You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Lights out at Pasadena Playhouse

Theater shutters Feb. 7, considers bankruptcy

The Pasadena Playhouse will cease operations Feb. 7, after the final perf of its current show, a pared-down revival of “Camelot.”

Leaders are seeking legal counsel about potential options to move the org forward — including a declaration of bankruptcy, one of the possibilities on the table.

Playhouse, which is the state theater of California, is more than $2 million in debt, with about $500,000 of that immediately due. A total of 37 people will be laid off, according to exec director Stephen Eich.

The debt, some of which the theater has carried for years, came coupled with long-standing inconsistencies in balancing revenue and spending. In recent months, fund-raising has been tougher thanks to the financial downturn.

“It’s been kind of a perfect storm of the debt and the operational imbalances and the economy,” said Eich, who joined the playhouse about seven months ago.

Decision to shutter was made after attempts to seek out a major donor — for whom the mainstage would be renamed in the wake of a multimillion-dollar gift — failed.

The playhouse has about 7,000 subscribers who have paid for tickets to an entire season’s worth of offerings, including two more plays that had been skedded for the spring. (“Havana,” the new tuner from Frank Wildhorn and Nilo Cruz, was initially skedded to preem there in June but the show’s commercial producers have since parted ways with the theater due to the company’s troubles.)

All upcoming stage offerings remain in limbo for the moment. Eich, who leads the theater with longtime artistic director Sheldon Epps, said he hoped the org would eventually meet its obligations to its subscribers, but he didn’t yet know how it would happen.

“We have to take a step back and find a way to do this responsibly,” he said.

Playhouse was established in 1917 and rose to prominence in the 1920s thanks in part to a well-known actor training program. An earlier round of money woes pushed the org into dormancy in the 1970s; the theater was relaunched in 1986.

With an annual operating budget of around $8 million, the theater lists “Sister Act the Musical” (currently playing on the West End) and the play “Looped,” coming to Broadway in the spring, among its offerings of the last few years.

More Scene

  • Noah CentineoNickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, Show,

    Kids’ Choice Awards 2019: JoJo Siwa, Noah Centineo Take on Bullying

    This year’s Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards was full of positivity and encouragement to be yourself. DJ Khaled, known for his upbeat mantras, hosted the 32nd annual awards ceremony alongside JoJo Siwa at USC’s Galen center. Siwa accepted the award for favorite social music star. Siwa said in her acceptance speech, “I get hated on every [...]

  • Tina KnowlesSoul of Nation: Art in

    Jay-Z, Tina Knowles Celebrate New 'Soul of a Nation' Exhibit at Broad Museum

    “This show is so important. I mean, it’s our history — and it’s a very important part of our journey,” Tina Knowles Lawson said about Friday night’s opening of the exhibition “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963 – 1983” at the Broad Museum in DTLA. “I’m just so impressed [...]

  • Jordan Peele'Us' film premiere, Arrivals, New

    Jordan Peele Explains the Meaning Behind the 'Us' Michael Jackson Reference

    Jordan Peele’s horror movie “Us” is filled with pop culture references, from “Jaws” to “Goonies.” But the most divisive might be right in his opening sequence. Warning, minor spoilers ahead. The movie about a couple (played by Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke) and their children being hunted and brutalized by a mysterious family that looks just [...]

  • Danielle Brooks'Ain't Too Proud - The

    How 'Orange Is the New Black' Star Danielle Brooks Became a Broadway Producer

    Danielle Brooks earned a Tony nomination when she made her Broadway debut as Sofia in the 2015 revival of “The Color Purple,” but now the “Orange Is the New Black” star is working behind the scenes as a producer on the new jukebox musical “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations.” “I [...]

  • Nick Offerman Amy Poehler

    'Parks and Recreation' Cast Talks Possibility of a Revival at 10th Anniversary Reunion

    For one night, Hollywood felt a little like Pawnee. The cast of NBC’s hit comedy “Parks and Recreation” reunited at PaleyFest on Thursday in honor of the show’s 10th anniversary. The whole Pawnee gang showed up: Amy Poehler, Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza, Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari, Rob Lowe, Adam Scott, Rashida Jones, Retta, and Jim [...]

  • Andy CohenThe Shops and Restaurants at

    Andy Cohen to Receive Vito Russo Award at GLAAD Media Awards

    Mazel, Andy Cohen! Bravo’s late-night talk show host is set to receive the Vito Russo Award at the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards on May 4 in New York City. Sarah Jessica Parker will present him with the award, which is named in honor of GLAAD founder Vito Russo. The annual award goes to openly [...]

  • Variety TV Summit Europe

    Variety TV Summit Europe Coming to London on June 13

    Variety’s TV Summit Europe will coincide with London Tech Week this year, returning to the city on June 13. The international conference will be held at the Royal Lancaster and is co-produced by global events company Informa’s KNect365 division, the world’s largest business-to-business organizer. The one-day summit will focus on the intersection of content and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content