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Pasadena Playhouse emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy

July 8, 2010 |  9:16 am


The Pasadena Playhouse said it emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Wednesday after a court in Los Angeles approved the theater company's plans for reorganization. The company also said that it has received a matching pledge of $1 million by anonymous donors as part of its fundraising efforts.

Since shutting down its main stage in February, the Pasadena Playhouse has been searching for ways to pay down its debt, which recently stood at $2.3 million, most of it owed to subscribers, bankers and vendors.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Stephen Eich, the playhouse's executive director, said that the company has created a plan "to resurrect the Playhouse from years of unbearable debts. Although we will be moving slowly in the future to ensure financial responsibility and stability, we will in fact be back."

The law firm of Munger, Tolles, and Olson LLC is serving as the company's pro-bono legal team, while Alvarez & Marsal is providing pro-bono financial advising. The playhouse had filed a petition for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in early May.

The $1-million matching pledge comes from a group of anonymous donors, said the playhouse. The company hopes that the announcement will encourage other donors to step forward to match or exceed the $1-million gift.

The company said that plans for a fall 2010 production will be announced at a later date.

Check back throughout the day for updates on the Pasadena Playhouse.

-- David Ng

Photo: the Pasadena Playhouse. Credit: Pasadena Playhouse

Comments () | Archives (10)

They need to dump the director who was programming the plays/musical that created the bankruptcy. Get a new artistic director.

To Pasadena Jag:

They did, quite a few years ago. The main reason for the bankruptcy was the debt inhereted from the previous Playhouse management (the Lars Hansen era, if memory serves correct). The current artistic director has been doing reasonably successful programming (I'd argue there could be a bit more focus), but they couldn't get out from the mound of inherited debt.

This hardly matters, I am an avid theatergoer who avoids the Pasadena Playhouse like the plague under it's current artistic management .

OK, now hopefully the illustrious board of directors can actually use some business sense, as opposed to a sense of entitlement, and pick good regular plays people actually will want to see. please do not pick some leftist, "message" production about some minority group.

I'm pretty sure all of you are missing the point. This is supposed to be a celebration, a moment to rejoice that this historical theatre is re-opening and that people cared enough to donate the necessary funds. The negative remarks about the Playhouse and the artistic direction are the kinds of comments that kept the theatre closed for this long. Hopefully you will recognize the great gifts the Playhouse has to offer.

"billl" is living in the state of California, the county of Los Angeles and the city of Pasadena. Does his complaint about not wanting to see plays about minorities mean that he only wants to see plays about Hispanics ?

Funny that the legal work was done pro bono, but I wonder if the management staff still pulls in 6 figure salaries? Now that's art.

Minority plays? Then, today, they should focus on Anglos!!!

Interesting reading the comments...I used to work at the Playhouse, and NO ONE was ever satisfied at the shows that were selected. Either they wanted musicals, puff pieces, hard-hitting political message shows...I was proud that Epps did bring the first show to feature a Latino cast on Broadway in "Anna in the Tropics" as well as "Blue" and on and on. It's like anything in life-if you don't like it, you won't see it. Save your racists tones for your tea parties. And I also am curious as are other former employees about the re-organization plan sent to me that Epps and Eich are being paid almost $250,000 during this period while long-time employees and sales staff were shown the door. Munger Tolles has done pro bono work as have several other law firms-the Playhouse is a non-profit. As for the Board, they don't have any say in the selection of shows-that's mostly Epps (I dont' know what collaboration he has with Eich)and the majority of the board didn't really engage with the day to day operations of the theater as this is standard operating procedure for major art institutions. The ones who have been hurt the most besides the ticket holders have been the volunteer organization "The Friends" of the Pasadena Playhouse. They have saved the Playhouse thousands of dollars annually with their work in ushering, cleaning, preservation of the history (along with the Alumni Association). I have a feeling that they have been the ones who have really pushed hard on this. Theater is having a hard time all over, even the almighty Center Theater Group has had to cut back. Fingers crossed that the Playhouse can make it back on track.

Horrific artistic decisions are what KEPT the Playhouse in debt...if they don't want to surrender to the same fate again in a matter of years, the artistic staff will choose 4 solid money-making plays per year to sustain vital income, and then take a gamble on the other 2. This seems to me a much better plan than choosing 6 plays that are a gamble, as the artistic staff inexplicably did year after year (Ok, some years maybe only 4 or 5 were gambles...still too many). Every other regional theatre with over 300 seats in the entire nation practices in this way, so I'm not sure why the artistic staff of the Playhouse thought they could get away with not doing that. If you want to be an art house, move to a 99-seater...then you can do whatever you want. Otherwise (although maybe not the most thrilling artistic choice), they must pander to those who want to see popular works.


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