SAN JOSE -- The future of San Jose Repertory Theatre appeared to be in question Tuesday as reports swirled that the 34-year-old company was facing new financial troubles and could be in danger of closing. Theater officials did not comment but are expected to address the company's fate on Wednesday.
Rumors about the South Bay's premiere theater spread like wildfire throughout the arts community.
"If this is true, this is a devastating loss for us here at SJSU and the city as a whole, I can't even begin to imagine the impact on the South Bay arts scene," says San Jose State University theater professor Amy Glazer. "All I can do is hope that it isn't true."
City officials, who have been monitoring the Rep's financial situation, confirmed the group was in danger of shuttering but added it is not a done deal.
"Due to the financial situation, the Rep has furloughed staff and the board is considering ceasing operations," said Kerry Adams-Hapner, director of Cultural Affairs for the city. "A lot of great people have stepped up and are doing their best to keep the arts alive downtown, but the sustainability of the business model has been a challenge for many years. We are very concerned and we are monitoring the situation closely."
One longtime associate of the company said a staffer advised it was time to pack up one's belongings because the end was near.
"It's always been a roller coaster. They have come close to the end before but it has never felt like this, this feels ugly," said the associate, who asked to remain anonymous.
Rep officials could not be reached for comment.
Founded in 1980, the Rep has been struggling financially in recent years. In 2006, on the brink of insolvency, the $5 million theater turned to the city for a $2 million bailout that later was restructured into a long-term mortgage-type loan.
A 2012 auditor's report on San Jose Rep noted the company has "taken substantial measures to reduce its operating costs" but added "there can be no assurance that these actions will be sufficient."
Certainly the Rep is not alone in its financial woes. Ballet San Jose has suffered many a fiscal crisis. Shakespeare Santa Cruz went under last year and then managed to come back to life. American Musical Theatre of San Jose perished in 2008.