A Little “Green” Needed for Red Ink on Stages in Connecticut

The tight economy appears to be taking center stage at some Connecticut performing arts organizations.

Among those feeling the economic pinch is the Thomaston Opera House which has had more than its fair share of bad luck this year. 

The opera house's debt had been rising and that has Thomaston town officials concerned.

Currently playing in the theater - "It's A Wonderful Life" - but inside the offices, things are not turning out quite so good.

The town-run theater has a debt of $148 thousand, prompting town officials to look at making changes to trim costs.

"It's a shortfall that we have every year at this time.  Going into December and the beginning of the New Year is when a large amount of our revenues come in," explained Jeffrey Dunn, Executive Director of the Opera House.

The Opera House has faced its share of tough times this year including a sprinkler pipe that broke in July and a partial ceiling collapse last month, both forcing it to close a short time.

Dunn said those incidents cost big bucks.  He pointed out that grant money, insurance payments and other revenue streams will help cover the red ink.

"When you're looking at the checkbook balance as of right now, it's low, but we did notice as the box office reopened our sales soared and have surpassed where they normally are at this time," Dunn said.

The Thomaston Opera house is not alone in singing the blues around the state. A number of performance centers are impacted by the recession.

"Things are okay.  They could be better.  We're definitely feeling the pinch of a slow turning economy," offered Frank Tavera, with the Palace Theater in Waterbury.

Tavera said state support declines in times like these and theaters often see donations and corporate sponsorships drop, along with ticket sales.

"This isn't bread and butter so this is a specialty item for them so they have to make choices and they're doing so by figuring out how they're going to spend their dollars," Tavera added.

Tavera said the show must go on and he said the crowds will be back. "It's because people need to escape.  They need to get away."

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