Chas Pridgen will now be working directly with patrons and ticketing clients as The Grand’s Director of Patron Services and Rentals. A native of Broxton, GA, he graduated from Mercer University studying journalism and theatre and as a talented vocalist, has even sung on The Grand stage before during our Cabaret Concert Series and Bite-Sized Broadway. Say hi to Chas in the lobby the next time you come to The Grand!
We asked Chas a few questions to get to know him better:
What drew you to The Grand?
I’ve really respected and appreciated The Grand Opera House’s recent efforts to make the arts accessible for a broader audience using intentional ways to reach people with community engagement programming. I know, because I’ve been a part of it myself!
When I was a student at Mercer, I saw The Nutcracker and realized it was the first access point for many children to see a live show, and such a strong tradition for families. To see the wonder that children have for the magic of theatre for the first time put a smile on my face. I look forward to getting to know the team behind efforts like this!
On the opposite end, I also attended a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The energy of the raucous crowd and diversity showed me how versatile the venue is, and how many different types of culture fit within it! (Editor’s Note: Check out our $5 film series!)
I got more involved as a volunteer when Julia asked me to be on the Artist Council for the first Macon Art eXplosion (MAX). Hanging out over the weekend at MAX, I got more of an inside look into helping patrons, and I especially enjoyed meeting people who had never been to The Grand before. This showed me that I could help other people discover the experiences I’ve had as an artist and audience member, and help The Grand in creating a dynamic community space. I’m excited to be more involved with organizing MAX this year!
What show are you most looking forward to?
I’m very excited for the Macon-Mercer Symphony Orchestra. I’ve wanted to see symphony music forever and even had subscriptions as a patron to use at other venues, but I really don’t have the opportunity to drive really far to see one. Having a symphony in Macon makes it so convenient to see high-quality music.
What is your favorite part about working with patrons?
I like being able to help ease them into their experience. What I hope I can do is to provide a comforting “transition zone” from the troubles people might have out in the world on the street before they come in, to the point where they can relax and enjoy getting immersed into a show. When a patron has a good experience getting their tickets and getting through the lobby, they will have a better time focusing on the music or listening to a speaker.
The Grand is known as the home of Broadway in Central Georgia. What’s your favorite musical?
For a theatre major like me, this is such a controversial question! I’ll give a three-way tie between Songs for a New World, Company, or Parade. But I am not a major fan of the current Company revival! I think all three of these shows still have a lot of relevance to the times we are going through now with the pandemic – changing relationship mores, the great cost of prejudices, and a “new world” that we can create together with optimism and hope.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Since I spend so much time with people during the day working in customer service roles and as a performer, I like to isolate a little more on my time off. So I like to play video games and watch Netflix at home to try to unwind.