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Sunday, November 23, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 48.0° F  Light Rain Fog/Mist
The Daily
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Madison Repertory Theatre owes half a million
Theater company cancels performances

Madison Repertory Theatre is roughly $500,000 in debt. It needs $300,000 just to finish a reduced season.

The Rep announced Friday that it is canceling April's production of My Fair Lady. The company has postponed to unnamed dates its New Play Festival and a production of True West.

A recent fund drive netted nearly $50,000, enough to get the Rep through its production of Bus Stop. Attendance was good, but debts to Overture Center for the Arts claimed box office proceeds.

The total debt is variable because "it depends on what we do," says Trevin Gay, producing artistic director. Complicating the situation are project grants the Rep earlier received for remaining shows this season. "If we don't produce one or both of those shows, we'd have to return that money," he says.

The Rep has several loans with M&I Bank, including a $150,000 credit line and a $200,000 guaranteed loan. The theater has around $100,000 in outstanding payables, as well as subscriber liabilities - the cost of tickets already purchased. A half-million in debt is "a good rough estimate," Gay says.

Six employees have been dismissed, and another six are on "temporary layoff," leaving an accountant and Gay. The Rep underwent reorganization and raised funds aggressively in 2004, after debt had mounted to $300,000.

Madison Rep is soliciting donations at

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