Entertainment

'Beatlemania' almost didn't happen this year. Now the concert is back, but it's not free

The Downtown State College Improvement District has hosted the "Cast" of Beatlemania for free on Old Main lawn for years. On Aug. 7, the show will be held at The State Theatre and concertgoers will pay admission.
The Downtown State College Improvement District has hosted the "Cast" of Beatlemania for free on Old Main lawn for years. On Aug. 7, the show will be held at The State Theatre and concertgoers will pay admission. Centre Daily Times, file

The "Cast" of Beatlemania is returning to State College with all of the songs you love and a price bump you might learn to tolerate.

First things first: the "Cast" of Beatlemania — the tour group based on a popular Broadway musical based on a popular 1960s British rock band — has visited Centre County many times, usually on the lawn of Old Main and usually free of charge. The streak will continue at 8 p.m. on Aug. 7, with a few a minor adjustments.

There are still four Beatles, they'll just be crooning from the stage at The State Theatre, where audiences will have to pay $12.50 a ticket. You could always purchase your ticket a few days ahead of time at web.ovationtix.com/trs/pe/10309303 and then just pretend like you're getting in for free, but it's probably not the same.

At times like these it's worth remembering that in some communities, kids don't even have a "Beatlemania" — as was almost the case for State College this year.

When Rob Schmidt took over as the new executive director of the Downtown State College Improvement District in April, the event had been stricken from the budget. He led the charge to put Beatlemania back in the calendar for reasons that ranged from the practical —Schmidt estimates that last summer's performance attracted close to 4,000 people — to that delirious condition know as, well, Beatlemania.

"I'll selfishly say I'm a huge fan. I know every song and I have every album," Schmidt said.

Timing and budgetary constraints prevented the concert from taking its regular spot at Old Main. It was either The State Theatre or no Beatlemania at all. The DSCID worked with the venue to try and arrive at a reasonable ticket price.

Schmidt is looking on the bright side — the roof overhead means that rain can't pose much of a threat and the new surroundings might contribute to a new experience for regular concertgoers. He's also not ruling out a return to the great outdoors in summers to come.

"There's a good chance we'll be back on Old Main lawn," Schmidt said.

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