Seattle's Balagan Theatre Abruptly Closes; Dogfight Will Continue

News   Seattle's Balagan Theatre Abruptly Closes; Dogfight Will Continue
The Balagan Theatre, a hub for accessible contemporary work that nurtured Seattle's up-and-coming theatre-makers, has ceased operation in the face of financial difficulties.

The decision to close the eight-year-old theatre company was announced Sept. 19. Louis Hobson, the Broadway actor who appeared in Next to Normal and served as Balagan's former artistic director, told the Seattle Times that he was "blindsided" by the announcement.

The theatre recently lost usage of its home, the Erickson Theatre, and planned to stage its upcoming season at venues across Seattle.

Hobson and Balagan founder Jake Groshong both departed the non-profit company earlier this year to found a for-profit producing entity, Indie Theatricals. The company had planned to partner on two productions with Balagan, including Make Me Bad and Citizen Ruth. Hobson stated that he and Groshong would push forward with the productions separately from Balagan.

Balagan was also slated to co-produce the Pasek and Paul musical Dogfight along with ArtsWest, which will now mount the production on its own.

"This is not a decision that the board took lightly," board president Jim Griffin said in a statement. "When viewing the big picture of our overall financial health, this was a difficult conclusion, but ultimately a responsible fiscal action to take." According to the release, "Financial setbacks were encountered as the theatre pushed to grow, while not having a permanent home for operations. This decision was reached after completing an in-depth review of the theatre’s current debts, planned income, as well as the planned general operating budget for the year. The theatre owes more money than it was projected to make by continuing the season, and the board is still working out how to address creditors."

Balagan's previous productions included Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, Spring Awakening, Avenue Q, August: Osage County, Urinetown, as well as Carrie with Tony Award winner Alice Ripley and an acclaimed staging of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which starred Jerick Hoffer (aka Jinkx Monsoon).

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