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Got tickets? How to find the right theater

I recently bought tickets for “Avenue Q,” a musical I loved on Broadway that's coming to the North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center this month. In the process, I remembered one of my newcomer goofs – showing up 10 minutes before showtime at the wrong theater.

Here's what happened: Back in October 2004, my husband and I had tickets to “The Producers” for our first anniversary of marriage and living in Charlotte. We had a nice dinner right next door to the Blumenthal, but when we showed up an apologetic ticket-taker said we were in the wrong place. The show was at Ovens Auditorium on East Independence Boulevard. We missed the first act.

Nearly four years and several shows later, we haven't repeated that mistake.

If you're new to town and a showgoer, you need to know that the Blumenthal is not just one theater on North Tryon Street. It is a collection of venues large and small uptown. But for some performances it rents out Ovens.

On North Tryon, in the building with the big Blumenthal marquee outside, it is home to the 2,100-seat Belk Theater and 434-seat Booth Playhouse.

Half of Blumenthal's Stanford Broadway Lights Series shows are at the Belk and the other half are at the 2,450-seat Ovens, said Blumenthal President Tom Gabbard. That's because the Blumenthal's resident companies – Opera Carolina, Charlotte Symphony, N.C. Dance Theatre and Carolinas Concert Association – have the Belk practically booked up.

The Blumenthal also runs Spirit Square on North College Street. Spirit Square is a multi-arts facility and rented home to many arts groups, including The Light Factory. Inside are two facilities: McGlohon Theatre and Duke Power Theatre. McGlohon's history and architecture alone make it worth the trip. It opened in 1980 in the former First Baptist Church and features stained-glass windows and a Byzantine dome.

I wanted to share my theater mix-up so other newcomers can make opening curtain. The Blumenthal has also taken extra steps. Since creating CarolinaTix, a regional ticketing company, 18 months ago, Blumenthal has been printing theater street addresses on tickets, Gabbard said. And a few days before showtime, Blumenthal sends ticket holders a “Curtain Up” e-mail with maps to the theater and traffic alerts.

Another thing I learned when buying my “Avenue Q” tickets: The Blumenthal box office is no longer in Founders Hall in the Bank of America Corporate Center. Now it's right inside the Belk Theater, which makes a lot more sense. Gabbard said the move is part of the Blumenthal's recent efforts to embrace North Tryon Street as its front door.

For more info:

www.blumenthal performingartscenter.com.

I recently bought tickets for “Avenue Q,” a musical I loved on Broadway that's coming to the North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center this month. In the process, I remembered one of my newcomer goofs – showing up 10 minutes before showtime at the wrong theater.

Here's what happened: Back in October 2004, my husband and I had tickets to “The Producers” for our first anniversary of marriage and living in Charlotte. We had a nice dinner right next door to the Blumenthal, but when we showed up an apologetic ticket-taker said we were in the wrong place. The show was at Ovens Auditorium on East Independence Boulevard. We missed the first act.

Nearly four years and several shows later, we haven't repeated that mistake.

If you're new to town and a showgoer, you need to know that the Blumenthal is not just one theater on North Tryon Street. It is a collection of venues large and small uptown. But for some performances it rents out Ovens.

On North Tryon, in the building with the big Blumenthal marquee outside, it is home to the 2,100-seat Belk Theater and 434-seat Booth Playhouse.

Half of Blumenthal's Stanford Broadway Lights Series shows are at the Belk and the other half are at the 2,450-seat Ovens, said Blumenthal President Tom Gabbard. That's because the Blumenthal's resident companies – Opera Carolina, Charlotte Symphony, N.C. Dance Theatre and Carolinas Concert Association – have the Belk practically booked up.

The Blumenthal also runs Spirit Square on North College Street. Spirit Square is a multi-arts facility and rented home to many arts groups, including The Light Factory. Inside are two facilities: McGlohon Theatre and Duke Power Theatre. McGlohon's history and architecture alone make it worth the trip. It opened in 1980 in the former First Baptist Church and features stained-glass windows and a Byzantine dome.

I wanted to share my theater mix-up so other newcomers can make opening curtain. The Blumenthal has also taken extra steps. Since creating CarolinaTix, a regional ticketing company, 18 months ago, Blumenthal has been printing theater street addresses on tickets, Gabbard said. And a few days before showtime, Blumenthal sends ticket holders a “Curtain Up” e-mail with maps to the theater and traffic alerts.

Another thing I learned when buying my “Avenue Q” tickets: The Blumenthal box office is no longer in Founders Hall in the Bank of America Corporate Center. Now it's right inside the Belk Theater, which makes a lot more sense. Gabbard said the move is part of the Blumenthal's recent efforts to embrace North Tryon Street as its front door.

For more info:

www.blumenthal performingartscenter.com.

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