Colony Theatre’s Future Secure After Securing Major Grant

By On July 11, 2013

After a difficult year, The Colony Theatre announced that is moving ahead with a new season. This is a result of support from subscribers and the theatre community, underwriting for the last two shows of its 2012-13 Season, and a major grant from the Marilyn P. & Wayne H. Kohl Memorial Fund.

According to Artistic Director Barbara Beckley, “The overwhelming generosity of our subscribers and colleagues kept us alive; an anonymous supporter loaned us the funds to mount the last two shows of the season ─ including our surprise hit “Falling for Make Believe;” and now the grant has made it possible for us to keep going.”  Adds Executive Director Trent Steelman, “Wayne and Marilyn Kohl were longtime subscribers who passed away.  Their family foundation honored their wish to support the theatre in a significant way, and provided seed money for our 2013-14 season.  Needless to say, we are relieved and incredibly grateful.”

Last October, the 38-year-old, award-winning theatre announced that financial challenges had put its future in jeopardy, citing the economic downturn that began in 2008 as the cause of reduced charitable support and audience size, which culminated in a crippling budget shortfall.  The theatre launched an emergency “Save the Colony” campaign which generated an outpouring of support, enabling it to stay open for the time being.

“Our nightmare was leaving subscribers holding tickets they couldn’t use, so we were very happy we were able to complete the season,” says Beckley.  “But our future was still in doubt. And then the Kohl grant came through which changed everything!”  Cautions Steelman: “We will still rely on subscriptions, ticket sales, and the generosity of our donors.  However, in these times it’s just not enough.  We didn’t want to announce a season until we were sure we could deliver it ─ and, happily, the grant has filled the funding gap.”

THE COLONY’S 2013-14 SEASON

The Colony’s 2013-14 Season will begin in September with the West Coast Premiere of Breath and Imagination: The Story of Roland Hayes by Daniel Beaty. This will be followed in November by the West Coast Premiere of Miracle on South Division Street by Tom Dudzick.  It will continue in February with Sex and Education by Lissa Levin starring Stephanie Zimbalist. And it will wrap up with the April opening of The Lion in Winter by James Goldman, starring Ian Buchanan and Mariette Hartley.

BREATH AND IMAGINATION: The Story of Roland Hayes  by Daniel Beaty

September 14 – October 13, 2013  West Coast Premiere!

Long before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, before Hattie McDaniel won an Oscar for the role of Mammy in “Gone with the Wind” or the Tuskegee Airmen won honors as black pilots in World War Two, Roland Hayes made history as the first world-renowned African-American classical singer.  The son of slaves, he grew up in poverty on a Georgia plantation.  As a man, he headlined at Carnegie Hall and sang for kings and queens of Europe, blazing a path for Paul Robeson, Marian Anderson, and countless others who came after.  Discover how the gift of his father’s pocket watch sets him on his remarkable journey to greatness in this extraordinary, inspiring play filled with music.

MIRACLE ON SOUTH DIVISION STREET   by Tom Dudzick  

November 9 – December 15, 2013   West Coast Premiere!

Meet the Nowaks of Buffalo, NY.  They have always known they were special, ever since the night Clara’s father, an immigrant from war-torn Poland, had a miraculous vision in his barbershop.  Keeping the faith nearly 65 years later in their gritty, deteriorating neighborhood are Clara and her grown children: Jimmy, a garbage collector, Bev, a ketchup bottler, and Ruth, who would be a struggling actress if she could only get a part.  But now Ruth has stopped going to mass, Jimmy is dating a Jewish girl, and a deathbed confession causes the family legend to unravel with unexpectedly dramatic results.  A marvelous new comedy about family, faith, and adjusting to life’s surprises, by the celebrated author of Over the Tavern.

SEX AND EDUCATION   by Lissa Levin   Starring Stephanie Zimbalist

February 15 – March 16, 2014

Before texting, facebooking, and tweeting became the preferred mode of communication for young people, there was writing notes.  Remember passing them in high school?  Remember how it felt to get caught?  OMG!  Meet Miss Edwards, a high school English teacher on the last day of a long teaching career.  And meet Joe Marks, a basketball star whose college scholarship is suddenly in jeopardy when his attempt to pass his girlfriend a profanity-laced, sexually charged note, dripping with hormones and misplaced modifiers, is intercepted by Miss Edwards during a final exam.  With nothing to lose as she bids farewell to her teaching career, Miss Edwards puts an unorthodox approach to the test, using the note to teach him a lesson in English composition, and to see if she can light an intellectual flame under one last underachiever.

THE LION IN WINTER   by James Goldman   Starring Ian Buchanan and Mariette Hartley

April 19 – May 7, 2014

Epic and intimate, brilliantly funny and deeply moving, The Lion in Winter plays out the spectacular strategies for power and love between two of England’s most formidable and most human rulers, King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.  As the sun sets on his reign, the great and powerful Henry Plantagenet calls Eleanor to the castle at Chinon for one last Winter Court, along with their three crown-hungry sons – the warrior Richard, the conniving Geoffrey, and the bumble-headed John.  Locked behind the palace doors, a deadly game of alliances and betrayals unfolds as each of the players moves to control who will sit on the throne when Henry is gone – a battle that will determine the future of an empire.