DPAC, Carolina Theatre try to do right by those storm kept away

dmenconi@newsobserver.comFebruary 14, 2014 

  • ‘Les Miserables’

    “Les Miserables” – the epic, Tony-winning musical adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel – runs through Feb. 23 at Raleigh’s Memorial Auditorium. Tickets are still available.

    For a review of the show, visit newsobserver.com/art-culture.

    For more information, visit nctheatre.com.

  • ‘The Book of Mormon’

    “The Book of Mormon” – the satirical, Tony Award-winning musical from the creators of “South Park,” runs through Feb. 23 at the Durham Performing Arts Center in Durham. All performances are sold out.

    Because of road conditions, The News & Observer’s theater critic was unable to attend Wednesday night’s performance to review the production.

    For more information, visit dpacnc.com.

A day later, there is resolution to Durham Performing Arts Center’s “The Book of Mormon” situation.

In an email sent to ticket-holders for Wednesday night’s sold-out performance, DPAC is offering refunds to ticket-buyers who couldn’t get there because of the winter storm – or tickets for the same seats when the hot touring Broadway musical returns for DPAC’s 2015-16 season.

DPAC management did not respond to requests for comment.

“Considering the circumstances, it is very nice the management has acknowledged the severity of the situation on Wednesday and the need to address their customers in a positive way,” said Donna Beckmann of Durham, one of the affected ticket-holders.

DPAC wasn’t the only Durham venue to find itself in hot water over this week’s icy weather. Also coming under fire was Durham’s Carolina Theatre, which like DPAC had events booked both Wednesday and Thursday nights.

Jazz guitarist Pat Metheny had been scheduled to play the Carolina on Wednesday night. But where DPAC went forward with “The Book of Mormon” to a near-empty house that night, Metheny’s show was canceled and refunds issued.

Thursday’s Carolina Theatre show was soul singer Sharon Jones. When word got out that her show was still on, the Carolina’s Facebook page lit up with angry comments from people who couldn’t get there because of ice-covered roads.

Arguments ensued, and as passions reached an online crescendo late Thursday afternoon, the Carolina posted “A Letter to Angry Fans Concerning the Weather” to explain its decision. Ultimately, about 500 of the 950 ticket-buyers were able to get to Jones’ show.

In response to complaints, the Carolina offered ticket-buyers who couldn’t make it tickets to jazz pianist Jon Batiste’s Friday night show or jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval on March 22.

“Since we put our statement out, the amount of support and understanding has been overwhelming,” said Aaron Bare, chief operating officer of the Carolina. “Some people are still upset, and reasonably so. It’s a difficult situation.”

Menconi: 919-829-4759 or www.newsobserver.com/OnTheBeat

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