Members who donated $1,000 or more to The Smith Center, a nonprofit organization, were invited to an exclusive, behind-the-scenes experience this September with Broadway smash “Wicked,” which included rare backstage glimpses usually enjoyed by just the cast and crew.
Members had the opportunity to watch the show’s elaborate load-in process, during which professionals from the tour and The Smith Center unloaded and prepared the production’s vast set pieces, ornate costumes and dazzling special effects. This musical garners widespread acclaim for its large-scale props and scenery — such as the enormous Dragon Clock and the immense, mechanical Oz head — which the national tour requires 13 semitrucks to transport.
“I had so much fun,” says Smith Center Member Kathy Fox of the load-in experience. “None of us knew what to expect, and it seems most were ready to be outside watching the trucks drive up and unload. Little did we know that we would be comfy cozy, watching the set come in onstage.”
The Wicked company manager also conducted a special Q-and-A session with Members at the event, where he gave the full scoop on the challenges, thrills and day-to-day surprises of operating a national Broadway tour.
“He answered all our questions, shared great stories regarding all aspects of the show, and it was just a pleasure being there,” Fox adds.
Members also enjoyed a catered “Wicked”-themed lunch, and even listened to firsthand accounts from Myron Martin, Smith Center president and CEO, about presenting “Wicked” as the center’s first Broadway production in 2012.
All of this reminded Fox of how much she enjoys the production — to the point that after the event, “I caved and went straight to the box office and bought a ticket to see the show for the third time.”
This special event marked one of many exclusive, behind-the-scenes experiences provided only to Smith Center Members.
Just a few additional past events for Members of select contribution levels have included special meet-and-greets with top performers like Kenny G, and the casts of Broadway shows such as Dear Evan Hansen.
Members also receive many additional benefits for supporting The Smith Center, which can include opportunities to purchase tickets for select shows before the general public, backstage tours, discounts at The Smith Center’s restaurant and retail partners, and more, depending on the contribution level.
“Being a Member gives community members the chance to experience The Smith Center and all of its theater magic on a deeper level,” says Steven Alfonso, Smith Center donor concierge.
Members also help The Smith Center serve the community as Southern Nevada’s Heart of the Arts.
With ticket sales covering 75 percent of The Smith Center’s operating costs, the nonprofit relies on philanthropic support to provide the rest.
Contributions to The Smith Center help support its education and outreach initiatives that have impacted over 700,000 students and teachers, most at no cost to schools. These include presenting student matinees in the center’s theaters, providing workshops and master classes for students with top performers, helping elementary schools create sustainable theater programs and more.
Member support also helps The Smith Center present hundreds of music, theater and dance shows throughout the year at accessible prices. Their contributions even help maintain the center’s campus.
“While Members enjoy many benefits like these special events, they are also providing a tremendous gift by helping make the performing arts accessible to all Southern Nevadans,” Alfonso says. “Members play a truly important role with The Smith Center.”
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