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Offering a fresh way of helping you keep up with art and entertainment happenings around the Capital District.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

arts mergers

It was announced earlier this week that Proctors in Schenectady is taking control of all of Albany's Capital Repertory Theater's administrative functions. This is major news.

Philip Morris will be the CEO of both Proctors and Capital Rep. Maggie Mancinelli -Cahill will continue as Capital Rep's artistic director but will report to Morris.

Morris was vague about how much control he would exert over programming, instead he focused on complimenting the good job Mancinelli-Cahill has done with the artistic mission of the theater. We'll see. He did insist that Cap Rep would stay a producing house creating all their own shows, while Proctors would continue to present shows produced by others.

This is, on the surface, a good thing. Capital Rep has been in financial trouble seemingly forever. A couple of years ago they sold for $900,000 the building on Orange Street in which they rehearsed and built sets. Today there are in worse financial shape then they were then and they don't own the building.

This kind of thing scares off corporations and private donors because it looks like they are throwing money down a sewer. A lot of organizations are willing to rescue a struggling arts organization but few want to enable fiscal problems and help pay off continuing debt that will never be retired.

Morris believes that this move will signal to those potential givers that a new day has arrived and their contributions will lead to financial stability for Capital Rep. I hope he's right. Capital Rep stands to save $200,000 a year from this reorganization, plus they will get added advertising and promotional clout by being part of the giant Proctors entertainment machine.

Indeed, it sounds so good it might be the wave of the future. Morris dreams of a future where there are the same number of arts organizations operating in the area but being managed by a few super managing organizations.

Last spring Troy Music Hall was in intense negotiations with the Egg to take over their booking, and other administrative duties. The deal fell through at the last minute. The Troy Music Hall is currently conducting a national search for a new Executive Director. Let's hope the Egg is part of that search. It makes a lot of sense.


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