Don’t be surprised if you are soon bombarded with ads for a production of “Les Miserables.” The play, however, isn’t coming to town. It isn’t even coming to Idaho; it’s being produced by the Pioneer Theatre Company in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Last year, the company purchased out-of-state advertisements for this spring’s production of the longest-running musical and saw a great response from Idaho theater lovers. Now that the play is being extended, the company is again hitting up Idahoans with the help of a Utah Board of Tourism Development grant.
This time, the Utah Board of Tourism Development approved on Wednesday a matching grant of $7,500 for advertising.
“We always highlight a lot of our state’s recreational activities. This is an opportunity to show culturally what we have,” Leigh von der Esch, managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism told the Salt Lake Tribune. “The board is interested in showing not only what you can see in Utah but also what you can do. Arts and culture play a big part of that.”
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the company received $35,000 last September from the Tourism Board to promote the show in Boise, Idaho Falls, Twin Falls, and Las Vegas. The company also fronted $35,000 of their own for advertising campaigns.
The operative in Las Vegas didn’t go so well, but the results in the Gem State were a hit. Turns out a lot of Idahoans were interested not only in the musical adapted from the Victor Hugo novel set during the French Revolution, but they were also down with a weekend getaway to the southern neighbor state.
On weekend getaways in SLC, Idahoans are likely to stay at hotels, eat out, shop, and generally supplement Utah commerce, so the Tourism Board had no problem endorsing the request to help fund a second round of advertisements in Idaho cities.
“We had a good return on investment from this,” Von der Esch said. “Regional theater is very important around the country.”
The Pioneer Theatre’s production opens April 27 and will run through mid-June.