Broadway in Tucson will pay $50,000 to the city to get out of the one year remaining on its contract at the Tucson Music Hall.
The settlement means the theater company can start its new contract with Centennial Hall free and clear of any obligations to city. Earlier this year, the Nederlander Organization, the parent company of Broadway in Tucson, signed a three-year agreement to hold its shows at the University of Arizona-owned building.
"Settling it and being able to move forward is a great thing," said Broadway in Tucson's general manager, Lendra Kearns.
While the city picks up $50,000, it loses much more as it watches one of its most profitable clients take its shows across town.
Last year alone, city records show, Nederlander paid nearly $266,000 for use of the Music Hall.
While double bookings and a lack of staffers solely dedicated to theater productions contributed to Broadway in Tucson's ditching the city-run facility, the biggest factor was a limited number of available dates on which the company could book its shows.
Since the city gives scheduling preference to the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and Arizona Opera, it left Broadway in Tucson with a limited number of dates each year to book its shows. And most of those dates surrounded major holidays, times when most people are spending time with families and not attending touring Broadway productions.
"They gave me Christmas and Thanksgiving weekend, and I always could count on having Rodeo Week as well," Kearns said.
Once it became clear the city wasn't going to allow Broadway in Tucson some flexibility in scheduling, Kearns said, the decision was made to make a change.
"That's always been a challenge for the (Tucson Convention Center): Is it a community center or a national production (destination)?" she said. "The perception has always been it's a community center."
At least one city official said more should have been done to keep the company at the TCC.
"Someone in the (City Manager's Office) should have seen the red flags when two non-revenue-generating (productions) took precedence over Broadway in Tucson," Councilman Steve Kozachik said. "It's a shame we didn't give them scheduling priority and relegated them to what dates were left over."
Broadway in Tucson presents five shows a season in an average year and has been holding shows at the Music Hall since 2004.
Contact reporter Darren DaRonco at 573-4243 or firstname.lastname@example.org