Orange Daily News
April 16, 1975
Pages 1 & 3
PAPA gets $3,500 loan from council, needs
$8,000 to finish season
The Pacific Academy of the Performing Arts (PAPA) may or may not resume
productions at the Playhouse in Orange beginning in May.
Richard Dow, president of the PAPA went before the city council last
week asking for $8000 to help the financially troubled organization
finish its current season.
The council, after hearing Dow's presentation and input from several
members of the audience, some connected with the theater group and some
who were not, agreed to loan PAPA at with interest payments the sum of
#3,500 with the understanding that PAPA will make a "best
effort" to repay the money.
While the #3,500 was far short of the $8,000 requested council justified
its lower figure on the grounds that PAPA should make an effort to seek
contribution in the community.
Councilman Jesse Perez who moved for the $3,500 figure told Dow that
"you're very weak in marketing. Every week I have organizations,
industrial and commercial people asking what they can get involved in.
And where's PAPA?
Perez suggested that PAPA begin a campaign to raise money to support
itself and offered to make the first contribution of $50. Dow agreed
with the idea and told the Orange Daily News afterwards that he intended
to start the campaign as soon as possible. But he added "I can do
nothing with the money unless I can supplement it."
"He said that he hoped PAPA could be back in the Playhouse by the
end of this month and stage the first of its last two productions of the
season by the end of May. The group had managed to stage two of its
productions before being locked out of the Playhouse four weeks ago and
had two more major productions scheduled one for April and one for May.
PAPA's financial troubles evidently centered around its failure to pay
the $3,000 per month rent on the Playhouse, the failure of the former
proprietor Alberto Morelli to purchase the Playhouse from owner Norm
Goodin, and what Dow called a lack of financial support from the people
He said that Morelli's failure to purchase the Playhouse and make the
rental payments resulted in PAPA being closed out. "Morelli closed
us out of the Playhouse," he told the council. He said later that
Goodin had agreed to drop the rental fee to $2,500 per month.
He told the council that PAPA had been making headway, that audiences
had been increasing and said that by his projections he felt PAPA could
reach a break even point by July or August with a 40 percent audience
capacity and by January 1976 could reach a profit making status when
average audience attendance reaches a 50 to 60 percent level. That he
said would allow PAPA to expand its program.
In response to a councilman's query about whether or not PAPA would be
in operation a year from now and if there were any guarantees to that
effect, Dow replied that he could not guarantee that PAPA would be in
operation at that time.
He also told the council that he felt liens currently held against the
building would not keep PAPA from completing this season because those
items were still in the courts. "If any of the liens are foreclosed
before that time we'll have to deal with them but I don't anticipate any
action in that area before the competition of this season," he
But first he said, PAPA needed the money to continue this season and
that would cost a total of $20,000. He said that based on capacity
crowds for the last two scheduled productions of the season PAPA had a
potential income of $60,000. But he added that with bills due,
production costs and by estimating audience attendance at its latest
level he felt that there was an anticipated deficit for the remainder of
this season of $8,000.
That was $2,000 more than anticipated two weeks ago when PAPA first
released anticipated deficit figures for the remainder of the season.
Dow said that the additional $2,000 was needed for salaries and "a
lot of little things."
In requesting the $8,000 he asked the council for a flat $4,000 plus a
$4,000 interest free loan.
The council's decision to give even the $3,500 was not unanimous.
Councilman Perez and James Jackman along with Mayor Joe Temple voted in
favor of the loan but Councilman Don Smith and Bob Hoyt cast no votes.
Hoyt told the council that in his business (banking) "this would be
turned down because there's a great chance it wouldn't succeed."
Hoyt also objected because "we know nothing about the background of
the management and the building (The Playhouse) has a poor track record.
I'd have to oppose it from a business standpoint.
Smith told the council that while he would like to see PAPA succeed
"but we have to look at what other things the city is involved in.
We've just received a park's report that said we'd have a $700,000
deficit by 1980 if we continue as we are. There will probably be wage
increases and we already know we'll have to cut some other projects this
"We represent all the people of Orange, not just those who go to
the theater," he said.
Smith's major objection however was that the request for an appearance
by Dow was placed on the agenda "and I don't like being asked for
money on an agenda item without knowing beforehand how much is wanted.
We can't go out and emotionally start passing out taxpayers money."
Both Smith and Hoyt agreed tha the item should be sent to the recently
formed committee created to screen requests from organizations seeking
monry from the city's Promotion and Advertising Fund. That fund is the
one from which the $3,500 will come. It gets its revenues from the
city's bed tax and about $25,000 a year is given to various community
groups who promise promotion or advertising for the city through their
Councilman James Jackman was apparently the swing vote on the item.
Jackman said he came into the meeting with a "negative
attitude" toward the idea but said he backed the loan plan because
of audience input. He said he was especially impressed by those members
of the audience whom he knew were fiscally conservative but who
nevertheless supported the idea of PAPA in the Playhouse.
One of those people told the council he had seen plays at the Playhouse
and thought they were of better quality than those he had seen in Los
Another argued that "all we ever do around here is fight about
zoning. But it doesn't mean that we can't get together to support
something like this so that we can meet and enjoy each other's company
under what we all consider pleasurable circumstances.