Philadelphia's Prince Music Theater to Officially Close on November 30
The Board of Directors of the American Music Theater Festival, operating as the Prince Music Theater, announced today that it plans to close its doors on November 30, 2014 unless new donors step forward or another funding source is secured. Despite a successful 2013 season with sell-out performances, international press, and significant growth under new leadership, the Prince will have difficulty raising money since its chief fundraiser and Chairman of the Board, Herb Lotman, passed away unexpectedly in May.
"It is with tremendous sadness that we make this announcement today," said Karen Lotman, donor and longtime board member.
"Herb and I poured our hearts and souls into the theater and loved watching it grow. More than 60,000 people visited this year, but we need a new champion and donor for the organization to move forward," Lotman said.
The Board of Directors is seeking new funders to raise approximately $1.6 million needed to operate the theater and support a programming schedule for the 2014/2015 season. The Prince will honor all commitments and continue ongoing operations until the end of November. If the Board is not able to obtain new donors before that time, it will officially close its doors.
Since reopening post-bankruptcy in August 2013, the Prince has held over 200 performances, film presentations and events with programming highlights including the reestablishment of a sold out cabaret series, residencies from the Curtis Institute of Music and The Philadelphia Gay Men's Chorus, and the debut of the first "must-see" shows of the Philadelphia season, Evil Dead: The Musical and the family holiday hit POTTED POTTER - The Unauthorized Harry Experience.
Under the leadership of the Board and James E. Hines, hired as executive director in February 2013, the theater's mission has expanded to include a wide variety of programming featuring theater, cabaret, music, comedy, family performances, film presentations and arts education events. Prior to bankruptcy, the theater was focused on curating new musical theater productions.
"Part of the plan was to restore the business and we successfully achieved our goals," said Hines, Executive Director. "The critical part of the plan moving forward involved Mr. Lotman spearheading a fundraising campaign. Unfortunately, his death did not allow that to move forward. His business relationships were key for the institution's success as they were integral for completing our first year," said Hines.
Herb and Karen Lotman, prominent philanthropists behind arts and culture in Philadelphia, raised the theater from bankruptcy in January 2013. Mr. Lotman took on the role of chairman, restructured the Board of Directors, and launched a fundraising initiative to successfully restore the Prince as a premier theater in the city.
Founded in 1984 as the American Music Theater Festival, the Prince Music Theater has built a reputation as one of Philadelphia's premier performance venues. It is a world class performing arts center with a mission to present and cultivate an exceptional range of high-quality performing arts, film and other programs that engage, entertain and educate diverse audiences. The Prince bringsdistinctive cultural experiences to Greater Philadelphia and supports the finest artists and companies, both locally-based and international, in order to enhance Philadelphia's vibrancy as a renowned cultural center.