Monday, March 8, 2010

A leaner North Shore Music Theatre

After reading about a spate of regional theatres shuttering, I'm happy to see one making a comeback.

The North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, Mass., which closed in 2009, has announced its new season under a new owner. William Hanney, who also owns Theatre by the Sea in Matunuck, R.I., bought the bankrupt venue.

The season starts off with Gypsy, July 6-25; followed by Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Aug. 3-22; Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Sept. 21-Oct. 10; A Chorus Line, Nov. 2-21; and A Christmas Carol, Dec. 3-23.

This is good news for actors and theatre fans on the North Shore. Although it may not be such great news for anyone hoping to make a career out of the theatre behind the scenes, with the stability of a full-time job and benefits.

What Hanney told The Boston Globe is understandable given the recession and the North Shore's past financial problems. But it does strikes me as a sad and foreboding commentary on the current economic climate.

"Hanney also said he's not going to hire nearly as many full-time workers as were employed in the theater's last incarnation. (When the theater closed last year, it laid off more than 50 people.) Instead, Hanney imagines supporting six to eight staffers with an ever-changing slate of temporary workers to answer phones and take tickets."

Still, a theatre that's open and employing six to eight people full time is better than one that's closed and employing no one.

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