Driving by the Robinson Grand Performing Arts Center on West Pike Street in Clarksburg, passersby will always notice the marquis promoting the most current movie or scheduled entertainment, and it is becoming quite typical to see “SOLD OUT” in neon lights as well.
By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
While people in the area seemed to relish The Robinson Grand Performing Arts Center bringing entertainment opportunities to the local area, many were at first a little skeptical of the lineup including numerous movie screenings. However, the support for the movies has been phenomenal!
According to RGPAC Sales & Marketing Manager Emily Moore, nearly every movie shown there in the past couple of months has been a sellout!
“Patrons really flocked to our showings of The Polar Express, White Christmas, and Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone in recent months, and many patrons expressed their regret at not being able to get tickets!” Moore reported. “General admission seating filled the theater to capacity with patrons lining up as early as two hours prior to the start of the movies … even in adverse weather. As the doors opened, more lines formed inside for concessions too, and it was often hard to handle such a large wave all at once.”
Although having sellout crowds is a good problem to have, it has also forced RGPAC execs to take a look at perhaps a better way to handle it. So, a change is in the offing.
“We are excited to announce reserved seating for all of our newly added movies. This change will help make patron seating much easier and allow each guest to select their seat ahead of time,” stated Ryan Tolley, Executive Director. “Reserved seating will eliminate the need for such early arrivals and long wait lines prior to the doors opening.”
This change, however, will result in a slight ticket price hike, but it will be very minimal – increasing only from $6.50 to $7.00 per ticket.
Operations Manager Bobby Rexroad added, “We have observed a much better pace at our concessions during events with reserved seating. When patrons know their seats are saved, they’re free to get refreshments at their leisure as opposed to coming in and heading straight for concessions.”
The move to reserved seating will not affect RGPAC’s pre-show interaction and specialty offerings that have been customized to each event. At this past Sunday’s matinee showing of Disney’s Frozen, guests were still treated to a Princess Meet & Greet including photo opportunities and ‘princess hugs’! The 1939 epic film Gone with the Wind, that will be shown at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 10th, is also sold out and it, too, will offer a Character Meet & Greet with Scarlett O’Hara. That will be the theatre’s final general admission movie screening for 2019. From that point forward, all films will be reserved seating.
Moore continued with some other exciting news, saying that the tremendous success of the first Harry Potter movie has led to expanding to showings of the entire original Potter collection.
“Potter fans can expect way more butterbeer and other pre-show interactions that will vary from event to event,” she stated. “We’ve spread them out on our calendar to give our audiences a little time in between films and make a real series out of it.”
Other upcoming movie screenings will include Fences starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis (who won both an Oscar and a Golden Globe for her role), which will be shown on Friday, Feb. 22nd at 7 p.m. This was chosen particularly to coincide with Black History Month. AND, on Sunday, April 14th at 3 p.m., The Ten Commandments will be shown at RGPAC. Starring Charlton Heston, this 1956 film is the sixth highest grossing film of all time in the U.S. and Canada, and will complement the celebration of the Easter holiday.
Purchase your tickets for these historic movies by visiting tickets.therobinsongrand.com or purchase tickets over the phone by calling (855) 773-6283, M-F from 10 a.m. until 11 p.m.