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LA MIRADA : Theater Group Faces Eviction Over Back Rent

The La Mirada Playhouse, a community theater group, will be locked out of the city-run Theatre for the Performing Arts next month unless it pays overdue rent.

The group owes the city $30,000.

The City Council has agreed to allow the amateur players to perform in February because tickets to a show have been sold. But after the group stages “Two and Two Make Sex,” it will have to find a new hall.

“We are just the landlord, and they haven’t been able to pay the rent,” said Councilman Wayne Rew.

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La Mirada will absorb any losses, said City Manager Gary Sloan. No legal action is planned.

If the playhouse can pay its debts, the council may allow another playhouse show to go on as scheduled in June. But the group probably won’t be able to raise the money, playhouse director Yolanda Robinson said.

The council first considered evicting the group in October, but hours before a council meeting Robinson delivered a $14,000 check to pay some of the back rent.

Robinson pledged to trim the budget by reducing costs and employing volunteers. But the playhouse has since failed to lower the debt significantly, city officials said.

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The group has not decided whether it will fold or search for a new performance space, Robinson said.

The playhouse, which usually produces about four Broadway-style shows a season, attributes the financial problems to sagging ticket sales. Revenue from season tickets dropped from $186,000 in 1990 to $126,000 for the 1994-95 season.

Robinson, director for 33 of the group’s 35 years, has announced that she will retire at the end of the season.


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