Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom - Act VI: Bob Duteau

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1899 - 1999

Success Is In the Details

The guy who Fred Schaake, Jr. is on the phone with quite a bit of the time is Bob Duteau, director of the Agency Division for Don Law Productions. Don Law operates out of Cambridge, Massachusetts and Duteau has been with the company for 10 years.

For most of us going to a concert is seen from this point of view: we hear of the act, buy a ticket, see the show, drive home.

Duteau has a completely different perspective. Duteau points out a few other things that need to be taken care of before a concert at the Casino can be called a success:

What would happen, for instance, if the printing company made two tickets for the same seat for one specific show? Most of us never think of such details. This one, it's easy to see, is small but it could cause a huge headache. A security detail is also needed "not just for the backstage but for the public as well," says Duteau. Barricades are needed to keep the lines moving. "You need a bar manager to make sure the patrons are happy" and "the people in the skyboxes need to be taken care of," Duteau points out.

Bob Duteau

Bob Duteau, director of the
Agency Division for Don Law Productions.

"Fred (Jr.) has to oversee all of these things," said Duteau. The fact that he does, and does them so well, "is very calm and relaxing to the acts." The fact that the Casino is on the beach is an added plus, says Duteau.

Since his first love is music, and because he's been in one facet of the business since he was in college, Duteau has a pretty good idea of what it's like for bands living life on the road, and why it's important for them to come to a venue that has all the small details down pat.

A band promoting a new record, or simply embarking on a tour because they've been off the road for a while, can mean they are playing up to five shows a week. "The crew is one bus," Duteau points out, "And the band is on another. And then there is the gear truck."

Say the band plays a gig in New York City on a Tuesday night. "They might not get started until 10 and then be on stage at least until midnight," says Duteau. "By three a.m. they're on the road and they're driving up to Hampton and they get here in the morning. Before the show they have to do a soundcheck, they're on stage again at 8 o'clock or so and then their day starts all over again. Their whole life is lived in a venue."

So, if a place like the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom is going to stay in business, it must get the little details right. And, according to Duteau, it gets them right. Night after night.

The Ballroom at the Hampton Beach Casino hasn't changed at all since it was built in 1927. That means the room you walk into today is basically the same room that concertgoers walked into more than 70 years ago. And the beautiful wooden floor offers a unique feature that your eyes may not appreciate, but you feet, if you've danced at the Casino, probably have.

It is what is known as a "spring floor." That is it was specifically designed with a certain "give" so that it literally bounces along with the dancers. There at not many left in New England.

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