In the midst of its 49th season, Clowes Memorial Hall is ranked 24th in the world for ticket sales.
The ranking was published and compiled by Pollstar, an industry company and magazine that does all box office tracking.
Over the years, more than 8 million people have seen more than 10,000 performances.
More than 165,000 tickets were sold just last year. The ranking is based off ticket sales from the first three months of 2012, in which Clowes sold 43,797 tickets.
These sales place Clowes not too far behind other famous theaters. For example, Radio City Music Hall in New York is only six spots above Clowes.
No other Indiana theaters made the top 50 list, but not all theaters actively report to Pollstar.
“We started reporting because we knew that we were doing very well with sales,” Joshua Lingenfelter, director of marketing, said. “We wanted to start making sure that we know where we are as a theater.”
The news impressed those who frequently go to the theater.
“I personally love everything that they do,” Josh Downing, associate director of Health and Recreational Complex operations, said “Sometimes, you don’t realize how good something is that’s right at your fingertips.”
Downing said that the standings of other theaters were also surprising.
“I’m a really big music fan, and to see some of the famous places ranked below Clowes is very impressive,” he said.
Junior Courtney Hickman has performed on Clowes’ stage with the University Choir and Jordan Jazz ensemble.
“It’s great that Butler gives their students the opportunity to perform on such a well-known and respectable stage,” Hickman said. “It truly is an honor to perform where many famous artists have stood. Many students at other schools don’t get such a great opportunity.”
Lingenfelter said a lot of the success is due to programming, advertising and promoting.
“We’re very eclectic and diverse,” he said, “so we get a lot of different audience members.”
The variety of shows is due to the three aspects of Clowes theater: Clowes Presents, Clowes Off Center and Clowes for Kids, which is educational programming for kids typically in kindergarten through third grade.
However, that’s only a portion of the shows actually being done, Lingenfelter said. Other aspects that help Clowes bring in shows every season include Broadway in Indianapolis, national artists and other various clients.
For example, “The Price is Right” will be at Clowes on Oct. 9. The show sold out in less than two hours, which is the fastest the show has ever seen a sellout.
Lingenfelter said that the almost 50-year history of Clowes helps with the ranking.
“People do actively look at what’s going on at Clowes,” he said. “There is a brand that’s associated with this building as far as quality of entertainment.”
Looking to the future, Lingenfelter said he hopes to stay ranked highly, but there are no guarantees.
“The way that show business works is that you’re sort of only as good as your next show, so you’re constantly looking at what’s ahead,” he said.
Regardless of future rankings, Lingenfelter has another goal for more Butler community involvement at Clowes, which includes getting more students and staff attending events.
“Hopefully, folks on campus realize what an amazing benefit it is to have a performing arts facility like this on your doorstep,” Lingenfelter said. “You don’t have to drive anywhere to go see a show. It’s a pretty amazing thing.”