Letters to the Editor

Centerstage proposal goes before city council | Federal Way letters

By CHAD STALDER and ROGER WOOD, Centerstage Theatre board of trustees

The City of Federal Way is currently considering Centerstage’s proposal to manage the Knutzen Family Theatre.

The city has now acknowledged that Centerstage’s proposal would save the taxpayers approximately $18,000 each year. The Arts Commission has recommended instead that Centerstage receive an additional annual subsidy of $50,000. This is not Centerstage’s preferred position. The City Council will rule on the matter on Nov. 18.

Meanwhile, Centerstage is spreading its wings. In addition to its regularly-scheduled season at the Knutzen Family Theatre, the Federal Way company will be taking its productions to two other major theatres in the region.

In December, after running “Aladdin” for 13 performances at the Knutzen Family Theatre, the show will move to the Theatre On The Square in Tacoma for four additional performances.

And in February 2009, Centerstage will move this season’s smash hit, “Always…Patsy Cline” to ACT Theatre, one of Seattle’s premier theatres, for a four-week run.

Since December of last year, Centerstage has produced the three top-selling shows in its history. The other play in the season, “Nightmare of a Married Man,” won the Best New Play of the Year Award from the Tacoma News Tribune.

The moves to venues outside the Federal Way area are not a signal that Centerstage is planning to leave Federal Way.

However, the current economic climate has drawn into sharp focus the fact that our relationship with the city has to be redesigned to address the economic realities of operating a professional theatre company in a smaller market like Federal Way. If these realities are not addressed, then Centerstage has no recourse but to consider its options.

Peggy LaPorte, Arts Commission chair, said: “In my estimation, it would be a great travesty if Centerstage had to shut down, or move to another city.”

Chad Stalder is president of the Centerstage Theatre board of trustees. Roger Wood is vice president of the board of trustees.

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