Proud New Orleans actor, member AEA. 20 year career in New Orleans creating award-winning roles in dozens of New Orleans premieres. Creator of Prof. Carl…
AEA NOLA, Equity New Orleans, musical theatre, New Orleans premiere, New Orleans Theatre, Vatican Lokey
Concerned Thespian, you performed in a single production at Le Petit, and at no time in the theatre's history has Children's Corner ever been referred to as 'the black box.' Neither has there been any inconsistencies in the seasons at the theatre; Le Petit has regularly presented entire seasons on the Mainstage (again, no one refers to the Mainstage as 'the auditorium') uninterrupted since the 1962 reconstruction. Children's Corner sat unused for 18 months during the final tenure of the late Keith Briggs in the late 1990s, but was reopened after his departure and returned to regular season presentations.
In all of this, there is no guarantee of patrons, only the possibility that Brennan's patrons will have the opportunity to attend the theatre. The latest offer from Mr. Solomon allows for the building to remain intact, receive the repairs, leave the theatre in the control of the Board, and guarantees 5 years of non-interest bearing forbearance on the mortgage with the possibility of another 5 year extension & ample money for production costs. All the Board of Governors have to do is their primary job: raise money.
Your experience concerning Le Petit Theatre is exceedingly limited. If you would like to compare with my history at Le Petit beginning with "Applause" in 1992 and ending with "Forbidden Broadway" last November , go here: http://www.stageclick.com/person.aspx?id=2…
The Guild & subscribers of Le Petit, and a large percentage of the theatre community who have donated countless years of time, talent, & personal finances to LPT are working unceasingly to keep the sitting Board from making the biggest mistake in the theatre's history. The combination of verifiable inaccuracies in their recent statements concerning the history of Le Petit, the complete lack of transparency, the deliberate obfuscation on the details of the Brennan deal, and the revelations on the details of the philanthropic offers being made by Dr. Eric George & former managing director Gary Solomon Jr. (both of whom have proffered complete transparency on their offers at every turn) make every movement on this exclusive & so-called 'premature revelation to the media' arrangement suspect.
The actions of the Board actively dismiss these historic contributions. The Board has shown incontrovertibly that their ill-advised recommendations to sell & their inexorable control over the remaining 40% at any cost is the main focus of their actions.
For the last 20 years, through good times & bad, even before I came to the city in 1991 I have supported Le Petit Theatre and its vital place in the history of the city & the nation as a whole. I learned about LPT at Ole Miss under the tutelage of the late Dr. Larry Kadlec; 3 years before I made New Orleans my permanent home. I have worked on over 20 productions at the theatre since then, including an entire season serving as the theatre's box office manager & house publicist. I have an intimate familiarity with how the theatre works and the essential needs of the productions mounted there. The line of so-called reasoning from the vocal members of the Board is filled with inconsistencies, a complete disregard for the practical concerns of the realities of working in the space, and a specious line of reasoning that somehow incorporates New York theater into this equation. With all respects to New York and their remarkable ability to adapt to the most cramped & inhospitable conditions, we are New Orleanians--we not only expect, but demand better facilities because it is an inherent part of our heritage as Southerners & citizens of The Crescent: just as the Board of 1961 no doubt felt when they redesigned & acquired full control of the entirety of today's Le Petit Theatre.
There are better offers out there. We should be discussing the best of the best, rather than fighting the worst suggestion possible. I can only hope that there will eventually emerge from this debacle a united front of dedicated LPT caretakers who will recognize the remarkably irreplaceable assets the theatre currently possesses and not view these assets as merely salable objects, but as priceless & timeless valuables essential to the theatre's continued growth.
It is very sad that the Board of Governors of Le Petit Theatre have had to be forced into court by the Guild & the season ticket holders to resolve this dreadful situation. Let us all hope that this will become a positive event: that it will open up the rest of the offers to full disclosure with the Guild and that a better compromise can be reached than cleaving off more than half of the theatre's assets to be sold for another unnecessary restaurant.
Bravo to Guild President Jim Walpole for standing not only for Le Petit Theatre, but for the fine facility given to everyone by the previous members of the Board who, in their wisdom answered the need for more room.
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