Word that the American Heartland Theatre at Crown Center is on death row begs the question, WTF?
For the 26 years the Heartland banged out mostly middle-of-the-road fare using largely local actors for a crowd composed predominantly of blue hairs.
And for the past 26 years the theater failed to make a profit.
Which likely explains the decision for American Heartland’s upcoming dirt nap in August. However, in the theater’s exit interview with the Star, neither the company’s executive director nor the spokesman for landlord Crown Center identified whose decision it was to shut it down.
“You know, Hallmark ran out of patience,” says one insider. “First of all it was stupid to have done that theater as a for profit. They should have been a non profit from the beginning.”
As a non profit, American Heartland would have enjoyed any number of cost savings and financial advantages, the insider says.
“You know, little things like 42 cents apiece for mailings versus 17 cents – things like that add up. They could have applied for grants. I mean, they certainly are grant worthy, and the theater downstairs, the Coterie does just that.
“And they could have asked their subscribers to contribute to them. But they couldn’t do that because it was not a charitable contribution.”
And while Hallmark and Crown Center succeeded in getting the Star to pass on identifying who was responsible for pulling the plug, it seems clear that it was the landlord who did the dastardly deed, the insider says.
“Hallmark looked at the bottom line and said, we can’t afford to support this anymore. But they support other not-for-profit theaters in town and they could have given the Heartland a $20,000 grant, then the theater could have saved $20,000 a year on postage along with other savings and they could have gotten other grants. Then suddenly, they’re up $275,000.”
One reason Hallmark may have opted not to save the Heartland:
“Look at what Crown Center is doing with Legoland, the aquarium and the Coterie,” the source says. “They’re going for young and the American Heartland skewed older.”
Which appears to be what Crown Center’s spokesman meant when he said, “Crown Center’s needs have changed.”