GLENS FALLS — Before the first show of the Adirondack Theatre Festival’s 23rd summer season even opened in June, ticket sales were already breaking records.
On June 20, Chad Rabinovitz, producing artistic director, said: “Opening is sold out already. Last year at this exact time — a day before preview — we sold 1,250 tickets for our first show, ‘Island Song,’ which was a big hit as well.
“The day is not over yet and we’re already at 1,700,” he then said about this summer’s first show, “Nikola Tesla Drops the Beat.”
That record-breaking momentum continued throughout the summer, with ticket sales outpacing all previous seasons, Rabinovitz said on Wednesday from Bloomington, Indiana.
“It was our most successful season, with 9,385 patrons,” he said. “Three years ago, single tickets sales were 5,700, and subscriptions have increased from 570 to 1,195.”
There was such demand for tickets to “Tesla,” an electronic pop musical, ATF had to add a show, and if there hadn’t been a tight time frame between shows, Rabinovitz said, they could have extended its run.
“It was the best-selling show in ATF history, with over 3,000 tickets sold,” he said. “What’s been so rewarding is hearing patron after patron come up to me after the show and say ‘It’s like Broadway is in Glens Falls.’ Many first-time ATFers are shocked at the production level and the quality from every element of the show.”
The buzz about “Tesla” drew theatergoers from outside the area, including Vermont and Quebec, and as more people were introduced to the productions, ticket sales kept going up.
“We actually had people scalping tickets for ‘Tesla,’” Rabinovitz said. “They were on Facebook selling tickets for above retail price.”
The second show, “Knights of the Sales Office,” a comedy, followed suit with more than 2,000 tickets sold, making it one of ATFs most popular shows.
“Boy in the Bathroom,” a romantic comedy, was considered by many to be the surprise hit of the season. And the summer wrapped up with a sold-out 12-show run of “Glitches in Reality,” featuring the illusions of Simon Coronel.
With several thousand more people coming to Glens Falls for the ATF shows, the community benefits with before-show and after-show traffic to downtown businesses. ATF also brings in more than 100 summer residents, with crew, creative staff and actors.
“It has an impact on the community on business, they are getting hotel rooms, buying drinks,” Rabinovitz said. “ Do the math on the economic impact.”
ATF credits the power of the performances, solid reviews and word-of-mouth for its success.
“This is the best summer we have ever done,” Rabinovitz said. “With every show the responses varied, we hit the whole audience, every show was a hit.”