Facing Financial Woes, Charlotte Rep Makes Changes to Current Season; Hamlet Is Not To Be

News   Facing Financial Woes, Charlotte Rep Makes Changes to Current Season; Hamlet Is Not To Be Charlotte Repertory Theatre announced a number of changes designed to reduce expenses for the remainder of the current season.

The Oct. 17 announcement from the major resident LORT company in North Carolina comes after two high-profile productions this year — The Miracle Worker starring Hilary Swank and the 20th anniversary production of Pump Boys and Dinettes. The Rep's 2003-04 season had only recently begun.

"All of us remain clearly focused on our vision," said Mike McGuire, chair of the Rep's board of trustees, in a statement.  "However, like all of the major arts groups in the region, and most professional theatres across the country, we have seen our usual sources of funding diminish during the economic downturn of the past few years.  We needed to make changes this season that will position us for continued success in the future.  After careful deliberation, the Rep's board of trustees and staff agreed to changes that will in no way compromise the artistic quality of the productions."

The first change to the season is that the Rep's co production of Hamlet with Syracuse Stage, originally scheduled for February 2004, has been cancelled and will be replaced by a Rep-only production to be announced at a later date.

"Certainly a part of our mission is to produce the classics," said Michael Bush, producing artistic director at the Rep.  "Unfortunately, due to production requirements, they become very expensive.  It became clear that the fiscally responsible decision at this time is to postpone the production of a major classic for the time being."

The Rep also announced the following changes, all of which, the troupers said, will contribute to improving the Rep's financial picture:

  • The New Year's Eve Gala has been cancelled, allowing resources that would have been devoted to the event to be directed instead toward the Rep's signature fund-raising event, the Spring Gala (exact date to be determined).
  • "In-The-Works," the Rep's new play festival that was planned for April 2004, has been cancelled for this season.
  • With the exception of special events A Tuna Christmas and Fully Committed, the scheduled run for each show during the 2003-2004 season will be shortened by one week. Letters outlining the changes will be mailed to subscribers the week of Oct. 20.

    Corporations or individuals who would like to assist in improving the Rep's financial situation are invited to make a donation either online at www.charlotterep.org or by contacting managing director Debbie Fitts.

    The theatre is facing a deficit situation, but the amount is could not be learned by Playbill On-Line.

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    There was hope that the Rep staging of The Miracle Worker would move to Broadway with Barry and Fran Weissler producing, but the commercial players dropped their plan. A tour of the revamped Pump Boys is being explored.

    A revised Charlotte Rep season schedule follows:

  • Jar the Floor by Cheryl L. West, Oct. 18-Nov. 2, Booth Playhouse
  • All of the People, All the Time by Patrick Cook, Darwin Ortiz and David Roth, Nov. 15-Dec. 7, Duke Power Theatre, Spirit Square
  • Title to be announced, Feb. 7-Feb. 22, 2004, Booth Playhouse
  • Barefoot in the Park by Neil Simon, April 17-May 2, 2004, Booth Playhouse
    Special Events:
  • A Tuna Christmas by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard, Nov. 29-30, 2003, Dec. 9-14 and 19-21, 2003, Booth Playhouse
  • Fully Committed by Becky Mode, Dec. 3-7 and 16 18, 2003, Booth Playhouse