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Field Trip: Palace Theater, Manchester, NH

palace with arrow

Photo courtesy LHAT website, with my additions.

Once in a while, I get to crawl out of the depths of my theater and my city and take a trip to see how the other half lives. Recently, on a trip to New Hampshire to visit family, I was treated to a trip to see the opening night of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Manchester’s historic Palace Theatre, located at 80 Hanover Street.

This was quite the treat for me. I had been in attendance at the San Diego conference in 2012 where the Palace from the Outstanding Historic Theater award from the League of Historic American Theatres (a great professional organization, by the way); I had been jonesing to see it ever since. Relatedly, being able to watch a show, that I don’t have to do anything for, incognito, so to speak, is always delightful. No (or at least, less) stress, no professional cringing at technical issues, no worries about overly long concession lines, no need to address bathroom backups. None of the myriad “emergencies” that present themselves when dramatic people, and the people who love them, get together for a show.I was in working-vacation heaven.


The lovely LHAT statuette, designed by EverGreene Architectural Arts.

There is a lot to like about the Palace. The Will Call line was fast-moving and efficiently clerked, the lobbies were spacious and allowed for a free flow of traffic. They had a rather nice piece of donor wall-art, created with different-sized plates indicating donor levels. Other sponsors were alternated on the curtain before the show and listed in the program, some with topical and attractive program ads. The brochures and flyers that were available were attractively designed. Once inside the theater, the number of seats and size of the auditorium gave a cozy feel that lends itself well to seeing live theater. Our seats were in the third row, house left, and were well-spaced and comfortable. The complimentary beverage, and pre-orders taken by a friendly server, were a nice touch and made us feel special. They also saved us from standing in line at intermission! Certain tickets carry these perks.

The show was very well done. The performers were enthusiastic, energetic and talented, and the cast was peppered with some great dancers and singers, including a very young break dancer! The band of brothers were very funny and stole the show, and the audience enjoyed it thoroughly.

It was nice, as always, to see such a lovely historic space nestled comfortably into a thriving downtown area, and the Palace was located on a street with lighted trees and storefront shops. I would definitely visit again in the future. Kudos to everyone at the Palace—keep up the good work!

I’d love to hear about your travels to other venues and organizations. Feel free to contact me or share them below!


Tool Box: The Arts Index

tool boxWhile I would love to tell you that I sprang full-grown from the foam of the artistic sea, I actually earned my degree in geology and English Composition. Part of that research scientist nerdiness is still with me, however, and development research makes me drool a little. Ok, a lot.

So when The Arts Index (a project of Americans for the Arts) came to my attention, I was super stoked. Not only was it a research project, but its data is readily useable by those who need it. (As much as I love research, I admit that getting relevant findings to the public in a useable way is often an issue.)

Read on for more about this tool…