A reconstituted Colorado Symphony's quick turnaround from "toxic" times
Ray Mark Rinaldi, The Denver Post, 6/10/12
When Jerry Kern decided to place his bet on the survival of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra he knew it was going to cost him. And it has: more than $125,000 from his own pocket since September, when he marched into the mess the organization had become. But by most accounts he has won the wager. Kern's move led a communitywide round of giving and ticket buying that will leave the CSO in the black when its 2011-12 season ends today. That's a quick turnaround from last year's $1.3 million deficit -- a failure that provoked a back-and-forth of blame between musicians and management and calls for bankruptcy from the board. Just seven months ago, the CSO was poison -- so toxic that 20 trustees made an angry and abrupt exit when a move to make players part-time failed. Now it is re-emerging as something everyone wants a taste of. Venues across the region are eager to book it; a reconstructed board is drawing prominent names; and the orchestra has added considerably to the number and type of concerts it will perform starting July 4 with its summer session. A nonprofit certainly can't claim a comeback in less than a year. It must prove long-term viability -- and the CSO has far to go. But Kern, along with new chief executive Gene Sobczak (an organization veteran, recruited back from the Arvada Center) has pulled off the kind of short-term miracle the troubled classical music industry dreams about.
A reorganized Philadelphia Orchestra to make expedited exit from bankruptcy
Peter Dobrin, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 6/11/12
The Philadelphia Orchestra Association can exit from bankruptcy on an expedited schedule. In a hearing Monday, Judge Eric L. Frank said he would approve a timeline to bring the orchestra before the court again on June 28 for a confirmation hearing. Because of the "aggressive scheduling," Frank said, any objections to the orchestra's reorganization plan would have to be heard at the confirmation hearing, which could take a day or two. The judge said he agreed with the orchestra's argument that there was little reason to believe that "any major dissident faction" would surface. The orchestra filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection April 16, 2011, and has spent 14 months negotiating new contracts in an effort to reduce its operating costs. After contentious talks with musicians, a new concessionary labor agreement was reached. A merger in process with Peter Nero and the Philly Pops was halted, and the groups split. The orchestra withdrew its participation in the national musicians' pension fund and moved participants to a defined-contribution plan. A new lease agreement was agreed to by the orchestra's landlord for Verizon Hall, the Kimmel Center. A new donor agreement between the orchestra and the Annenberg Foundation (the orchestra's most generous donor) was crafted.
Intiman Theatre's summer comeback, a year after near-fatal financial collapse
Valerie Bauman, Puget Sound Business Journal, 5/21/12
Once-struggling Intiman Theatre is rounding another corner in its comeback, releasing more details about this summer's theater festival. "We've programmed work that warns: Don't get too comfortable," Artistic Director Andrew Russell said. "From the political to the personal, this year's festival explores the rumblings beneath the surface, the unoccupied life, and the voices of those yet unheard. With the integration of dance, music and drag performance, we are re-imagining classics and launching epic new spectacles in the way that this community has come to expect from Intiman." [Coming back] from near financial collapse in 2011...the board has since worked to build a more sustainable business model, with fewer actors and a summer theater festival instead of a full season. The four plays [in the 2012 festival] are Romeo and Juliet, Hedda Gabler, Dirty Story and Miracle!, Seattle-based sex columnist Dan Savage's play. Miracle! is described as a "drag extravaganza" loosely based on the life of Helen Keller -- if she had been raised in the midst of Seattle's early 1990s drag scene. Intiman [offered] complimentary tickets to its 2011 subscribers, who [had] priority to redeem their seats before tickets [went] on sale to the general public June 4. The Intiman had to abruptly shut down its 2011 season after the first play when leadership realized the organization was in dire financial straits. This year will be Intiman's shot at a comeback after more than 1,000 donors contributed the $1 million needed to prevent the temporary closure from becoming permanent.
'Virtual' comebacks planned for Elvis and Marilyn
Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, 6/6/12
Elvis Presley is still dead, but he's making some comeback performances soon. Digital Domain Media Group, creator of the "holographic" Tupac Shakur at Coachella, has announced an exclusive deal with the Core Media Group to jointly produce a series of "virtual" Elvis likenesses for a range of entertainment projects. According to Digital Domain, the virtual Elvis will soon be seen in film, on television and in other venues. Concerts appear to be a clear possibility. Digital Domain says it will announce soon where audiences can expect to see the first virtual Elvis performances. "His lifelong fans will be thrilled all over again, and new audiences will discover the electric experience of Elvis the performer," said Jack Soden, president and CEO of Elvis Presley Enterprises. "The high level of quality entertainment that both Core Media Group and Digital Domain deliver gives us great confidence that these projects will help continue the growth of Elvis' rich legacy all over the world." The virtual Tupac performance at Coachella was witnessed by tens of thousands of people, made international headlines and has sparked speculation about which dead celebrities would be the next to be resurrected digitally. As The Hollywood Reporter first reported, plans are also in the works for a virtual Marilyn Monroe concert this year.
New 'performance space' to rise near remains of Shakespeare's first theatre
Nick Clark, The Independent [UK], 6/7/12
The discovery of remains from The Curtain Theatre, where Shakespeare's company performed before moving to The Globe, has prompted developers to plan a "performance space" to commemorate the site and hope the attraction will revitalise a run-down part of east London. Remnants of the 16th century playhouse, which staged the premieres of plays including Romeo & Juliet and Henry V, were discovered in a down-at-heel part of Shoreditch after archaeologists started exploratory digs in October. Plough Yard Development, which owns the site, said the surprise discovery meant it had binned the original plans and now wanted to make the remains of the theatre "into the centrepiece of a new development". The archaeologists believe the findings, which so far include the walls forming the gallery and the yard inside the playhouse, to be one of the best preserved examples of an Elizabethan theatre in the UK. While historians knew The Curtain was in the area its exact location had long remained a mystery and a blue plaque commemorating the building was put some distance from the newly discovered site. London's second theatre, named after the nearby Curtain Close, opened in 1577 near the first, simply called The Theatre. The Curtain was home to William Shakespeare's company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men, for two years until they moved to the Globe in Southwark. The last historic record of The Curtain was in 1622.