The nearly two-year-old merger between Chicago's Organic and Touchstone Theatres is doing just fine at its home at 2851 North Halsted St., the old Steppenwolf space. However, the company's other properties about five blocks away have become a financial drain and have been put up for sale for $1.4 million. General manager Tamra Powell told Playbill On-Line the company owns two buildings: one housing a 350-seat mainstage, the other including two retail spaces. "We never produced at those spaces," said Powell."They're old unwieldy buildings that would require an overwhelming percentage of our operating budget to renovate."
Powell says "There's been a lot of interest" in buying the spaces, though real estate people were more involved in the selling than the theatre's management. Ina Marlowe serves as artistic director of the Organic Touchstone Theatre, which will eventually drop the "Touchstone" and be renamed "The Organic Theatre." Talks on joining the companies had begun on Jan. 1, 1996 and the merger took effect July 1 of that year.
-- By David Lefkowitz