Saturday night I finally made it to the renovated LCP space, which has been dubbed LCP Underground.
I've been very impressed with the choices that LCP has been making this year and the creativity and passion they've poured into reinventing the organization. It's not an easy route to take and it is one fraught with risks.
Lansing Civic Players is the oldest theatrical organization in the area. They have a rich history and loyal audiences. Those two factors, though, are not enough to keep an organization out of bankruptcy or to keep it thriving in a changing world. They were known for doing standards--shows that demanded little risk-taking, but which gave local actors the chance to perform in cherished, iconic roles. There is great value in that for a community theater.
What they are doing now appears to many like a 180-degree turn. They canceled their mainstage season in favor of intimate, interactive shows that can be performed in the space that they have long owned. While they cannot fit as many people into the space, neither do they have to pay rent or any of the expenses associated with moving a production into a space.
Nor are they simply trying to do the same thing in a different space. They are re-thinking themselves and offering a different fare to a different audience. They're trying things that may or may not work. They're also putting a lot of effort into trying to communicate what they are doing and in making themselves accessible.
Succeed or fail, I applaud Lansing Civic Players for taking actions that have transformed them from the staid, tried-and-true organization to the one taking the most daring risks and creative experiments in our community.