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Community Digest

Santa Fe Springs

January 17, 1985

The City Council has authorized $10,000 in funds and services for the Community Theater Program, now in its fourth year of operation. The appropriation--down $16,0000 from last year's theater budget of $26,000--includes $5,000 in direct funding to the program and $5,000 in publicity services and personnel, said Gus Velasco, assistant city manager for community services. City staff members will help raise corporate funds for the program, he said.

Last year, the program, which is under contract to the city, spent $10,000 each on children's productions of "The Sound of Music" and "Grease" and $6,000 on an adult production of "Cactus Flower," Velasco said. Tickets were sold for $3 each and the productions "were never intended to break even," he said.

The adult program drew a total of only about 70 people for each performance, Velasco said.

A city survey of nine theater programs in surrounding cities showed that none received direct funding from their cities, he said. Most of the programs were funded through fund-raisers, corporate support and sales of more expensive tickets, he said.

Unique to Santa Fe Springs' theater program is a requirement that 90% of the children's and 60% of the adult cast and crew members be residents.

Community theater producer Tom Hut said the $10,000 appropriation from the city will be used to produce "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" in May. To help the program survive through the season, ticket prices will be increased to $5, and season tickets will be offered, Hut said. There will be an extra show this season, and seats will be added for all performances. The musicals "West Side Story" and "South Pacific" will be offered in the summer, and the season will end with "Bye Bye Birdie" in April, 1986.

"We have to sell out," Hut said. "If we can't make it this year, we can't make it at all . . . If the community feels (theater) is important to them, we're going to need their help."

Hut, who teaches music with the Little Lake City School District, said 60% of the funds for the program go for salaries of the producer and director and such personnel as choreographers, musicians, carpenters and security guards. An estimated 40% of the program's budget is spent on costume and lighting rentals and construction materials for the sets, Hut said.

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