Something is rotten in Ann Arbor. Performance Network Theatre – known for always delighting its audiences with brilliant, inventive and inspiring productions – has been closed abruptly. EXPLETIVE DELETED.
This afternoon, an official press release from Performance Network Theatre stated: “The Board of Directors of Performance Network Theatre has determined that the theatre is not currently financially viable and suspends all operations, effective immediately. The Board wants to thank the community, actors, directors, designers, donors, and subscribers for their long-standing support of the theatre.”
That’s all it said. Nothing about the amazing production of “Richard III” scheduled to continue through the month. (Now unceremoniously cancelled.) Nothing about sending money, redeeming tickets, or petitioning the governor for a stay of execution. (They’ve changed the locks on the theatre doors.) Of course, this writer, like everyone else in the theatre community, jumped onto Facebook to find more information.
Carla Milarch, Associate Artistic Director and lead player in the current production, posted this on her personal Facebook page:
“Friends - I know that word is spreading like wildfire through the community and I wanted to open up communication about what is happening at PNT on this page. I have just come from the theatre, where I spent the afternoon clearing out my personal affects, as the PNT board-hired locksmith changed the locks. The show tonight and the rest of the run of Richard III has been cancelled.”
She went on to thank the many professionals and patrons who have been a part of the PNT legacy and offered to post updates as they become available on her Facebook page. “Your support over the years deserves so much better than this,” she concluded. “I promise you that the staff and artists at PNT have not given up on professional theater in Ann Arbor. We hope you won't either.”
This is heartbreaking news to everyone in the Michigan performing arts community. Performance Network Theatre has consistently delivered inspired work and we wish only the best to Carla, David Wolber, and the many artists who have made this a gem.
We’re lighting a candle, saying a prayer, and hoping for a better outcome.