Comedy isn’t the only thing that comes in threes.
Here is a set of three news items posted on Playbill.com in the last seven days that isn’t so funny:
- Magic Theatre, San Francisco’s 42-year-old troupe that prizes risk over
commercialism, has announced on its website that it is $600,000 in debt
and will shut its doors Jan. 9, 2009, unless it raises $350,000.” (read full article)
- Massachusetts’ North Shore Music Theatre, which is currently presenting Disney High School Musical 2,
announced Dec. 29 that without immediate philanthropic support, the
not-for-profit theatre will close its doors after 55 years.” (read full article)
- Carousel Dinner Theatre, the Ohio equity theatre in operation since
1973, has announced that it has canceled its 2009 season and will close
effective Jan. 4. (read full article)
The closing (or potential closing) of these institutions are even greater indicators of our turbulent economic times than yesterday’s “Black Sunday” here on Broadway.
These theaters have been around for an average of 44 years or a combined 132 years (For some perspective, Hairspray, one of our Black Sunday closers, ran for 6). They’ve seen tough times, more violent wars, deep recessions, yet they always managed to muddle through.
But not this time.
Those of us here working on the Big Broadway tend not to worry about what’s happening in the hinterlands, but we should, because it affects us all.
Actors’ Equity Association just lost three major employers, and our investors and writers just lost three major distribution houses that generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties every year. That means it just got a little harder to recoup shows and for writers to earn money post-Broadway.
And something tells me that new theatres aren’t just going to pop up in the next six months to replace them.
So keep your fingers, toes and eyes crossed that these theaters get their own version of a bailout because theaters around the country, whether they are in Boston or Biloxi are all connected to Broadway.
(We’ll be putting some of The Producer’s Perspective holiday cash towards the two theaters that are still making a go of it, and if you want to do the same, read the articles for the info)