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Duarte Center Theatre Evicted for Not Paying Rent

May 26, 1994|JOE DONNELLY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Duarte Center Theatre has been evicted from its Huntington Drive venue for not paying its rent.

Peter E. Ronay, lawyer for landlord Harry Nazarian, said the recent eviction came after the theater and its directors, Norman and Mary Bowman, did not comply with a rent payment schedule agreed upon after the theater was briefly evicted in January.

At that time, the theater was locked for non-payment of rent since it moved there from Monrovia last summer.

Broadway on Sunset, a Hollywood company, pitched in with the city of Duarte to pay a chunk of the back rent.

As a result, the Duarte Center Theatre opened in March with the acclaimed original musical "American Twistory," in collaboration with the Hollywood theater company. The run ended April 10.

The Duarte City Council spent $4,000 of city money to buy tickets to "Twistory" after the Bowmans asked for $15,000 to help the theater meet its financial obligations, City Manager Jesse Duff said. The city's tickets were resold or distributed to the elderly, convalescent homes and youth groups, Duff said.

But the theater remained unable to pay the rent and vacated the building several weeks ago, Nazarian said. This time, Duff said, the city will not play white knight.

"We just cannot do it," Duff said. "We just don't have the resources to assist. We wish them all the luck in the world. We think they are an asset to the community and we certainly would like them to be successful."

Ronay said his client is trying to recover the property and is not pursuing the back rent.

Mary Bowman declined to comment on the eviction, saying that doing so could jeopardize attempts to keep the theater alive in Duarte. Bowman said the theater enjoyed "a successful season" and that it has "many other plans." Neither side would say what the rental rate is nor how much is owed Nazarian.

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