Letters to the Editor

Centerstage Theatre responds to Tacoma Musical Playhouse letter

We wish to respond to Mr. Jon Rake, who states that at a PRHSPS Committee meeting, Centerstage Director Alan Bryce was “disrespectful” and showed he “would not be willing to work with Tacoma Musical Playhouse.” We were there. Mr. Bryce, who was passionate but polite, neither said nor implied that he would not work with TMP. Throughout the entire request for proposal (RFP) process, Centerstage has never attacked or impugned anyone, but has only championed the cause of live theater in the city.

Mr. Rake claims that we do not work well with other arts organizations. Who? The only organizations Centerstage has worked closely with in recent years are ACT Theatre, whose letter of recommendation was read at the meeting, Broadway Center for the Performing Arts and Theatre Puget Sound. We have no doubt that the experience was positive for all these groups.

Four years ago, Centerstage first proposed that we manage, not rent, the Knutzen Family Theatre. As manager, Centerstage will save itself $60,000 in rent, office rental and in other ways. In recent years, Centerstage’s deficit, resulting from the rental arrangement, was covered by grants from the Federal Way Arts Commission and the City Manager’s Contingency Fund. Centerstage could not operate under the old arrangement without these grants, which for three years we gratefully accepted, but lobbied against, in favor of management.

In 2008, no grant was awarded, leaving us financially exposed.

That Centerstage will be forced out of business if we do not win the contract is no secret to anyone except Mr. Rake. That he should choose to re-interpret the truth, and accuse Centerstage of a lack of commitment to the community, is an error. Mr. Bryce was accurately describing the situation Centerstage faces. He “threatened” nothing.

Commitment? TMP proposed to pay its employees $112,000 from the Knutzen’s budget, with one part-timer working 20 hours a week on site. Centerstage will bring its current staff of two full-time workers and one part-time worker; a publicist; Seattle Scenic studios as technical director; plus a board of local business leaders and over 150 volunteers.

Sincerely,

Chad Stalder, president; Cindy Ducich, president-elect, Centerstage Theatre

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