by Mike Bookey
In the issue of the paper currently on the streets, we told you about the upcoming Coeur d'Alene Summer Theatre production of 9 to 5: The Musical and how excited the organization was for that staging, which opens on Thursday night.
Well, as of this morning, CDA Summer Theatre says that this could be their last production ever.
Faced with less-than-stellar ticket sales this summer, executive director Michelle Mendez says that unless things turn around with 9 to 5, in addition to an influx of donated cash, the professional summer theater, which has been operating since 1967, will close its doors.
"By the end of the month, we will have a good idea as to whether people care enough for us to continue. We need donations and we need to know if people want to come next year," Mendez told The Inlander today.
Local theater fans are likely reading this right now and saying, "hmm, this sounds familiar" because it does. Interplayers Theatre in Spokane made a similar plea earlier this year. That theater raised enough money to continue on.
Mendez says this isn't a ploy to raise money. This is serious, she says.
"It’s not a warning. This is definitely what's happening. We have never done this before," says Mendez. "We’ve taken donations. But we’ve never said, 'If we don’t get your money, we might not continue.'"
Coeur d'Alene Summer Theatre, a nonprofit organization that hosts four shows each summer and features a professional cast from around the country, generates about 98 percent of its revenue with ticket sales. The other two percent comes from small grants and donation, Mendez says.
Some of the shows they've brought in this year have cost as much as $100,000.
The theater company's website currently features a massive "donate" button, which is a not-so-subtle hint of what they'd like you to do. In the meantime, they will hold off from announcing any shows for next season.