For the first time in 28 years, Kathy Doyle isn’t in charge of Monday Musical Club.
Her last day as office manager of the concert series at Stambaugh Auditorium came last week.
After nearly three decades, Doyle was ready to hand the baton to someone else.
But she saw a lot during her long tenure with MMC, including the ever-tightening squeeze on the live-entertainment promoter. Pelted by a tough economy, changing consumer tastes, the opening of new venues in town and the sudden ubiquity of electronic platforms, the days of sold-out houses has turned into a time of uncertainty.
When Doyle started all those years ago, MMC presented eight shows each season. That number has steadily dwindled and now stands at three.
Artist fees have become much more expensive. And the fixed costs — stagehands, transportation, office maintenance — also have steadily risen.
“We can’t charge enough per ticket to make money,” said Doyle.
In the early part of Doyle’s tenure, the MMC was the only game in town, and it booked great stars such as Tony Bennett and Glen Campbell. Before that, it was even bigger, with the likes of Glen Miller Orchestra, Fred Waring and Mantovani making regular stops at the Fifth Avenue hall. Those shows routinely would fill all 2,500 seats, with standing-room tickets being sold.
In recent years, attendance has struggled to hit 1,000.
The entertainment field is more fractured today, and finding stars who cut across all social strata is nearly impossible, Doyle noted.
Some successes of the past decade of MMC shows include Rockapella, Lovin’ Spoonful, Marie Osmond, Vickie Lawrence, Frankie Avalon, Ben Vereen, Art Garfunkel, Olivia Newton-John, Tony Orlando and The Fifth Dimension.
Monday Musical Club has been in Youngstown for 115 years. It actually predates Stambaugh Auditorium by several decades.
It will move forward with Laurie Antunez, assistant manager of MMC, at the helm. Antunez is filling in as interim manager until the board finds a permanent replacement.
WAGERING ON HORSES RETURNS TO COLUMBIANA FAIR
Betting on the horses will return to the Columbiana County Fair this summer after an absence of several years.
The fair board recently approved an agreement with Racing Technologies Co. of Cardington, Ohio, to provide pari-mutuel personnel, equipment and tote boards for the traditional two-day harness-racing event (July 30 and 31 this year).
The fair, established in 1845 in Lisbon, will run from July 30 to Aug. 5.
BUTLER MASTERPIECES DRAW A CROWD IN FLORIDA
Florida may have the sunshine, but folks there have to pay to see the great works of art that Youngstowners can enjoy for free.
The Boca Raton Museum of Art is hosting an exhibition of 40 masterpieces from the Butler Institute of American Art’s impressive collection, and it’s drawing crowds of paying customers at $14 a pop. Admission to the Butler, of course, is free.
Included in the exhibition are “The Oregon Trail” by Albert Bierstadt, “September Wind and Rain” by Charles Burchfield, “House in Charleston SC” by Edward Hopper, “Cottonwood III” by Georgia O’Keeffe, “Silver and Black” by Jackson Pollock, “Portrait of Paul Jenkins” by Andy Warhol and “Cowbirds” by Andrew Wyeth.
Butler Director Louis A. Zona will visit the Boca Raton museum to speak on the collection — and yes, they are selling tickets to that, too.