By Denise Allabaugh, Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice
WILKES-BARRE — The F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre has ranked in Pollstar’s list of the top 100 theaters worldwide based on ticket sales for the first half of the year.
Pollstar, the concert tour industry’s primary trade publication, ranked the Kirby Center number 99 in its 2017 mid-year report.
The report showed the Kirby Center sold 39,806 tickets through the first half of 2017, the most it has ever sold during any six-month period.
The achievement marks its highest ranking to date among Pennsylvania-based theaters, trailing only Philadelphia’s Academy of Music at number 81 and Pittsburgh’s Stage AE at number 55. The Kirby Center ranks one spot ahead of the Hershey Theatre at number 100.
“We made a conscious decision a few years ago to step outside of the box and be more aggressive within the market,” said Will Beekman, executive director of the F.M. Kirby Center. “There are so many great venues doing so many great things in this region. We’re just trying to keep up with them.”
This marks the Kirby Center’s second consecutive top-100 mid-year ranking. The Wilkes-Barre venue also ranked 99 halfway through 2016 before finishing the year with its highest year-end ranking of number 109.
The Kirby Center broke into the top-200 listing for the first time in 2015, finishing the year at number 114.
The top three slots on the 2017 mid-year report were Auditorio Nacional in Mexico City, Mexico; Royal Albert Hall in London, and The Axis at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.
The list consists of all theaters that submit their ticket reports to Pollstar, said Anne Rodella, director of sales and marketing for the Kirby Center. Most venues do, but a select few do not, she said.
Some popular shows at the Kirby Center during the first half of the year included Mamma Mia!, Sebastian Maniscalco, Shawn Klush, Brian Wilson and Frankie Valli.
Among the upcoming shows, sibling entertainers Donny and Marie Osmond will bring their summer tour to the Kirby Center on Aug. 24 at 7:30 p.m. Singer Johnny Mathis will perform Nov. 5 at 7:30 p.m. and Night Ranger, Loverboy and Il Divo will perform on Nov. 24 at 8 p.m.
“We are bringing in more shows, larger shows,” Beekman said. “We have reconnected with past promoters, created relationships with new ones, and have partnered with all of them on a large number of events. All in all, I think our relationships with agents, promoters and our media partners are stronger than ever, and we are putting those relationships to good use.”
Other Pennsylvania venues making the list in the top 200 include Keswick Theatre in Glenside at 108; Sands Bethlehem Event Center at 109; Santander Performing Arts Center, Reading at 142; Merriam Theater, Philadelphia at 145; State Theatre for the Arts, Easton at 155, and Benedum Center, Pittsburgh at 173.
The Scranton Cultural Center was not on the list.