Philadelphia's Prince Music Theatre May Close Its Doors in November

News   Philadelphia's Prince Music Theatre May Close Its Doors in November
Following the death of Herb Lotman, the board chairman and chief fundraiser for Prince Music Theatre, the institution will likely close its doors Nov. 30, according to 

Lotman had played a role in running the theatre since it emerged from bankruptcy auction in January 2013, but his family does not wish to continue working with the theatre.

"It is with tremendous sadness that we make this announcement today," Karen Lotman said in a statement. "Herb and I poured our hearts and souls into the theater and loved watching it grow. More than 60,000 people visited this year, but we need a new champion and donor for the organization to move forward."

Prince Theater executive director James E. Hines said the organization received donations of $1.6 million and earned income of $2.4 million during the first season in its new incarnation as presenter rather than producer, meeting its fundraising and earned-income goals. But without Lotman, "it's hard to see where the philanthropy will come from," Hines told "Ideally, the Prince would continue. But just how do you do it? With Herb, you had someone who did it single-handedly. How do you sustain it without Herb being the champion?"

The group has informed the owners of the building it occupies on Chestnut Street that it plans to break its 25-year lease as of Nov. 30. The decision could be reversed if it could raise $1.6 million to underwrite a 2014-15 schedule, according to Stan Fronczkowski, a friend and longtime colleague of Herb Lotman. Fronczkowski told that various new leadership models were possible, listing options such as an individual, a new board or a takeover by another institution.

The Prince's previous season featured a total of 200 performances as well as rentals to outside groups. An average of 70 percent of seats were sold of the Prince-presented shows. In its previous form, under co-founder Marjorie Samoff, the Prince closed its final production, It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, on Christmas Eve 2008. TD Bank foreclosed on the mortgage, and after a series of legal moves, the Prince filed for bankruptcy in October 2010.

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