"Over the past 10 years or so, our attendance has declined, and our costs have risen dramatically," said Fayetteville 's Totem Pole Playhouse artistic director Ray Ficca. "And of course, over the last four years, the economy has not been in great shape. All these factors together have depleted our endowment to the point where we can just now pay our bills."
They can't take another season of losses, he said.
But is it curtain call for the Totem Pole Playhouse?
Ficca hopes not, and folks at the non-profit organization theater are working hard to raise the money necessary to take the playhouse in a new direction.
Over the last couple of years, because of rising costs, the playhouse has tried cutting back on its bigger shows, focusing more on small-cast, low-cost dramas, but that hasn't worked out so well.
"People love what we do with our productions, but we need 'Camelot,'" Ficca said. "We need 'My Fair Lady.' We need shows that people recognize, and they're excited about so we can fill the seats.
They're putting together a plan to fill the 2013 season with Broadway musicals and big comedies with large casts. But they need help.
About $250,000 worth.
Ficca said in order to put next summer's programming in place, that amount has to be raised by Oct. 1. The response has been great so far, he said, and in just a week, they have already reached about a third of their goal. But the Totem Pole Playhouse still has a long way to go if it's going to continue into a 63rd season, he said.
The playhouse has been a part of the community since 1950, and has quite a history. Since the beginning, it's employed professional actors from Broadway to Hollywood and back, and has had such big-name regulars as John Ritter, Jean Stapleton and Katrina Yaukey.
Culturally, the theater has added quite a bit to the community, Ficca said. It has brought a caliber of entertainment to central Pennsylvania that one would have to travel about 100 miles or so to see.
One big fundraiser is
1 to 4 p.m. Sunday for a picnic and concert event. Tickets are now available for Robbie Limon Rocks the Totem Pole. Visit www.totempoleplay
house.org, or call 352-2164.
HOW TO HELP WHAT: Robbie Limon Rocks the Totem Pole,
a fundraiser to save the Totem Pole Playhouse
WHEN:1 to 4 p.m. Sunday
LOCATION: 9555 Golf Course Road, Fayetteville
DETAILS: To purchase tickets, visit www.totempole
playhouse.org, or call 717-352-2164.