wta prepares for second season at the gateway
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WTA prepares for second season at the Gateway

The Sept. 7 debut of the River City Boys Jamboree will kick off the second season at the WTA’s Gateway.

The 2012-2013 season gets a kickstart from a surprisingly strong August that saw the Gateway average just under 100 patrons a night during what is normally considered downtime in the live-arts industry.

And yet Wayne Theatre Alliance executive director Clair Myers knows that there is still much work to be done to build on the early successes as the nonprofit looks to the future with a refurbished Wayne Theatre to fill on a nightly basis.

“I still hear people say, The Gateway? What’s that?” Myers said.

Which is precisely why the WTA Board of Directors wanted to open the Gateway in the first place. The thinking was that the organization needed to have the experience of programming ahead of the opening of the Wayne Theatre.

The River City Boys Jamboree is a new signature show for the 2012-2013 season, which will also see the addition of a jazz series and a family-themed children’s show added to the monthly schedule to go along with staples like Open Mic Night, the Richard Adams Variety Show, Mojo Saturday Night and the show that started it all, the River City Radio Hour, now in its sixth season.

“What we’re doing is running a business. That’s what this amounts to. And one that hasn’t been run here for a long time,” Myers said.

The early returns for the new business bode well for a strong future downtown.

“If you just walk down the street on a weekend, and you see the number of cars, and reflect on what it used to be downtown on Friday and Saturday night, you can see the impact that we’re having on local businesses like the restaurants that are here,” Myers said.

Myers looks forward to the day that he hopes is soon when the WTA can announce the next big step in the Alliance’s future. The board and staff are awaiting word on final approval of a $6.3 million construction loan that will allow substantial work on the Wayne Theatre to get under way.

“We are, I think, pretty close,” Myers said.

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