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FCLO Music Theatre returns with outdoor 'Skyroom'

June 29, 2011 |  9:00 am

FCLOSkyroom The venerable FCLO Music Theatre is back on the boards in Fullerton, albeit on a much smaller scale, after a cash crisis last year forced it to hand off its 2011 season in 1,300-seat Plummer Auditorium to another producer.

While 3D Theatricals stages musicals at Plummer  (“Always … Patsy Cline” is next, opening July 15), FCLO has returned with shows-under-the-stars at a new, 150-seat venue it has set up in what used to be the parking lot behind its downtown Fullerton headquarters. It’s called, fittingly enough, the Skyroom, and offers a dinner-show format.

The first production, “The Rat Pack Revisited,” closed a three-week run last weekend; “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” (July 7-24) and “Las Vegas Live!” (Aug. 4-21) continue the summer season, with performances Thursday through Sunday evenings.

“Rat Pack” started slow but was selling out by the end of its run, said Griff Duncan, who has led FCLO with his wife, Jan, since 1972. The long-range plan is to combine earnings from the Skyroom and revenues from the costume- and set-rental business that long has helped sustain the nonprofit company, add in some fundraising, and reemerge in a bigger venue.

First, Duncan said, about $78,0000 in back rent on Plummer Auditorium needs to be paid off. Larry King headlined a benefit for FCLO in February, and the next one will be a 40th-anniversary bash Jan. 28-29 at Plummer that will feature performers from the company’s past.

The bigger venue Duncan has his eye on is not Plummer Auditorium but the historic, 800-seat Fox Theater, closed since 1987 but now, after many delays, being renovated by a nonprofit foundation with boosts from a $2-million state grant and a $6-million loan from Fullerton. It’ll probably be at least a year before FCLO will be in a financial position to do big shows again, Duncan said — and he hopes that when it is, the 82-year-old Fox will be looking for tenants. Meanwhile, if the Skyroom prospers, there’s a possibility of extending its offerings beyond the summer.

RELATED

Larry King returns -- on stage, not TV -- for cash-short FCLO Music Theatre

A new company (with Sally Struthers) steps in for ailing Fullerton musical theater group

Restoring the Fox Theatre

— Mike Boehm

Photo: FCLO Music Theatre's new Skyroom outdoor venue in Fullerton. Credit: FCLO Music Theatre.

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