The Rosies are moving on.

The annual high school theater awards will no longer be staged at York's Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center.

Strand CEO Ken Wesler said organizers recently notified him that they were changing the date and venue of the event. It will now be held April 21 at Central York High School in Springettsbury Township.

Backstage squeeze

The reason for the move came down to space, said choreographer and director Lyn Bergdoll.

"The event has gotten so huge that it sort of outgrew the venue," Bergdoll said.

When the first Rosies were handed out in 2005, fewer schools participated. The following year, live performances by the students were added to the program. Each of the 11 schools participating that year presented a short section of its spring musical. A tradition was formed.

Through the years, more schools were added to the lineup and more students participated. During the 2012 awards in May, about 600 students from 14 schools were involved. They could barely fit on stage for a pre-show photo.

And the backstage area, Bergdoll added, became too cramped. It was hard for students to change costumes and move set pieces.

Central's auditorium has roughly 1,200 seats - about as many as the Strand - but it has more space for costume changes and the annual afterparty. The school also has more convenient parking than downtown York garages and streets, Bergdoll said.

More changes discussed

In addition to a new venue, The Rosies might get a new name, Bergdoll said.

The directors also talked about changes to the program, but nothing has been decided.

"We always look at the format and ask if there is any way to make it better," Bergdoll said.

She added that she expects most of the participating schools to return for the 2013 awards, and, with more space, there is the possibility other area schools might want to join.

Another advantage of having the awards in April - as opposed to May - is that spring musicals will be wrapping up, Bergdoll said. Directors won't need to spend as much time getting shows ready for the stage again.

"The directors discussed it at length," she added. "The goal is to do the best thing for the kids."

Wesler said he was sad to see The Rosies leave, but he understood the reasoning. He added that when he attended a career day at Dallastown in 2011, theater students told him they had just seen a musical on the Strand stage and were thrilled that they would be on the same stage for The Rosies.

"It's like anything else; it had pros and cons," Wesler said. "(Directors) looked at that pro and felt that factors outweighed it."

Strand will refund tickets

The Strand released its 2012-13 schedule in May. Brochures were sent out and tickets went on sale a few weeks later. The Rosies were listed as May 19 at the Strand. Ken Wesler said that several tickets had already sold.

Around the same time, area theater directors met and decided to move the ceremony, Bergdoll said.

"The timing probably just wasn't the best," she added.

Wesler said the Strand sent out letters to any Rosies ticket holders and will offer refunds.

Bergdoll said Central will likely handle ticket sales for the 2013 awards. Sponsorships and tickets sales usually cover production costs and publicity for the event, she added.

Tickets for the show, which attracted students, family and friends, have been building every year. The event sold out the Strand for the past few years. Last year, the show grossed $13,000 and broke even for the first time, Wesler said.

"It's not designed to be a moneymaker," Wesler said. "It's designed to be a service program for students."

Since May 19 is now open at the Strand, he said that he's looking to book another event during that prime spring weekend. @FlipSidePA; 771-2051

More

For ticket refunds, call 717-846-1111 or visit mystrandcapitol.org.

Online

A look at how last year's Rosies came together

How the Rosies brought schools together

Lyn Bergdoll named executive director of YLT