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Theater fundraising on track
May 28, 2012, 05:00 AM By Michelle Durand Daily Journal Staff
Three months after Broadway By the Bay asked the public for help erasing a financial deficit, the Peninsula theater staple says fundraising is right on track but ongoing to meet a $500,000 goal.

Executive Director Jim Gardia wouldn’t reveal exactly how much the company has raised so far but said he and the board of directors is extremely pleased by the amount and overwhelmed by the outpouring of community support.

"We are doing much better. This campaign has really helped and the community has really stepped up to the plate to keep the lights on and keep the audience applauding,” Gardia said.

However, the company’s need is not yet gone and Gardia said it is still hoping a desire to help — not to mention a bill of exciting upcoming shows — will keep donations and patrons coming in.

The theater company launched its "SOS — Save Our Shows” in February with a year deadline of reaching a half-million dollars to eliminate an existing deficit and create a cushion for future seasons. Gardia emphasized the nonprofit theater had no plans of shutting down or skimping on quality but would rather tell the public of its need than risk either. Gardia said the deficit was created in part because the family-friendly ticket pricing doesn’t fully cover the cost of production and the current economy which has hit the arts community hard nationwide.

The cost of each show varies but overall ticket sales only cover 50 percent to 60 percent of operating costs, Gardia said.

The remainder of funding comes from donations.

The theater grew out of a San Mateo Recreation Department program known as "Music Camp” during the 1950s. Over time, the program grew, eventually renamed "Broadway By the Bay” in 1999, and serving nearly 4,000 season subscribers and more than 5,000 single-show ticket sales for each production. Last year, the theater moved to the Fox Theatre in Redwood City.

Since its campaign launch, Gardia said the theater seats have been pretty full which he chalks up both to a resurgence in patronage and the offer of student rush tickets this season for only $20.

"We have more people in the audience than ever,” he said.

The theater just finished a production of Hairspray. The 2012 season next includes The Marvelous Wonderettes July 12 to July 29, A Chorus Line Sept. 20 to Oct. 7 and Broadway By the Year Nov. 8 to Nov. 11.

To donate, call 579-5565 or visit www.broadwaybythebay.org. Shows are performed at the Fox Theatre, 2215 Broadway, Redwood City. The box office and administration can be reached at 579-5565 or www.broadwaybythebay.org

Michelle Durand can be reached by email: michelle@smdailyjournal.com or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 102.

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