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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Arizona Theatre Company faces judgement day

    Courtesy Tim Fuller
    David Alan Anderson, Kim Staunton, Terry Bellamy, James T. Alfred, and Marcus Naylor in Arizona Theatre Company’s Fences. Photo Courtesy of Tim Fuller.

    The Arizona Theatre Company may or may not open its 50th season this fall. 

    The company, facing imminent financial trouble, needs $2 million in order to begin its six-show season in September.

    The ATC plays a prominent role in the statewide arts and theatre scene, and members from the Tucson and Phoenix communities have come together to save the company with financial pledges.

    As of July 12, ATC’s statewide fundraising effort has already fostered $477,620 from 599 individual donors. Despite the Old Pueblo having about a third of the population of the Phoenix, Tucson donors have collectively raised $227,432 of the total pledges.

    Business leader and ATC board member Mike Kasser has guaranteed $1 million from the Tucson community if the amount can be matched by donation efforts throughout the entire state.

    Pledges continue to pour into to ATC’s website, and out-of-state donations accounted for $15,790 of total funds raised so far. A single anonymous donation of $100,000 helped to extend ATC’s fundraising deadline to July 15.

    “The momentum has been steadily building and we remain cautiously hopeful,” said ATC managing director Billy Russo.

    ATC’s season is slated to kick off with “King Charles III”, running in Tucson at the Temple of Music and Art from Sept. 10 through Sept. 30. The season plans to continue through May of 2017 with five other productions, including Broadway classics “An Act of God” and “Fiddler on the Roof.”

    Lynne Wood Dusenberry, chair of the ATC Board of Trustees, has expressed gratitude to the Tucson and Phoenix communities for their support so far, but she—along with other board members—continues to focus on the impending July 15 deadline.

    “We are encouraged by the response, but know we’re heading into the stretch run next week, and we need to accelerate the momentum,” Dusenberry said.

    Some supporters of ATC remain fearful that efforts to save the company will only last throughout the upcoming season. Board members acknowledge this issue and are working on a long-term plan to sustain the company.

    “Throughout this process, we have been having very serious strategic conversations to ensure that we meet those expectations in terms of cost-effectiveness and efficiency,” Russo said.

    Russo said the board has been optimistic, but without the sufficient funds, ATC’s options will become limited.

    “Either we go on temporary hiatus to restructure the business model, or close our doors,” Russo said. “We are hopeful that the people of Arizona won’t let that happen.”

    To donate to ATC’s cause, visit their website.

    Follow Sean Orth on Twitter.

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