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The Geffen sings a different tune

September 05, 2009

Re "Money Blues at Geffen Theater," by Mike Boehm, Aug. 31: Thank you for pointing out how the severe recession has impacted nonprofit arts institutions like ours, leading us to explore new methods for bringing in patrons. However, Mr. Boehm's piece told only one small part of the story, choosing to focus on the negative and leaving out many of the positive facts.

Yes, a perfect storm of circumstances has weighed heavily on the arts community this year. But, at this point, the Geffen Playhouse has not only survived the storm, we have come out of it a much stronger organization.

Our board took a proactive role in dealing with these challenging times, and ultimately, helped raise more than $2.5 million in new gifts, thus allowing us to end our fiscal year, Aug. 31, in the black. We ended our season with a sold-out show ("Farragut North") and with a fundraising department that exceeded its goals by more than $250,000.

Yet, despite the fact that this information was shared with Mr. Boehm, none of these positive figures were included in the final article. Instead, old data was culled through to paint a picture of dire circumstances instead of a positive portrait of people who cared enough about a cultural center in their community to stand up and help during a difficult period.

And whereas these recessionary times require continued vigilance, the Geffen Playhouse is hardly "singing the blues," but instead celebrating the remarkable loyalty of our subscribers and donors who have gone above and beyond to show support for an organization they treasure and know is critically important to Los Angeles.

Frank Mancuso

Los Angeles

The writer is chairman of the board at the Geffen Playhouse.

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