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Despite financial woes, Playhouse Merced keeps the show going

The show must go on. So says Playhouse Merced, which has fallen on rough financial times.

The theater’s board of directors sent out distress signals in December, announcing Playhouse Merced was in such dire straights financially that shutting down was a possibility.

Since then, donations from concerned residents and businesses have raised $18,000. Meanwhile, the theater continues to operate under a reduced budget. “We’re working the best we can to cut costs, but to keep the show going,” said Robert Hypes, interim artistic director. “We want to deliver the rest of the season.”

He said last month that if the theater doesn’t being in $15,000 to $20,000 — in addition to ticket sales — during January it will have to fold in February. Now, as January draws to a close, Hypes said the situation is looking up.

“We are doing much better since December,” he smiled. “But we’re not out of the woods yet.”Supporters came out of the woodwork after reading about Playhouse Merced’s woes in the Sun Star, Modesto Bee and letters sent to season ticket holders and conservatory parents.

“It looks like we can get through this if we can garner the same support,” Hypes said. “We should make it through February. But it’s hard to give a clear picture of three months down the line.”

Read the full story in Friday's Merced Sun-Star.