Local Philanthropists Offer New Plan to Save Struggling Philadelphia Theatre Company

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26 Aug 2014

Philadelphia Theatre Company, which has been struggling financially and whose Suzanne Roberts Theatre is currently in foreclosure, may continue operating as a result of a new plan presented by civic leaders, Philly.com reports.

Instigated by philanthropist Suzanne Roberts, the plan calls for arts consultant Michael M. Kaiser, departing president of Washington's Kennedy Center, to develop a new business plan. Kaiser had previously provided an analysis at the request of the Roberts family; they are now requesting a more detailed one.

The Robertses already are the company's biggest private donors. Philly.com reports they had previously offered Philadelphia Theatre Company (PTC) a $5 million grant contingent on certain conditions, which they said PTC failed to meet.

Under the plan, Suzanne Roberts would grant, along with her husband, Ralph, $2.5 million in new money to the company. The donations are dependent on certain conditions being met.

"We think it is very important that they get a chance for the future. When our foundation was asked to help Philadelphia Theatre Company, we wanted to make sure that there would be a plan to reorganize the company operations and get back on solid ground financially. That was the only way Ralph and I could agree," Roberts told Philly.com.



Philly.com reports that, as long as none of the money is used to repay loans from PTC insiders, including board members, the Robertses have agreed to pay $750,000 of the $2.5 million pledge over the next five months. The provisions also include that PTC retains Kaiser as a consultant and allows access to its personnel and financial records by the audit firm KPMG (which is working pro bono), along with other conditions, including changes in leadership. 

As previously reported, the company's 365-seat Suzanne Roberts Theatre is in foreclosure and continues to be marketed for sale by TD Bank. Its asking price is $7.5 million.

Philly.com reports that PTC has struggled to meet payroll and has outstanding loans to board members totaling $684,000 and accounts payable totaling $825,000.

PTC is about to open its 40th season.

Visit philadelphiatheatrecompany.org for more information.