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)

Comments
  • Scott says:

    So….. who bails them out? As much as we hate to hear the word “bailout” these days, the public is still smarting from the Detroit fiasco and isn’t buying tickets because theatre is considered low on the food chain of necessities (and they can watch some inane reality show on TV for free) so its unlikely that there will be too many individuals stepping up to the plate. If there ARE individuals or corporations out there willing to invest, I think the question isn’t WHO will give but HOW do we get them to give. How do we entice them into feeling that theatre is a vital part of the community. Do we make them shareholders? Do we offer them naming rights to the theatre? Do we tell them its a tax writeoff? I just hope the theatres don’t get demolished too quickly for the real estate value that an angel CAN come in and save them before the permanent damage is done.

  • Scott says:

    And then you read this on Playbill.com….
    “The Nederlander Organization has partnered with the Beijing real-estate developer Shibo Investment Holding to create a new 32-theatre complex in the Beijing suburb of Haidian.
    The China Daily reports that the $686 million complex, already dubbed by local papers as “China’s Broadway,” will feature a 2,000-seat main theatre and additional smaller houses seating 300-500…”
    They couldn’t partner with companies here in the U.S??
    Grrrrrr…………

  • Susan Hodara says:

    There’s a group on Facebook
    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=56097092472&ref=nf
    dedicated to saving America’s Theatres. But I want to do more than just join. Someone made a wonderful suggestion to start a letter writing campaign.
    What do we think of coming up with a template to post on the Facebook page, and on here so people can write to politicians?
    I’m happy to contribute my time and talents if there’s interest.
    –Sue Hodara

  • Susan Hodara says:

    To help get the ball rolling for a letter writing campaign, I’ve come up with a general template.
    Tweak it to make it your own, or sign on the dotted line.
    Visit http://suehodara.com/blog/2009/01/13/saving-americas-theatres/ for the full letter and a website to help you find contact info for your elected officials.
    Let’s make a difference!
    –Sue

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

X