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Carmike showcases performing arts at Ritz 13

Carmike Cinemas launched its Opera in Cinema and Ballet in Cinema programs last year — live screenings of international events available to local audiences. As the 2010-2011 season draws to a close, the Columbus-based company announced its upcoming season.

The opera Faust is first on the list, slated for Sept. 28.

But those who want to watch the final production of the current season can still see Nabucco, a romance loosely based on the Biblical clash between the Israelites and Assyrians, Wednesday.

Terrell Mayton, director of marketing, said the arts program started as a way to offer customers “entertainment beyond mainstream movie fare an opportunity to experience the performing arts in a format other than motion pictures.”

“With all the reductions in art funding across the country, we’re pleased to provide world-class performances coming into communities that may never see a touring Broadway company or a national dance company,” he said. “Communities that see Nabucco are going to have the best the world has to offer. It’s just an exceptional offering for those who love the arts.”

The operatic and ballet shows are available in select locations around the country. All local screenings are at the Ritz 13.

Thanks to satellite technology, audiences can experience the exact same performances seen live halfway around the world, including an intermission. Carmike patrons have a few added conveniences, namely air conditioning, English subtitles and an encore screening for those who can’t make the original date, said Gary Green, director of alternative content.

“They will see it and hear it just like the fans sitting in front of that stage — no plane ticket involved,” he said.

While operas and ballets may have a reputation as high art, inaccessible to the public, the range of performances for the upcoming season represent a good opportunity for an introduction to these art forms, especially for younger audiences, Mayton said.

For a young ballerina, seeing a professional performance could serve as “an incredible inspiration,” he said.

The high-quality events are also a boon for Fort Benning residents, which Mayton called “the most world-traveled population in the greater part of Georgia.”

“We have military guests from around the world,” he said. “They have an appreciation of these cultural events from being stationed in countries like Italy. We just invite our friends in the military community to come out and enjoy the arts at the Ritz.”

Tickets to operas are $25 or $21 for groups of 10 or more. For ballets, they are $20 or $17 for groups. Tickets are available at the box office or online at Fandango. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

Carmike: From a performance of the opera Aida last year at the Taormina theater in Sicily, this photo depicts the location for the performance of Nabucco, shown live via satellite Tuesday at the Ritz 13. The opera will air again Wednesday.