By Lisa Nho SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Groundbreaking construction of Syracuse’s largest theater began nearly 90 years ago. Eight stories tall and with 3,000 seats, the Landmark Theatre was built with the intention of leaving a historical and cultural impact on the local community. Support from the community has stayed strong through all of the ups and downs. To improve the conditions of the building, theater management decided to approve a $16 million renovation which took a full year. However, the theater had significant decreases in finances, leading to a period of financial trouble.
“In all the times I’ve been here, we’ve always had financial trouble,” said Danielle Bianco, Special Events & Company Manager. “But for the past few years, it was extremely hard for all of us since we didn’t have enough funds to host the best shows.”
Declines in funding and inefficient management gave way for increasing debt, multiple operational damages, and a $16,000 embezzlement by a former employee. Thankfully, this year the Landmark Theatre has witnessed positive trends in its finances. This, in turn, allows for famous national shows like Wicked and The Lion King to be a part of the theater’s schedule.
The theater’s income grew by $490,000 from 2015 to 2016 and increases like this are expected for the next few years at the least. Ticket sales have also increased: in one year, attendance for events with tickets grew more than 200,000. Bianco could not help but smile as she talked about this uphill battle.
“It’s truly amazing to know that now we can have shows from Broadway come to this city and entertain the public,” said Bianco.
Bianco has been working for the theater for the past 16 years and thinks to continue working for the team in the future. The historical architecture and cultural implications that the theater gives motivates her to wake up every morning, drive her way to the building, and serve the arts community.
The employees are not the only ones who believe in the importance of the Landmark Theatre. A Cortland native – who did not wish to disclose his name – explained how the positive trends are a good sign for the fans of the arts, especially of musical performances.
“Art promotes creativity and imagination. That’s why bad funding or no funding is detrimental for the public. Everyone needs art,” said the Cortland man with a defeated look on his face.
What makes both the community members and the Landmark Theatre employees happy is the wish that increases in finances and support will continue to thrive over the next several years. Bianco and other employees encourage the community to support the arts by purchasing tickets for shows at the theaters around them or by simply volunteering.