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Broadway series to leave Colonial Theatre

Posted by Laura Collins-Hughes  March 2, 2011 06:25 PM

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Something was missing when Broadway Across America - Boston announced its 2011-12 season this week: Not one of the eight scheduled productions is booked to play Emerson College's Colonial Theatre, a longtime venue for the presenter's touring shows.

According to Broadway Across America, its lease on the Boylston Street theater -- due to expire this summer -- has not been renewed by Emerson, which this season launched its own theatrical venture, ArtsEmerson, just around the corner.

"Over a year ago," the presenter said in an e-mailed statement, "Broadway Across America approached Emerson College to begin the renewal process of its long term lease agreement at The Colonial Theatre, which expires August 2011. Unfortunately, we were informed by Emerson College at that time that other tenants were being considered to occupy The Colonial Theatre and a new lease was not offered."

Queried by the Globe, Emerson declined to say whether it was seeking new tenants or intended to use the theater for ArtsEmerson programming.

"Our plans are not firm enough yet to share publicly," Carole McFall, the college's director of media relations, wrote in an e-mail, "but Emerson's committed to offering exciting theatrical and other performances in the Colonial next year."

The presenting organization, which called the Colonial "a theatrical treasure" that "has been an important cornerstone of the Broadway Across America family for over a decade," said it had put off assembling its season amid the uncertainty.

"Although we remained hopeful, programming for the 2011-2012 Broadway Across America - Boston season had been delayed for as long as possible," its statement said. "Emerson College could not ensure a lease before the show scheduling deadlines, and it became necessary to pursue other options in order to secure the best shows for our patrons."

Six of next season's musicals will play at the Boston Opera House, the other two at the Citi Performing Arts Center Shubert Theatre.

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