Footlite Musicals launches $30K campaign to maintain theater while stage is dark

Officials for Footlite Musicals have launched a campaign to raise $30,000 to maintain the not-for-profit’s home theater building while the stage is dark for several months due to the coronavirus crisis.

The all-volunteer group has canceled its slate of shows through the summer and until late September, when it will stage the ABBA jukebox musical “Mamma Mia!” It’s scheduled to run Sept. 18-Oct. 4.

And although it has cut back on costs such as cleaning, utilities and insurance, the basic operational expenses for maintaining the Hedback Theater building at 1847 Alabama St. amount to about $6,000 per month, according to the group. The organization’s cash reserves will be depleted before it can mount “Mamma Mia!”

Completely mothballing the building until September isn’t a viable option, due to the requirements for getting it back up and running in time to stage the show, said Keith Matters, president of Footlite’s board of directors.

“We need to raise enough donations between now and September to at least cover the basic operational costs of Footlite,” Matters said in a media release.

Footlite Musicals was founded in 1955 in Indianapolis. It initially staged its shows in a variety of venues but established a permanent home in 1974 when it leased the former Civic Theatre building at 1847 N. Alabama St. In 1976, Mr. and Mrs. Phil Hedback donated the building and surrounding property to the group.

It typically stages eight musicals per season, including productions featuring teens and young adult performers.

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