Warren working on venue changes

WARREN – The city is in talks with Sunrise Entertainment and Bob Early Productions to bring more entertainment options to the W.D. Packard Music Hall.

Mayor Doug Franklin is expected to announce a broad outline of the plan this morning during his State of the City address at The Raymond John Wean building.

“We will present the plan to the Packard Music Hall board soon,” Franklin said. “We’ve spoken to hall’s manager about the plan and are hopeful the full board will be interested. We’re hoping to get started real soon.”

The music hall’s season would begin shortly after the annual RiverRock at the Amp summer concert series wraps up. RiverRock is run by local businessmen Ken Haidaris and Marty Cohen, who formed Sunrise Entertainment and took over the popular amphitheater concert series in 2009.

Bob Early Productions is a Cuyahoga Falls-based company that has staged that town’s Rockin’ on The River concerts for two decades.

“I’m excited,” Franklin said. “Both Sunrise Entertainment and Bob Earley have great track records for bringing quality entertainment.”

The entertainment will include Broadway-style shows and plays as well. The series will be designed to work around the mandate of the Packard Trust, giving the Packard Band every opportunity to perform as it has in prior years, the mayor said.

“They (the promoters) know that is paramount for this to work,” Franklin said.

The goal is to get more people to come into Warren to use the Packard Music Hall and other city businesses, as well as reduce the amount of subsidy the city has to provide to keep the hall operating.

Haidaris said he is supports any effort to bring more people to Warren.

”The Packard Music Hall is a beautiful underutilized facility. We hope to be able to bring in more Broadway shows, special events and national musical entertainers and other performers to the area,” he said.

Haidaris said Warren has been good to him and Cohen and they in return want to return that by helping the city in whatever way possible.

”We support what is being planned and will do whatever we can to bring more entertainment here,” he said.