Sad news out of Southern California tonight. The Pasadena Playhouse, a theater which was founded back in 1917, will be closing on February 7 after it finishes its run of Camelot. It is the latest cultural institution to fall victim to economic turmoil. The LA Times reports that the theater company's lenders are looking at ways to clean up the financial mess including a possible bankruptcy filing.
The playhouse, which was designated in 1937 as the state theater of California, essentially ran out of cash and has more than $500,000 in debt due immediately with another $1.5 million in long-term debt including bank loans. A capital campaign raised $6 million to renovate the playhouse building itself but that fund remains separate. The playhouse had hoped for a miracle in the form of a donor who would be willing to donate $5 million in return for having naming rights to the 684-seat main stage.
The playhouse has gone dark before, including 16 years in the 1970s-1980s and but had enjoyed successes in the late 1990s and in recent years. Television and movie stars took to the stage but as the recession began to make Los Angeles culture lovers check their wallets ticket sales slowed.
On Monday the Pasadena Playhouse will host the Concert for Haiti. Proceeds will go to support three relief funds -- Save the Children, UNICEF and the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund-- and tickets for the concert are $25, $50 and $100. The concert will be directed by Iona Morris, with Gerald Sternbach serving as musical director. Scheduled performers include Loretta Devine, James Barbour, Billy Blanks, Jr. , Dawnn Lewis, Shoshana Bean, Sharon Lawrence, Yvette Cason, Sharon Brown and others.