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When Bruce Buono and his wife moved from St. Louis to Alexandria last year, he was excited about D.C.’s theatrical offerings. Going through the Warner Theatre‘s Web site, he found a Broadway-based series and paid $570 up front for a pair of season tickets to see the touring productions of shows like The Producers and Sweet Charity.
But Buono and his wife didn’t see a single show. Right before Thanksgiving, the Warner Theatre announced that The Producers, which was supposed to run from Nov. 21 to Nov. 26, had been canceled. At the time, general manager Barrett Newman said ticket holders should contact Ticketmaster for refunds, noting that “the Thanksgiving week proved to be challenging for ticket sales.” In a sympathetic nod to the ticket-holders’ plight, Warner looped some lyrics from The Producers on their telephone line. “Unhappy. Unhappy. Very Unhappy,” the hold message sang.
That was just the beginning. In March, the Washington Post reported that, of the five shows composing the series, none had been produced. Apparently, Baci Management, the Baltimore-based booking agent, had botched the whole program. Worse, ticket holders hadn’t received any refunds. Buono says he has no idea what’s going on with Baci. “I’ve never been ripped off that way…It really soured our mouths.”
As for Baci, it doesn’t look good. The phone line at the company’s Baltimore office has been disconnected. And last week their furniture went up for auction. The trustee listed for Baci by American Auctions & Appraisals Inc., did not return calls for comment.