Long-time donors explain why it’s critical to support Overture Center
Theater enthusiasts Joe and LuAnn Meyers moved to the Madison area more than 20 years ago. Enticed by live performances, they explored their new city by visiting various local theater venues and enjoying a few shows here and there. When Overture Center for the Arts joined the Madison arts scene, the Meyers began making their way downtown more often, relishing Broadway musicals, dramatic plays and assorted single performers.
Within a few years, they were securing tickets as season subscribers and had found their new theater home at Overture Center. The Meyers have supported Overture Center through subscriptions and donations for more than 12 years.
“We especially love the Broadway shows,” said Joe and LuAnn. “Through Cocktails with Tim & Karra, we’ve met several people who travel to New York to see Broadway performances. We appreciate being able to experience Broadway right here in Madison since we can’t be in New York.”
Looking forward to the 2020/21 season, the Meyers had a long list of shows on their wish list. They were planning to see Chris Mann, David Sedaris, One Night of Queen, Second City, Boz Skaggs and What Does the Constitution Mean to Me as well as all seven Broadway shows. But COVID-19 came along and changed the world.
“It’s been interesting to be a part of the conversations with Forward Theater and to watch organization leaders figure out how to bring us theater during the pandemic,” said Joe, who has provided feedback via social media posts and online Zoom-type events on Forward Theater Company’s planning efforts. “They’re taking our feedback and interacting with other organizations to find a way to move forward.”
In the meantime, the Meyers miss their time at Overture.
“Since we don’t live downtown, when we go to a show at Overture, we make a whole afternoon or evening event of it,” they said. “We enjoy a meal on Capitol Square or State Street, then walk around and visit the shops before going to the theater. We miss the sense of the event and the excitement of the people. We really miss going downtown and being a part of this.”
The cast luncheons are one of their favorite events.
“It’s a heck of a fun time to talk with the members of the cast—leads and supporting members—and learn how integral each is to the overall show. It makes you step back and appreciate that not being the lead is just as important as the lead. We’ve learned so much from these conversations with the cast,” said Joe.
Participating in Broadway Club is also a highlight for the Meyers. In addition to Cocktails with Tim & Karra and Cast Luncheons, they’ve toured Overture Center a few times.
“It’s always interesting to see areas of the building you don’t usually get to see—from the mechanical room and backstage to the catwalks and orchestra pit. We enjoy learning the other side of the business—the behind-the-scenes aspect,” they said.
While the Meyers hope to return to the “old normal” after the pandemic, they understand it will be tough, logistically and financially, and it is critical to them to help in times like this and to lay the foundation for coming out on the other end.
“Theater is something we enjoy the most, so we use our donations to help support what we love,” said Joe and LuAnn. “We appreciate how Overture is helping children and minorities access the arts by bringing in busloads of students, hosting art festivals and offering tickets to underserved populations. Overture is so supportive, and we see all the good that comes from this and how many people benefit from it, and we’re proud to be a part of it.”