The National Theater of the Deaf is poised to begin the spring leg of its current touring production, “An Italian Straw Hat,” as scheduled Jan. 21 and running through April 1. The show will go on, despite the continuing federal criminal investigation into allegations of misuse of as much as $425,000 in federal grant money by NTD’s former executive director Charles Roper.
The financially strapped company also is looking forward to March 27 when, according to founding artistic director David Hays, some federal grants are set to start up again.
“We have a tough row to hoe between now and April,” says Hays, “but we’re confident and optimistic that we’ll survive and our morale is good.”
The NTD’s spring tour of “Hat” will take it up and down the East Coast as far south as Miami and as far west as Ohio and Texas. A week in Europe in the middle of the spring tour fell through and has been filled with additional U.S. dates.
The federal investigation is being conducted by the Boston office of the Dept. of Education’s Inspector General. Gary Mathison, investigations chief in that office, is overseeing the inquiry, which is being conducted by investigators Jim Gavin and Maria Stabile. They would not comment on their ongoing work.
However, Dennis O. Brown, the theater company’s lawyer, says he’s been led to believe that Roper is the only target of the probe.