A Last Letter to the Pasadena Playhouse

Tonight, we’re going to our last performance at the Pasadena Playhouse; they cease operations after tomorrow night’s show. Given the situation, I thought I would share with you the letter we’re bringing for the Executive Director:

It is with sadness and dismay I learned of the cessation of operations of the Pasadena Playhouse via the Los Angeles Times, with your followup letter dated January 29, 2010, where you indicated you did not yet have a determination of how you will treat your subscribers.

We have been subscribers at the Pasadena Playhouse since the 1988 production of “Down an Alley Filled With Cats”. Twenty-two years is a long relationship (longer than many marriages these days). It is perhaps telling that the news of the closure wasn’t communicated to the supporters of the Playhouse first, but via the public media. This is hurtful to the subscriber relationship, and it is something that the Playhouse can ill afford.

Given the financial distress of the Playhouse, I believe it is unlikely that we will be seeing a refund of our subscription payment proportional to the six shows not produced. I also believe it is unlikely that the Playhouse will resume normal operations in the 2010 calendar year, as the requisite restructuring and reexamination of the Playhouse mission and marketing needs to be done carefully, not quickly. We subscribers may see benefits offered by other theatres as a gesture of goodwill, but these benefits will not have been funded by our subscription dollars.

To that end, I’m of the belief that the prorated balance of our subscriptions is, in effect, a donation to the Playhouse. To that end, I believe the Playhouse should, at minimum, issue donation letters so that we can legally deduct the prorated balance of our subscriptions on our income tax returns as a charitible donation. For my family (account #xxxx), our season tickets were $815.00, for which we have received as benefit one pair of tickets out of the seven pairs promised in the season. Six-sevenths (6/7ths) of our season ticket total is $698.57, and so we would appreciate a letter acknowledging a charitible donation in June 2009 of that amount.

Thank you very much for the years of excellent productions, and we wish the Playhouse a quick and strong recovery so that operations may be resumed for the 2011 season.

I think it is suitably polite. It will be interesting to see how they respond.