The Colony Theatre Survives to see 2014 (was: Limping Into Another Year)

userpic=colonyTheatres in financial trouble often have a problem with communication. Instead of cultivating their subscribers and donors by providing financial information transparently, they keep the financial information under wraps, serving only to create uncertainty.  When information does come out, often it shows up in the newspapers before subscribers know. We saw this happen time and again with the Pasadena Playhouse, its bankruptcy and rebirth… and it left a bad taste in our mouths. The situation with The Colony Theatre in Burbank has been a little better: they’ve had their financial panic (in the fall, the 38-year-old Colony was on the brink of shutting down and was looking to raise $500,000 by the end of 2012), but were able to eke out finishing the season, and have been reasonably good about getting out emails (although the financial updates have been few and far between).

Uncertainty, at least for the Colony, has been made worse by their delaying of the announcement of the 2013-2014 season. Normally this happens around January-February. There was still no announcement when the final show of last season closed in late June, and the usual response has been “we’re waiting.”

Thus, I was pleased (and not surprised) to find the answer show up in today’s LA Times [note that there is nothing about this on the Colony Website, nor have they sent email to subscribers yet] [Update: A nice letter was awaiting me when I got home, and there was an email awaiting as well. Well done; head and shoulders above the Pasadena Playhouse]. What’s happening?

  • The Colony will limp on into another year, thanks to a donation from a long-time unnamed subscriber. According to the Artistic Director, Barbara Beckley, “We are stabilized but you never know what the future holds.” The company hopes to raise a total of $1 million for the new season with the help of subscription renewals.
  • The Colony has announced their new season: Daniel Beaty’s “Breath and Imagination” (Sept. 14 to Oct. 13); Tom Dudzick’s “Miracle on South Division Street” (Nov. 9 to Dec. 15); Lissa Levin’s “Sex and Education” (Feb. 15 to March 16) [which was last produced in Burbank at the VTC in 2011]; and a revival of James Goldman’s “The Lion in Winter” (April 19 to May 7). This is four shows, down from six in 2012-2013 and 2011-2012, and five in previous seasons. It was prefaced in the LA Times article with “includes”, so there might be an additional show.  Although not noted by the Times, “Breath and Imagination” is a musical that explores the life of an American pioneer through words, movement, spirituals and classical music; this is its West Coast premiere.

We have not yet received new subscription material from the Colony (it was part of the letter awaiting me when I got home), so I have no idea if the The 4-show season will be less expensive than the 5- or 6- show seasons were.  Past seasons were around $200 per subscription (much more affordable than the Pasadena Playhouse ever was). The shortened 4-show season is $160 per subscription.

P.S.: Alas, another thing I subscribe to did just die: PC World magazine is no more.