Expecting a tax refund this year? Here’s an investment tip: A bunch of local theaters have just announced their coming seasons, so you could use the IRS windfall to buy theater subscriptions for 2014-2015.
Here’s the thing about subscribing to live theater: It’s cheaper than purchasing individual seats, and you’ll have months to make pre-show dinner reservations and hire a sitter, thereby ensuring that date night will be much less stressful when it finally rolls around. Plus, when showtime comes your spouse can’t beg off by claiming that a cultural outing isn’t in the budget: You’ve already paid for the tickets! Thank you, Uncle Sam.
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company offers the simplest of all subscriptions: For $233 you get a packet of seven “flexible” tickets to redeem for any show, in any combination. Show up for each of the seven productions alone, or take six of your Jane Austin-loving friends to see Emma, or whatever works for you. This year the season kicks off with Cyrano de Bergerac in September, with crowd-pleaser Jeremy Dubin as the man with the big honker.
The way to save money at Cincinnati Playhouse is to subscribe to preview performances; that way, you’ll be able to nail down seats for the five-show Marx or Shelterhouse series for under $300. Remember that having a subscription ensures you’ll get to see shows that are sell-outs, and odds are the Playhouse will have a couple in the coming season. You can pretty well bet that Theresa Rebeck’s hysterical Bad Dates will be a hot ticket; the playwright’s a local favorite. Ditto the Marx productions of To Kill a Mockingbird and Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing. The later was created by the same team that did Fly, a huge hit here a couple seasons ago. And the former will attract a gazillion high school students desperate to complete their book reports.
Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati—which has a very loyal fan base—has not announced its season yet. But the box office will be happy to take your money and sell you a subscription right now. That’s trust.
Finally, the College Conservatory of Music has announced its mainstage season, and it sounds fantastic. On the lineup, among other productions, are Green Day’s in-your-face indie-rock musical American Idiot and Franz Lehar’s bubbly 19th century operetta The Merry Widow. Gotta love that combo. CCM’s popular mainstage productions have a way of selling out fast—a good reason to subscribe. But, infuriatingly, subs don’t go on sale until some as-yet-undisclosed date in the summer. Sign up for the department’s newsletter and, fingers crossed, they’ll let you know when. You may have to bank that IRS check after all.