Monday, May 14, 2007

Curtains for the Firehouse Theater, Part 2.

This little leprechaun died because nobody believed in her.

Honestly, I thought the Firehouse was toast by now. But I got this email from Jeannette, so I am posting it here. Its not too late to save the FHT! I feel like Sally Struthers every time I post one of these.

From Jeanette:
I have only told a few people how precarious the Firehouse's situation is because I didn't want people to give up on us.

The Firehouse has put on 13 shows -- over 90 performances in 11 months.

The lease expired May 12, two days ago, and I pledged that no longer would I pay the theater's losses with my family's money. Our last three shows, "Alice in Wonderland" "Fairy Tales on Mars/Shakespeare..Theory of Relativity" and "Senseless Acts of Comedy" lost money. Of course all our shows lost money, but I was hoping people would come to see "Alice" and "discover" us, but the weather was bad and they didn't.

I took the money we earned in all of last month, about $630, and paid utilities and one week of rent. We are paid to May 19. There is nothing left.

The future looks good if we can only get there. June 7, our summer camp would start, and if we had just 15 registrations it would pay almost 2 months of rent. Until then, though, we have the Asylum Nightmare for two weekends and Hansel and Gretel starting the weekend after. Since "Senseless Acts of Comedy" averaged only $50 per night I can't expect anything more from Asylum or Hansel & Gretel, so I'm expecting $100 a week when we need $400 a week. It is not enough to pay the rent until I cash the camp checks (that I don't have) June 7.

Things that give Hope:
We finally have an independent Improv Troupe of at least 8 talented members. A new bright streetlamp lighting up the building. Two people paying $100 each a month to use the building. Landlords dropped the rent by $200. Rib Room maybe doing dinner theater with us. Another director, Kim McCutchan to produce the occasional show so I can better prepare my next one. Bands that want to do shows here and split the ticket sales. Shows and events planned (Asylum Nightmare, Theater Camp, marching in the New Haven Parade, Hansel & Gretel, Stars & Stripes Forever) and advertised.

But I don't have the rent for the next 3 weeks until camp money comes in. And I don't have 15 camp deposits. I have 1 deposit and 4 promises. If I had 15 deposits, or good strong promises, I could sign the IOU the landlords are willing to take to pay the balance June 7.

So, send me your camp deposits if you want the Firehouse to continue. Contact me immediately because I have to decide immediately. Post-date your checks for June 7, the first day of camp. You'll get it back if we close.

Or promise to buy tickets for Asylum Nightmare, or Hansel and Gretel, or Stars & Stripes if they go up. I need to know money is coming.

Otherwise, tomorrow, Tuesday, I start packing the costumes and props. Wednesday I will announce we we are closing and remove furniture, lumber and light grid, and Thursday I start dismantling the platforms. I'll have to paint some walls and clean the carpets.

I never figured out why people don't come to our shows. A few shows were amateurish at the start, but most were entertaining, funny, interesting, and unique, and at a good price. When audiences are laughing and staying to the end it ought to mean something. But when audience size doesn't build and actors won't buy a ticket to see a show, it is disheartening. I had a lot of fun and enjoyed a lot of friendships, alternating with discouragement, but I sure wish I knew what I was doing wrong to get audiences. That would have made all the difference.

Jeannette Jaquish

Here is info about the camp. Details are at the website:

Firehouse Summer Theater Camp
Thursday, June 7 to June 22, Mon-Fri, 9am to 3:30 pm (after-care until 5pm for $2/half hour.) 12 day camp costs $275 (includes 9 tickets); $240 for additional siblings. $50 deposit. Balance due first day of camp. Lunch included.
"Let's Put On a Show!"
Campers will learn theater basics and put on a show. We will brainstorm ideas for a script with kids learning how to listen and build on others’ ideas. Each camper will write a small section of dialogue, then tied together and filled in by playwright Jeannette Jaquish using everyone’s best ideas. Kids will learn by doing: how to sew costumes, block a scene, set lights, write a press release, design and paint scenery and organize a backstage. They will also learn basic photography and video camera operation.Kids will try their hands at directing and writing dialogue. We will also take a few afternoons off to go swimming at Northside Pool.
~Please call Jeannette at 750-9013 to make your promise, or say you'll mail or drop off the deposit. I need a firm count.~DIRECTORS:Kim McCutchan was a High School Drama Director for 2 high schools for 5 years in Ohio, has 6 years of teaching and directing summer theater camp, and directed several community theaters for 10 years. Jeannette Jaquish runs the Firehouse Theater, and before that, the Shoestring Theater in Fort Wayne, and in Tucson, AZ, at the Red Barn Theater. She has produced over 16 shows and written 9 plays which she offers on her website. Jeannette JaquishFirehouse Theater

(Note from Bob: You can also buy Firehouse Theater merchandise at )

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