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Pasadena Playhouse raises $2 million through matching grant, announces new fundraiser

December 9, 2010 |  6:36 pm

Playhouse The Pasadena Playhouse announced Thursday that it has successfully raised $2 million as part of its attempt to regain solid financial footing after closing its mainstage in February. The company, which has recently begun producing shows again, also said that it is launching a new campaign to raise another $2 million.

Organizers of the Pasadena Playhouse said that it raised $2 million as a result of a challenge inspired by anonymous donors’ $1 million matching grant. Artistic director Sheldon Epps said in a statement that the money represents a "commitment from our board and our supporters, that assures us that we have a strong and exciting future."

The Pasadena Playhouse emerged from bankruptcy in July, after a court in Los Angeles approved the theater company's plans for reorganization. Prior to closing its mainstage in February, the company had been operating under crushing debt that at one point stood at $2.3 million.

In October, the playhouse started producing new shows, though they have so far been modestly scaled productions. Ed Asner starred in the solo play "FDR" and Leslie Uggams is currently performing her autobiographical musical "Uptown Downtown." In January, the playhouse is scheduled to open "Dangerous Beauty," a world premiere musical based on the 1998 movie of the same title.

Still missing from the playhouse is an official announcment of a full season. The company cut short its 2010 season in February, axing a few planned world premiere productions, including "Havana," with a book by Pulitzer Prize-winner Nilo Cruz and songs by Frank Wildhorn and Jack Murphy.

The new $2-million campaign is named Fund the Future. According to the playhouse, the new money raised will support opportunities for the company’s "advancements including expansion of the next generation of theatre audiences."

-- David Ng

Photo: a view of the courtyard of the Pasadena Playhouse. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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