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Pasadena Playhouse gets large gift

October 14, 2008|Mike Boehm

Hemingway could provide the arts-and-finance headline out of Pasadena on Monday: "To Have and Have Not."

The Pasadena Playhouse announced that an anonymous donor has stepped up with $3 million, the largest gift in its history. It rings down the curtain on a five-year capital campaign that raised $11 million, exceeding the goal by $2.5 million. Nearly $6 million has gone into an endowment for maintenance, administrative costs and education programs.

The Pasadena Symphony, meanwhile, is canceling two shows while cutting its 2008-09 budget by $1 million. Axed from the schedule, pending board approval Thursday, are a Nov. 15 concert of Bartok and Brahms and a Dec. 6 holiday performance by the symphony's sister orchestra, the Pasadena Pops.

The roller-coaster stock market and banking crisis have wreaked havoc with the annual fundraising campaign the orchestra counted on to yield $3.2 million of its projected $5.3 million budget, said Tom O'Connor, co-executive director. Compounding the problem was a drop in its own investment portfolio from $8 million to $6.3 million -- meaning it no longer can count on the $400,000 it was expecting to draw from the endowment to fund this year's programs.

With the budget chopped to $4.3 million, O'Connor said, the plan now is to "take a breather and see what's happening" in the economy come January.

-- Mike Boehm

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