New Stage Collective to Close After Seven Seasons

Apr 6, 2009 at 2:18 pm

New Stage Collective has announced it's shutting down operations after presenting Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music April 30-May 8. Producing Artistic Director Alan Patrick Kenny says the musical will be staged at Know Theatre of Cincinnati instead of the company's Main Street space.

In a press release, New Stage trustees are quoted as saying, “We are heartbroken by this painful, difficult decision to cease further operations. The severity of the economic downturn coupled with rapidly diminishing resources made producing another season impossible.”—-

“The support from the community has been spectacular throughout our company’s entire history,” Kenny says in the release. “Unfortunately, we are in a new economic reality. In the past we were able to present amazing works of theatre using incredibly talented artists and very few resources. In this new economic reality, the artistic ideas and the talent remain, but the resources do not. I feel we truly did everything we could to survive, but at the end of the day the board and I made the only responsible decision."

New Stage finished a run of critically-acclaimed Bent yesterday and sent out its press release this morning.

UPDATE: In a phone conversation with CityBeat's contributing editor for theater, Rick Pender, Kenny confirmed that the economy was a huge factor in this decision.

"It affected New Stage specifically," he said, adding that "single ticket sales were way down. We have a small, loyal donor base, but they were not enough to sustain us in these difficult financial times."

Kenny, a Cincinnati native who studied musical theater at New York University, added that he's uncertain about his own next steps, saying he's been focused on identifying the best course for New Stage. He says he's eager to continue doing theater, whether it's in Cincinnati or elsewhere.

Kenny recently was recognized as one of CityBeat's Persons of the Year (along with Over-the-Rhine theater colleagues D. Lynn Meyers of Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati and Jason Bruffy of Know Theatre) for persevering in the face of the economic downturn and bringing soul to the ongoing redevelopment efforts in that neighborhood.

A Little Night Music will star award-winning local actors Bruce Cromer and Amy Warner.

The show that was intended to close New Stage's 2008-09 season, City of Angels, has been canceled. Tickets bought for that show will be honored for all performances of A Little Night Music. Subscribers holding tickets for City of Angels will be honored at Ensemble Theatre’s Don’t Make Me Pull This Show Over (April 29-May 17), Know Theatre’s Vigils (April 11-25) and Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s The Comedy of Errors (running through April 26; see Tom McElfresh's review here).