IRONWOOD - The Historic Ironwood Theatre is heading into 2014 with a fully redesigned website and a performance schedule with a wide variety of events.
The website redesign comes after the site was hacked in late November and appeared to present a security risk, HIT managing director Bruce Greenhill said. "Rest assured, that risk no longer exists," he said. "The old site is gone and the new site has a fresh look and feel, is easier to navigate and provides lots more information than before."
New features include a slideshow featuring photos and information on upcoming events on the main page, information on past performances and easy-to-find links to purchase tickets. Greenhill said one of his favorite additions to the website is a collection of photo galleries showing the theater facilities including the proscenium murals, the Barton organ and restoration work. He said the galleries will be expanded.
Greenhill said his favorite part of the new site is the appearance and its color scheme. "The colors are consistent with our Ironwood marquee sign," he said. It was done deliberately to play up the sign "since it's such an icon," he said.
Though the new site launched last week, it will continue to be expanded. Greenhill said they plan to post more information so donors can see how their money is spent, including copies of tax forms, "to make the whole operation more transparent."
He encouraged theater patrons to visit the site at ironwoodtheatre.net and share their thoughts "so the site can continue to evolve and improve."
Greenhill said he's very excited for the upcoming season and its variety of shows. "It's a great mix ... from stars of music and dance," he said. "I think there's a whole lot of good things going on."
Scheduled performances include bands, a performance by the local community high school drama club, a dance performance and an organ concert on the Barton organ. The theater tries to offer about two shows per month on average and draw attendees from a larger area, from Ashland, Park Falls, Minocqua and Iron River, all in Wisconsin.
"We're always working on things," Greenhill said. "We have a hardworking program committee that I think does a great job of seeking out and securing acts to perform here.
"We're always looking for input from the community," he said. "If there's something they'd like to see here, or something we previously had they'd like to bring back."
Favorite annual shows will be back, including the fourth annual HIT Idol contest, the Prairie Fire Children's Theatre (performing "Alice in Wonderland"), Ironwood Dance Company recitals, the Lowell Street Band, Blue Canvas Orchestra and more silent movies accompanied by the Rev. Andrew Rogers from Michigan Theatre in Ann Arbor playing the organ. A mini independent film festival and "a surprise or two" are also in the works, Greenhill said.
Greenhill said the theater is very grateful for the support it receives from the community. "I'd like to start the new year with a hearty and heartfelt shout out to everyone in the Gogebic Range and northern Wisconsin who attends theater events. Thank you for helping us do what we do."
The theater is a volunteer-run operation and always has room for more helping hands. "If you want to be a part of the HIT family, we're always looking for volunteers to get involved," Greenhill said.
The organization is in a great place heading into the new year. "There is such a positive spirit around the theater at the moment," Greenhill said. "We have a great board, outstanding volunteers and a supportive community of patrons who continue to step up to help us do what we love - present quality entertainment in a setting that is second to none."
-Conga Se Menne, Saturday, Jan. 11, 5 p.m. The Finnish reggae group will perform a free concert as part of the Sisu Ski Fest awards ceremony.
-Meet the Beetles, Saturday, Feb. 8, 7:30 p.m. The tribute band will perform in honor of the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' first appearance on U.S. television on The Ed Sullivan Show.
-The Cat's Pajamas, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 7 p.m. The a cappella group will return to the Ironwood stage in a fundraising performance to benefit the Ironwood Area Schools music programs.
-"Rumbo!," Thursday and Friday, Feb. 20 and 21, 7:30 p.m. each night. The full-length play, a parody of action heroes, celebrity, beauty pageants and pop culture, will be the first performance of the local community high school drama club. The club is a joint effort of the Ironwood Carnegie Library and HIT, providing area students the opportunity to participate in live theater.
-Eisenhower Dance Ensemble, Saturday, March 1, 7:30 p.m. The Michigan-based, contemporary dance company is considered by many critics to be one of the finest contemporary dance companies in the nation, according to its website.
-McInnis' Kitchen, Saturday, March 15, 7:30 p.m. The group blends Irish and Scottish music and will help theater patrons celebrate St. Patrick's Day in style, Greenhill said.
-Organ concert by Dave Wickerham, Sunday, May 4, 2 p.m. Wickerham, a co-manager of Crystal Theatre in Crystal Falls, will perform a concert with a bonus silent movie.
For more information, visit ironwoodtheatre.net or call 906-932-0618.