Theatre Corp. Pulls Out of Management of the Alex : Stage: The firm says it can’t afford the last two of three musicals of the series, affecting 10,000 subscribers.


The Theatre Corp. of America has withdrawn from managing the Alex Theatre in Glendale, leaving 10,000 subscribers to its current three-musical series uncertain about how their remaining tickets will be honored.

Theatre Corp. president David Houk said his company could not afford to produce the last two shows in the current series, but he said he would help the Alex Regional Theatre Board--the city-appointed panel that oversees the recently restored theater--find replacements for them. In the meantime, Alex tickets will also be honored at productions of the Pasadena Playhouse, the Theatre Corp.'s home base, Houk said.

The Alex board had helped finance the first Theatre Corp. production in the current Alex series, “Fashion,” which closed Sunday. But the board was unwilling to help Theatre Corp. finance the other two shows, Houk said.

Asked when he realized that he would have to pull out of the Alex, Houk replied, “when I saw ‘Fashion.’ ” Although he said he “enjoyed” the show, “I had hoped the audience would enjoy it more.”


But “Fashion” is hardly the only reason the Theatre Corp., is exiting. The company spent more than it earned in its first Alex season, which began in January, and it also was afflicted by problems at the Pasadena Playhouse, where the Jan. 17 earthquake cut into ticket sales, Houk said. Theatre Corp. has been retrenching since May, when it canceled its tours of the Alex shows to San Diego and Fresno and Pasadena Playhouse productions to the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara and laid off 44 members of its 130 permanent staff.

“Our plan is to shrink back to the Pasadena Playhouse and concentrate all our efforts there,” Houk said. The city of Pasadena recently loaned Theatre Corp. $200,000 to tide over the Playhouse cash flow while awaiting subscription receipts for its winter/spring season. Houk said Tuesday that the Pasadena subscription drive is meeting expectations and that “I’m doing everything I can to prevent” the collapse of the Theatre Corp. programming in Pasadena.

Other than the Theatre Corp. musicals, scheduled events at the Alex will continue, Houk said.

Alex board member Jim DeMonaco said while Theatre Corp. is “on the hook” to the Alex subscribers, “ethically the board feels obligated to provide subscribers with the quality they bought into, and we are really committed to fulfilling that obligation.” He said that he had talked to at least six organizations that might be able to present substitute shows at the Alex and that a decision should be ready “in a week or two.”