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McGillis to Appear in Garden Grove Event

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Kelly McGillis, recently appointed to the board of the Grove Shakespeare Festival, will participate in a “readers’ theater” fund-raising event on July 30 at the Festival Amphitheatre in Garden Grove.

McGillis and others from the troupe will read excerpts of speeches by their favorite Shakespearean characters, said Grove executive vice president Barbara Hammerman. The evening’s format will be decided next week, Hammerman said.

Hammerman noted that McGillis, who also will be honorary chairperson for the event, may invite other actors from the Hollywood community to participate but that prospects remain vague. “We would love to have one or two other artists of note,” said Hammerman.

The Grove, which launches its 12th season this weekend with Moliere’s “The Miser,” has projected a $717,000 budget for 1990. The theater troupe already has encountered a cash-flow shortage, Hammerman said, chiefly because there has been no box-office income for more than three months. The final show of last season, “Twelfth Night,” closed on Feb. 3.

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“We’ve basically had a cash shortage since the summer of 1988,” said artistic director Thomas F. Bradac, who heads a salaried staff of only five full-time employees, including himself and Hammerman. “We’ve been in a ‘fallout mode’ ever since we lost our financial support from our partnership with Rancho Santiago College and from the city.”

The college had provided $105,000 in goods and services, such as scene shop facilities, salaries for designers, and program printing, Bradac said. The Garden Grove City Council had provided $87,000 in an annual cash subsidy, but that has been phased down to less than $30,000.

Hammerman emphasized, however, that the Grove is not in any deep fiscal trouble. She said its current subscription drive has kept pace with last season’s, drawing more than 1,700 season ticket holders so far. The goal is 2,500, about 300 more than last year’s record high of 2,200.

In the meantime, the Grove has begun negotiations with the City Council to obtain a five-year lease of both the indoor, 172-seat Gem and the outdoor, 550-seat amphitheater. Currently, the city leases the facilities to the Grove on an annual basis. Hammerman said an extended lease would not only provide the theater troupe with greater security but also help other fund-raising efforts by assuring potential contributors that the troupe has the long-term support of its community.

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