Theater fighting for its life

Deseret News, 12 February 2004

Article Summary:

On 13 March 2004, the Grove Theatre will hold an Extreme Arts benefit event in an effort to help save the theater.  On morning of March 12, actors, directors, and writers will come together to write, script and cast five original half-hour shows for the evening performance the next day.  

"Actors will be asked to show up in a costume with a prop of their choice. They will be divided into groups with the theater supplying a set piece such as a couch or a lamp or a mirror for each.  A playwright will then use his group of actors, the props and the single set piece to create a script."

The Grove Theater has been in financial peril since Neil Simon withdrew permission for the theater to produce his play "Rumors" without the swear words.  The theater did not have a backup show ready and had spent several thousand dollars in production costs and promotion.  A $20,000 "nest egg" that the owners had set aside was depleted as the theater sat dark for a number of weeks.

"There is no money left for advertising and promotion and ticket sales, for the show itself contains very little profit margin. Most of the profit comes from food sales, and a lot of Utah County theatergoers seem more interested in the shows than in the buffet dinners that are sold along with the shows . . ."

Owners Gayliene Omary and Jan Shelton hope to defray production and operating costs by converting to a nonprofit entity so they can apply for grants and funding from state and federal arts programs.