The Prince Music Theater will close its doors in November unless new donors raise nearly $2 million to keep the it open, officials announced today.
The new funds needed — about $1.6 million — would allow Prince to operate the theater and support a programming schedule for the 2014-2015 season.
James E. Hines, who took over as executive director in February 2013, described the decision as a “responsible” way of ensuring the theater stays open beyond the date.
“We don’t feel comfortable that we are going to be able to achieve what we need to,” Hines said. “So we decided to pick a date to close because we don’t want to put anybody in a position where we don’t have the funding to continue.”
The theater has had difficulty raising funds since the death of Herb Lotman, Prince’s chairman and chief fundraiser, in May. As chairman, Lotman created a new board of directors and initiated fundraising efforts throughout the year. Lotman’s efforts also helped the Prince Theater reopen in August 2013 after emerging from bankruptcy.
Since then, Prince held more than 200 performances and events including residencies from the Curtis Institute of Music and The Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus, a sold-out cabaret series and the debut of shows such as “Evil Dead: The Musical” and “POTTED POTTER – The Unauthorized Harry Experience.”
“Herb and I poured our hearts and souls into the theater and loved watching it grow,” Karen Lotman, a board member, said in a statement. “We need a new champion and donor for the organization to move forward.”
Hines said the Board of Directors is entertaining anyone who wants to come in as a leader to support the theater.
“We need someone who has the financial means to help support it," Hines said, "plus who also has the business relationship to help support it and who also wants to take over the reigns of the institution as chairman.”
Hines believes the theater has a “strong connection” to the people in Philadelphia due to its “unique space” and the “capability for a lot of different type of events from film to musicals to concerts.”
“Everybody appreciates that the building has the capability of curating in theater and giving back to the public,” Hines said.
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