Romance Is Gone

Money woes force Arizona Jewish Theatre Company to cancel season's last show

Flipping burgers probably pays more. Because AJTC offers smaller salaries than the other three professional theaters, it tends to be the last choice for Equity players who rely on their acting for income.

"On the other hand," Gardner says, "if you're a Jewish actor and you want to appear in plays that address that part of your life, AJTC is the only game in town. So you keep your job at Starbucks, and maybe you get to do a cool play."

Times are tough all over, and AJTC isn't alone. Tiny Theater Works and Scottsdale's Stagebrush, longtime competitors for the same subscribers, have joined ranks in a co-production of A Little Night Music. And Phoenix Theatre sustained so many flops this year that it allowed subscribers to pick the plays they'll present next season -- a ploy that resulted in a list of weary war-horses like Arsenic and Old Lace and Man of La Mancha.

Janet Arnold, producing artistic director of Arizona Jewish Theatre Company, had to cancel Romance in D, the final show of the season, because of financial problems.
Paolo Vescia
Janet Arnold, producing artistic director of Arizona Jewish Theatre Company, had to cancel Romance in D, the final show of the season, because of financial problems.

Meanwhile, Arnold has scheduled Romance in D as the first show of next year and trimmed her season from four plays to three.

"You have to give her credit for single-handedly running one of the four Equity houses," Gardner says. "And the fact that she's a woman working in a boy's club is pretty impressive, too. She took this company from the bottom, where she was building sets and hanging lights, all the way to a residency at the Herberger. Where is the applause for that?"

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