The History of SonLight


Orange Daily News
Orange, California

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 of Orange.

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 said.

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 year.

"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 activities.

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 Angeles.

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.


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