive director of The Historic Masonic Theatre, has weathered the COVID-19 storm that has kept customers away from the box office until recently.
“In November of 2020, we did not have a single show at the theatre, but more than 300 tickets have sold for our “Twitty and Lynn: Salute to Conway and Loretta” show this Saturday night,” Reiter said.
He has also noted an increase in the attendance at the theatre for the free movies that have been shown on Sundays.
Reiter said, “I’m very encouraged by the increase in the numbers of people attending our Sunday Movies@theMasonic series and very thankful to the Town of Clifton Forge for sponsoring the movies.”
As for the negative impact that COVID-19 continues to have on the entertainment industry, Reiter said, “I think it’s still a challenge to build our audience base to the pre-pandemic level, but during our Summer Music Series at the Masonic Amphitheatre, we did have some pretty good numbers.”
He continued, “Ticket revenue continues to be our biggest concern, and the best way people can support our theatre is to purchase a ticket.”
The “Twitty and Lynn: Salute to Conway and Loretta” represents a bright spot in the theatre’s 2021 performance season in that the robust increase in advance ticket sales appears to be setting the trend toward larger audiences.
Also, the recent screening of “Dopesick,” a Hulu movie, the first in a drama mini-series filmed in part in Clifton Forge that stars Michael Keaton, brought more than 300 patrons to the theatre, another positive development in terms of increased attendance.
One of the costliest aspects of operating an indoor theatre during the colder months of the year is paying for the heating bills, and Reiter noted, “The colder it gets, the more expensive the utilities are.”
Reiter concluded, “We want to be here for the community, and I encourage our audience to contact us with shows they might like to see.”