Cabaret to be in spotlight at Philharmonic meeting

The ever-popular Cabaret at The Commons series will be back in the spotlight again at 5 p.m. Monday during the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic’s annual meeting.

The gathering open to the public will unfold at the Columbus Area Visitors Center, 506 Fifth St. in downtown Columbus. Henry Leck, founder and previous artistic director of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir and the Indianapolis Youth Chorale, will be the keynote speaker.

But part of the meeting’s focus will include the professional orchestra’s success with an almost five-year-old Cabaret now averaging 350 people per concert, which is essentially a sellout, according to organizers. Cabaret at The Commons’ Christmas concerts now are averaging 450 people, according to statistics.

David Bowden, the Philharmonic’s music director who coordinates the artists’ schedules during their visits, mentioned that affordable ticket pricing for A-list Broadway talent has accounted for part of the success.

“We have an increasingly loyal following, including a number of patrons who drive to Columbus from out of town to experience these great artists,” Bowden said, realizing that people come from metro areas as far away as Cincinnati. “In a metropolitan area, the ticket prices would be significantly higher.

“However, we have the privilege of keeping our prices lower than other locations for such superb entertainment through the extraordinary generosity of our sponsors. This allows us to cover a portion of the artist’s fees, along with the musicians they bring with them.”

Leaders of The Cabaret in Indianapolis have said multiple times that they are impressed with Columbus’ consistent, smaller city success.

Philharmonic board member Pam Lego was among the originators of the local cabaret idea several years ago — and one who regularly attended shows at The Cabaret in Indianapolis. The local series began as part of a partial, artist-sharing agreement with Indianapolis’ The Cabaret.

Even the first Cabaret at The Commons, with a 400-seat layout, sold out with Columbus native and Broadway performer Mary Claire King. Shortly afterward, after other sellouts and near-sellouts at that capacity, the Philharmonic adjusted shows to a layout of 350 to 400 seats to allow attendees more room.

“We’re trying to find that balance between what attendees feel like is a comfortable space and an intimate one, and yet still allowing us to sell enough tickets to adequately cover expenses,” Lego said.

The last cabaret concert, held on Thursday with Caissie Levy, the lead in Broadway’s “Frozen,” sold out.

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What: Columbus Indiana Philharmonic annual meeting

When: 5 p.m. Monday

Where: The Columbus Area Visitors Center, 506 Fifth St., downtown Columbus

Why: To highlight the success of the last orchestra season, to promote the new one, to highlight Cabaret at The Commons, and more

Information: 812-376-2638 or thecip.org

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