Ocean City Today

OC gives Brown Box backing for PAC performance in May

By Greg Ellison | Mar 22, 2018

(March 23, 2018) Searching for marketing bait to lure in what it sees as a more cultured clientele, Ocean City will invest $5,000 to promote Brown Box Theatre Project’s first production at the Performing Arts Center in the convention center this spring.

Donna Abbott, tourism and marketing director, told the City Council Monday the state would likely refund its financial support for Brown Box’s “Broadway Jukebox,” an evening of musical cabaret, on May 23 at 8 p.m.

“The Tourism Commission did give a favorable recommendation … to consider a $5,000 marketing budget for this performance,” she said. “That would be included in my annual request to the state for reimbursement … for our tourism grant.”

During the Tourism Commission March 12 meeting, Convention Center Director Larry Noccolino said about 230 tickets would need to be sold at $15 each to cover the $3,500 performance cost.

Regardless of reaching break-even points in the short term, Abbott said the goal is future return on investment.

“We’re trying to plant a seed here to get more cultural [and] theater events at the convention center and the Performing Arts Center,” she said.

The marketing strategy would be developed with the theater company’s artistic director, Abbott said.

“Those will be [media] buys that we’ll make based on feedback from Kyler Taustin at Brown Box,” she said.

Susan Jones, Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association executive director, is working on overnight package deals to assist the marketing campaign, Abbott said.

Councilman John Gehrig, who had echoed Abbott’s analogy about sowing seeds at the earlier Tourism Commission meeting, agreed the ground appears fertile.

“We just need to plant seeds all around, water them and see what grows to … help benefit the new dynamic in arts and cultural tourism going forward,” he said.

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