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Aug 182011

The Lincoln Amphitheater is setting a different stage this season.
With a smaller budget from the state this year, those involved with the theatre say it's the perfect time to get creative with programming and put those tax dollars to an entertaining use.
It's the last play Lincoln ever saw…for the first time on this stage.
"Our American Cousin," the play Lincoln was watching before his assassination, makes its debut Friday.
It's a new direction for the theater after deciding against a third season for "Lincoln," a play dramatizing Lincoln's young years in Spencer County.
With its high production value, the drama cost the theater about a third of its then $368,000 state budget.
Communications Director Brandi Weyer says although the community supported the play, it didn't generate the attendance…or the revenue they'd hoped for.
"We handled some losses with the play but in general it takes 3 to 4 years to reopen a play, to do a signature piece of this size."
She says the play will return next season…but in a different form.
"A lot of our guest surveys came across that they really enjoyed a lighter and more entertaining play, So we decided to take this year to take the time to revisit the play, rewrite the play into a musical."
The facility will also be putting on shows within a reduced budget.
The state's now contributing $220,000 per season.
"It's a partial funding of the amphitheater and you know as time goes on we promised the state that we would work our way towards self-sufficiency."
A challenge that will require finding new ways to draw newcomers to the theater.
With 1,500 seats, the Lincoln Amphitheater has substantial space.
Theater officials hope that family-oriented productions, movie nights and concerts will fill more of those seats as the season continues.
That season's scheduled to run through October…with the hope that smaller productions will gain applause…as the theater regains its financial footing.
"Our American Cousin" runs from
Friday until August 27th.