The Colony Theatre today announced that it has achieved the first goal of its emergency "Save the Colony" campaign by raising $49,000 in ten days so that it can open THE MORINI STRAD as scheduled on November 17th. However, the award-winning theatre company still must raise $500,000 by year's end to continue serving the region.
"We have been overjoyed by the outpouring of support from our audience, actors, directors, designers, crew, friends, and the theatre community," states Artistic Director Barbara Beckley. "The notes, letters, and emails that have accompanied the donations have been tremendously encouraging." Executive Director Trent Steelman adds "We still have a long way to go, but we've made great progress. The response so far has been very heartening, and has given us hope that we'll make it."
Founded in 1975, the theatre announced on October 27th that it needed to raise $49,000 in just under two weeks and $500,000, including pledges, by year's end in order to meet financial obligations and remain open to the Los Angeles theatre-going public. Artistic Director Barbara Beckley, who was one of the founders, cited the economic downturn that began in 2008 as the cause of reductions in charitable support and audience size, resulting in a budget shortfall that has recently become crippling.
"We are very proud of the tremendous popular and artistic success the Colony has achieved, but we have simply run out of money," said Beckley in announcing the campaign. "The economy has been particularly hard on institutions such as ours, with far too many of America's stages having already gone dark."
"Like all non-profit theatres, we cannot subsist solely on subscriptions and ticket sales," added The Colony's Executive Director, Trent Steelman. "We have made all the operational cuts we can without harming the quality of our shows. If we are unable to raise the necessary funds, we will be forced to suspend operations indefinitely. This is an opportunity to turn things around so that the Colony can be put on sound footing for the long term." Steelman added "Barbara and I have both forgone our salaries for many months, wiped out our personal savings, and maxed our personal credit cards in an effort to keep us alive."
The Colony has long been a vibrant center of L.A.'s theatre life. Its subscribers renew at an astounding rate of 90%, and this year the theatre received nine Ovation Award nominations, including the coveted one for Best Season. From its beginnings as a 99-seat Equity-waiver theatre in Silver Lake, the company became so successful artistically, and built such a large subscriber base, that in 2000 it was able to move into a 270-seat state-of-the-Art Theatre created for it by the City of Burbank. As such, it became one of only a handful of mid-sized professional theatres in the L.A. area that produce a year-round season of plays and musicals, and that employ actors under contract with Actors' Equity Association. Its current season features two Los Angeles premieres, three West Coast premieres, and a World Premiere musical.
THE MORINI STRAD
Now that it has raised the necessary funds, The Colony is thrilled to present the fourth production of its "Season of Premieres" with the West Coast Premiere of THE MORINI STRAD, written by Willy Holtzman, directed by Stephanie Vlahos, and starring Mariette Hartley. THE MORINI STRAD will preview on Wednesday, November 14; Thursday, November 15; and Friday, November 16 at 8:00pm and will open on Saturday, November 17 at 8:00pm and continue through Sunday, December 17 (there are no performances Thanksgiving week, November 22-25).
After a full and rewarding life as a world-renowned musician, aging Erica Morini inadvertently damages her legendary Stradivarius, a violin worth millions that accompanied her throughout her long career on the top concert stages of the world. It is an act akin to scratching the face of the Mona Lisa, and she hires an unassuming but dedicated violin maker to restore her priceless instrument in secret. At first she proves to be a difficult client, but the two develop an unexpected friendship over the priceless instrument in this inspired drama based on a true story that rocked the classical music world.