Saturday, March 28, 2009

Big cutbacks at Seattle Rep; next season announced

The Seattle Times reported Friday that the Seattle Repertory Theatre is cutting its budget by more than a third for next season -- whacking $3.5 million from a $10 million budget. They'll do it by going to a four-day work week for many employees, running fewer shows, and fewer performances of the ones they stage. They can't draw from their endowment next year; its value has dipped below the $14 million original principal. Subscription sales are down, too.

The budget announcement came hand-in-hand with the release of the Rep's 2009-10 season. The lineup includes a couple of sure winners. Warner Shook will direct a production of Noel Coward's Hay Fever (in Weisenheimer's view, Shook can do no wrong) and they'll also stage August Wilson's Fences next spring. They'll reach into the familiar with David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross, and hook up with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to co-produce Equivocation, which is running in Ashland at OSF this year.

It's interesting that the way to cut the budget is to do fewer shows -- less product. You'd think they should do more. But as they say, your ticket doesn't pay the full cost of the production.

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