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Sue Ann Culp is co-founder and co-owner of AP Theatrical Productions.
By Donald V. Calamia
What is your theater's mission statement?
To provide an enjoyable evening out under one roof including fine dining and quality theater
What are your theater's goals and objectives for the current season?
To expand our audience! Even though we are in our fourth season, many people don't know that we exist.
We formed a new partnership with Baker Lofts Events Center this year (171 E. 24th Street in Holland) and were able to reduce our dinner and show ticket price from $45 to $30. We are now competitive with prices for a dinner, movie and popcorn. We would like people to see us as a more exiting alternative to the normal modes of entertainment. Our show-only tickets were reduced from $20 to $18 making us competitive with local community theaters. We also hire our actors and directors which helps us ensure quality talent.
Our second objective is to attract a wider range of talented performers from the entire lakeshore area, including Muskegon, Grand Haven, South Haven, Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids. Our employees are compensated at $25 per show, not much but it's a professional credit.
Also, affordable dinner shows for kids with maybe pizza and drink that parents would enjoy as well.
What are your theater's long-term goals and objectives?
We would like to find a viable venue to partner with in the Grand Rapids area so that we could take each show and run it in Holland, and then take it to GR. It's challenging to find an appropriate space where we can keep the ticket price competitive, and a venue that is willing to block out three weeks for this event.
We typically run three weekends, but our shows include complete sets, lights, sound etc. It is impossible to take them down and re-construct every weekend as it's about an 18-hour process.
We'd also like to find a partner or two willing to do invest and take on some of the work. This is a lot of work for just two people, and we both have regular day jobs as well.
Very long term, we dream of a space of our own with a restaurant (with singing waiters!) on one side and the theater on the other with a kitchen in the middle. We see it as a destination point for celebrations of all kinds, and it would give us the opportunity to run the shows for longer periods of time.
What makes your theater different from any of the others in Michigan? What is it about you that is unique?
We have the ability to take our shows to different venues - within reason. We can also use shows for fundraising events, private parties, corporate events etc at a very reasonable rate.
Also, since we're a professional company, we don't have to do open auditions. We can audition by invitation and can therefore control the quality of talent, as opposed to normal community theaters.
What is your programming philosophy? What type(s) of shows does your theater produce on its main stage - and why?
We have found that our audiences primarily prefer comedies. After a gourmet meal, most people want to laugh! We also do smaller scale comedic musicals, like Nunsense, and an occasional thriller like Deathtrap.
But for the most part, our audiences want something light and enjoyable that doesn't require too much thinking.
What other types of programming, if any, does your theater offer?
So far, that's it. It would be nice to offer others in the future.
Is your theater an Equity (union) company: No
How does an actor go about arranging an audition? Submit headshot and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 616-772-5697.
Does your theater accept new play submissions? If so, how does a playwright go about submitting a script for your consideration: Yes. Contact us directly at email@example.com or call 616-772-5697
What else should everyone know about your theater, the current season, etc.?
We provide a full evening of entertainment with fine dining and a quality production under one roof. It's a one-stop shop. Our prices our competitive. We can also arrange some special treatments like having the cast sing happy birthday, acknowledging anniversaries etc.
We had one gentleman propose to his fiance on stage after one of our productions. We can be very flexible. Since we're a small company, accommodations can be met easily including food and or special needs.
Theater Name: AP Theatrical Productions - we're a professional dinner theater company that partners with local restaurants and banquet facilities to bring high quality entertainment to the lakeshore.
Business address: 9261 Adams St., Zeeland, MI 49464
Performance address: 171 E. 24th St. Holland, MI 49423
Web address: www.aptheatrical.com
Business phone: 616-772-5697
Business hours of operation: Our office is in our home - we're 24-7!
Box office phone: 616-772-5697
Box office hours of operation: It's in our home - again 24-7!
In what year was your theater established: 2006
Company's founders: Michael and Sue Ann Culp
Current leaders or management team: Michael and Sue Ann Culp are the owners and jacks of all trades! Both act and direct. Michael handles set design and construction, contracts, financial reporting and is the company's attorney; Sue Ann designs and makes all costumes, set decorations, marketing and acts as business and project manager.
Is your theater a non-profit, tax-exempt organization: No
During which months of the year does your season run: October – April
How many main stage productions do you offer each year: 2-3
How many seats does your theater have: Baker Lofts currently seats 120
What type(s) of seating is offered to your patrons: Round tables of eight
In general, what is the price range for your non-discounted main stage tickets? Dinner and show - $30 plus tax and processing; show only - $18 plus tax and processing
Do you offer subscriptions to your main stage season? No
Do you offer discounts to senior citizens (and if so, beginning at what age)? At the newly reduced price, discounts aren't an option for us.
Do you offer discounts to students (and if so, beginning at what age)? No
Do you offer group discount tickets (and if so, what are the details)? We have occasions where a company bought out the entire house for an event. We offered them a discount. Our prices are so competitive now that discounts are really not necessary.
For ticket purchases, does your theater accept personal checks? We do accept checks, but only for large groups that make arrangements two weeks prior to the date they wish to attend.
For ticket purchases, does your theater accept credit or debit cards? Yes.
Can tickets to your shows be purchased online - and if so, how? Log on to www.aptheatrical.com. We process tickets through TicketLeap.
ABOUT SUE ANN CULP
Sue Ann studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, majoring in piano and voice performance with a minor in theater. She has worked with many companies throughout the United States, performing such roles as Anna in The King and I, Abigail Adams in 1776 and Cinderella in Rogers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. She recently appeared in AP's productions of Nunsense, Take a Number, Darling, California Suite and Deathtrap. Also an accomplished musical director and choreographer, she has served in that capacity for such productions as The Wizard of Oz, Pippin, Oliver, Nunsense and A Broadway Christmas Carol. Sue Ann is also an experienced fabric artist and costumer. Originally from Ohio, she met her husband in North Carolina while doing the show Cinderella. She is co-founder and co-owner of AP Theatrical Productions. An experienced development professional, she currently serves as executive director of the Holland Hospital Foundation.
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