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Q & A with Megan Flanagan

BY DI STAFF | SEPTEMBER 15, 2011 7:20 AM

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The DI sat down with Megan Flanagan, the managing director of the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts, to talk about how the show is running during the opening months of production.

DI: How was the opening weekend for Hairspray?

Megan Flanagan: You know, the weekend went really well. We had three full houses. We had two sellouts and then the Sunday showing, and I think we had maybe had 20 open seats. There was really a lot of energy in the building. The audiences were really enthusiastic and appreciative and seemed really to have good experiences. Our actors had wonderful experiences. The actor who played Edna, he said one of the best feelings in his life was walking out on stage for his first entrance and having 500 people laughing when he was doing nothing more than standing behind an ironing board.

DI: Do you expect future shows to be this successful?

Flanagan: We're obviously hoping. We know this weekend will be similar. We're selling tickets really, really quickly for the remaining four performances of Hairspray. Actually, our box office is a little overwhelmed. So we're desperately trying to keep up with the phone calls. We're adding phones; we're adding people answering phones and adding a box office position to help us keep up with the demand.

DI: What's your role on an everyday basis at the center?

Flanagan: Really anything that needs to be done. Working with a small staff like we have, that's basically the way it works. I might be picking up the vacuum one day and stocking toilet paper in the bathrooms, which is not the glamorous part of the job. But that balances with [other things]. I also get to give a lot of tours with community groups or go and chat with different organizations to tell them what we're doing and sort of be a vocal presence in the community. We just want to make sure people know about the theater and what we do. That's the fun part of it, too, being able to get out in the community and talk to people.

DI: You were a manager in Chicago. What made you take the managing director position here?

Flanagan: It was a great professional opportunity to manage a brand-new, really well-designed, and well-thought-out theater, so that was fun. And then also I liked the mission of the stage — the idea that this was a theater that was being built for communities. That was really about rather than being a producer or presenter, what we're about is providing access to performance space for the talented groups and individuals that are found right here in our community. So it's for the community theaters, community music groups, local business. That's really the thrust of what we're trying to do.

DI: What's the feeling when a 10-year plan has come to fruition?

Flanagan: It's really exciting, and it's great. About two weeks ago we did a weekend full of opening events and that was really fun we had some special events for special donors and a few sponsors that made the facility possible. We also did an open house Aug. 27, where we had about six hundred to seven hundred people come in and just explore the facility and see what we're doing that was fun for people to get in and finally see it.

— by Madison Bennett


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