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Free theater

One of the biggest worries/complaints for any theater's artistic director is that audiences tend to be on the "mature" side.  Call it the graying of the audience, the erosion of the audience, whatever: It spells trouble for the future of theater.

Richard_jay_simon Mosaic Theatre artistic director Richard Jay Simon grapples with this, as do most of his South Florida peers.  They are thankful for and indebted to their older, loyal audience members, but they necessarily worry about who will fill those seats in years to come.

Simon would like to see more 25- to 40-year-olds in his Plantation theater, and he had an inspired idea about how to get them there:  free plays.

In a program he's calling "Triple Play," Simon is offering free tickets to each of the final three shows of Mosaic's season to the first 100 people in the targeted age range to request them.  That's a free pass to see John Patrick Shanley's Dirty Story Feb. 28-March 23, Lee Blessing's A Body of Water May 8-June 1 and Neil LaBute's Wrecks June 12-29.  Simon estimates the experiment will cost $10,000 in lost revenue.  But if the folks who sample Mosaic's work like what they see and return as paying customers, it may be a smart gamble.

As Simon says:  "Let's hope...it's a successful program, as it might serve as a national model. Can't be afraid to fail!"

The 100 freebies will probably go very fast, but if you're 25 to 40 and interested, contact Simon.  It's a bold idea, and a promising one.

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