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Friday, Dec 15, 2017
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Ruth Eckerd Hall scores another record-breaking year, gears up for another

CLEARWATER — Since establishing itself in the 1980s as a key player in the Tampa Bay performing arts scene, Ruth Eckerd Hall has staked out a niche with popular music, jazz and hit musicals. That formula appears to be working.

The venue Thursday announced record-breaking ticket sales for the second consecutive year, or $18.4 million for the year ending Sept. 30, 2017. That's up more than $1.5 million from 2015-16, the previous record.

The hall will continue to expand in programming and new construction, president and chief executive officer Zev Buffman said in a prepared statement. More than a quarter-million customers attended 414 concerts, 88 of which sold out. Those kinds of figures, the hall said, are part of the reason Ruth Eckerd was rated fourth nationally by Pollstar, a trade publication, among venues seating 2,500 or less; and 10th in the country by Venues Today among those accommodating between 2,001 and 5,000.

The news comes as a busy fall season gains momentum. For Ruth Eckerd Hall, that starts with sponsoring events such as the Clearwater Jazz Holiday, featuring the likes of the Temptations and the Four Tops (Oct. 19), and Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald (Oct. 21). Many enduring performers will be coming through town soon, including Johnny Mathis (Jan. 12), the Moody Blues (Jan. 13), Jackson Browne (Jan. 18) and Diana Krall (Jan. 30).

For club venues in Florida, Pollstar gave its highest rating to the Capitol Theatre, Ruth Eckerd's downtown Clearwater property. Returning acts include David Crosby (Dec. 9), Art Garfunkel (Jan. 12-13), and George Benson (Feb. 20). The Capitol has also recently added the Henry Rollins Travel Slideshow (Jan 2), Musical Thrones — A Game of Thrones Parody (Jan. 20), Bela Fleck and the Flecktone Trio (Feb. 7), and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes (Feb. 9).

Contact Andrew Meacham at ameacham@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2248. Follow @torch437.

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