PALM DESERT — The McCallum Theatre is a jewel in the desert, offering Broadway-level performances and musical entertainment that rivals some of the best entertainment venues around.

The anticipation of a new season lineup of entertainment rivals that of a Christmas morning. The big reveal is followed by a rush to get tickets.

This year, members could purchase tickets  ahead of the general public. That meant a chance to get some of the best seats in the house to Willie Nelson, Jersey Boys, Evita and so much more.

But on April 11, the first chance to grab some of those coveted seats, callers were greeted with a busy signal — for hours. It was nearly impossible to get through.

Full confession: I was one of those callers. I was so excited about this season’s offerings I purchased a membership. First time. I had the McCallum’s number on speed dial, trying, trying, trying. Simply could not get through. I was frustrated and disappointed. For nearly 2 1/2 hours all I got was a busy signal.

I went about my day and called later in the afternoon. After trying numerous times, again, I finally got through. Did not get the best seats as I had hoped but I got through. The woman who helped me was kind and professional and apologized for the delay in getting through.  I shared my frustration with one person, questioned the value of a membership, and moved on.

On Tuesday, I received a letter of apology from the McCallum Theater and a $100 voucher for an additional show. I was dumbstruck. Never in a million years did I expect it. Life happens.

“While we had anticipated an exceptionally large demand on the first day of advance sales, we did not recognize that the technology we used was incapable of handling such an overwhelming response to the new season,” the letter read. “We are very gratified that so many members are excited for the sensational season we have planned, but clearly dissatisfied by what turned out to be a very uncharacteristic customer service for the McCallum. We are particularly regretful that this may have caused undue difficulty for members like you who generously support the theatre philanthropically.”

The letter, written by Harold Matzner, chairman of the Board of Trustees, and Mitch Gershenfeld, president and CEO of the McCallum, said improvements are being made to the technology so further complications will not occur.

That’s great news. You may read the full letter HERE. 

In the meantime, what a classy way to address the problem.