Monday, March 31, 2008

Episode 7: The Next Victims

A couple weeks after New Line moved out of the Ivory Theatre in fall 2007, the NonProphet Theatre Co. moved in to bring back a show they had done earlier in the fall: Corleone: The Shakespearean Godfather. And they experienced much of the same nonsense the New Line people had been through. No one had cleaned the theatre, all the marketing Horror Show had promised disappeared into thin air, and they were getting lied to just like New Line had. Still, Corleone opened and closed without major problems.

But according to New Line, Horror Show was still terrorizing them from afar. When New Line had moved out in late October, they still had not been given the locked storage area they had been promised many times since December 2006. So one of the owners told New Line to go buy hardware and a padlock and lock up their musical equipment in a large wardrobe cabinet off stage left. Barely a week after New Line moved out, Horror Show decided she wanted to use that cabinet too. So even though she knew the owner had told New Line to put locks on it, even though she knew New Line had the key, she got bolt cutters and cut off the New Line locks. Better still, she crammed all the equipment into one end of the cabinet, damaging New Line's very expensive keyboard, and then left the cabinet wide open during the next four shows. Miraculously, the only things that were stolen were some patch cords. New Line would not find out about this until January.

Then just a few weeks after Corleone, the NonProphets moved back into the Ivory for their show second, and they finally experienced the full force of Horror Show's ineptitude. According to two members of the NonProphets I spoke with, Horror Show had gotten them to agree that she could put on a children's show during the day, one day between the NonProphets' two weekends, exchange for a reduction in the NonProphets' rent. She promised she would not touch their set or any of their belongings or props, and that the theatre would be thoroughly cleaned.

Then the NonProphets returned to the theatre for their second weekend. To a big mess. Some of the actors got to the theatre early that night in order to run lines, but instead found that their set had been vandalized -- a once functioning door unit no longer worked because it had been ripped out of the floor where it had been anchored. Apparently, Horror Show had decided there wasn't room enough on stage for her children's show without moving the NonProphets' set (which she had promised not to do). And her people were so incompetent that they stripped the screw heads trying to remove set pieces, so they literally just ripped them out of the stage deck, ruining the set pieces and damaging the stage.

Props were missing, including a purse with a CD player in it. Later, one of the owners would claim that the props weren't really "missing" since they were found in the theatre a couple months later; that those props weren't found during the run of the show seemed not to matter to him.

More than that, the house was a mess, littered with programs and paper, pieces of clothing, etc. There was broken glass on the stage and also in the audience. The restrooms were disgusting, urine on the floor, toilets unflushed, all the bathroom supplies run out and not restocked, and the lobby desperately needed a vacuum.

They complained to the owners, who chose not to give a shit.

Welcome to the Ivory.

Sic Semper Tyrannis!
An Ivory Survivor

Friday, March 28, 2008

Episode 6: The Fundraiser From Hell

On Saturday, November 3, 2007, Horror Show produced (in the loosest sense of that word) a fundraiser performance for the Ivory Theatre. No, strike that, the invitation said it was a fundraiser for the Ivory, but she was telling people that it was a fundraiser for her nonprofit company, TAFFY (Theatre Arts for Formative Youth), that produces bad children shows that she writes. She swore these children's shows were going to make tons of money for the theatre, which would in turn fund other projects. Yeah, right. None of that would even happen.

It turned out it was actually an amateurish backer's audition (I'm talking Guffman amateurish). She convinced the owners to invite their rich friends, so that she could put on staged scenes from several bad musicals she had written, in hopes that these rich folks would fall in love with her work and offer to produce her shows on Broadway. No, that's not a joke -- she told several people that she really believed that would happen. For her, the Ivory was a place to develop her work before it went to Broadway. That's how delusional she was and is.

The NonProphets agreed to be part of the fundraiser as well, as did Leaping Lizards. New Line and Hydeware declined. What follows is an eyewitness account of this bizarre, tragicomic evening that was forwarded to me (and somewhat edited here) by one of the parties involved in the Ivory mess at that time. I'm amazed any of these people still had a sense of humor about this ongoing nightmare...

The show wasn't just bad; it was Plan 9 from Outer Space bad. What transpired that night was an act of accidental cultural terrorism so brazen, so utterly clueless, that it demands to be written down and recorded in the annals of theatre history. Never before has one person done so much to set back the cause of live theatre in our time.

First, there's a loud chord on the piano from behind the drawn curtain. The audience, numbering 42, scattered among the 230 seats, hushes and waits. (Horror Show was convinced this would sell so well they'd have to do two performances. Oops.) And nothing happens. Nothing continues to happen. Nothing happens for quite a stretch. Eventually the audience collectively realizes that the show isn't starting after all. Oops again.

Finally the lights dim and they hear the voices of two kids. They're coming down the aisles from the balcony, having a cute-as-kittens conversation about the language of theatre: "This is where the audience sits. It's called The House." It went on from there. And on and on. The most valuable information the kids taught the speechless audience was that The Wings are used for storage, waiting to enter, and sight lines. Huh???

The kids yammer on in front of the curtain about nothing and finally execute an awkward segue: "What do you want to be?" "I want to be HER!" And they gesture awkwardly to the curtain. And nothing happens. And nothing... wait... yep, the curtain is slowly, fitfully creaking open to reveal a well-known local musical theatre performer in black sequins (who will remain mercifully anonymous) singing "Welcome to the Theatre" (a song from the musical Applause about how nasty and back-biting the theatre is -- an odd choice to open the show). Soon the kids are singing too. Sort of. And they navigate this jungle gym of dirty black platforms, step units, and ramps randomly strewn around the stage. And then... Big Finish! Sort of. Applause. Sort of. More like golf claps.

Then Horror Show's writing partner enters as Emcee for the evening. (She had actually asked a well-known local singer to emcee the show, but then decided he wasn't good looking enough, so she put out an audition notice for an "attractive" emcee -- without telling the singer she didn't want him.) The Emcee is holding a wireless hand mic and talking into it dutifully, despite the fact that it's not on. And he's really soft spoken. We catch every third or fourth word. The audience soon discovers that he's one of those people who actually possesses negative charisma -- he actually sucks charisma out of others. So he starts telling them all the wonderful things the Ivory's gonna do -- classes, a concert series, weddings, a list of proposed programs so long and nonsensical and monotone that it reminds those in the crowd who are still awake of that Bubba character in Forrest Gump.

Then the audience is subjected to a slide show about the Ivory Theatre. On the bottom of each slide is a charming caption. For example, under the slide of the church's original altar, it says, "Thoughts...... this would be a great place for the stage!" To the audience's great (unintended) amusement, each caption starts with "Thoughts....." The last slide is an artist's rendering of the finished seating area. And of course they leave this last slide up, so it hovers inappropriately in the background of the NonProphets' scene which follows...

So the Emcee introduces the NonProphets, who perform a couple scenes from the play Corleone (with that slide still in the background). They do as good a job as possible, having never had a chance to rehearse the scenes on the stage and all the while navigating that pointless jungle gym of platforms, step units, and ramps that Horror Show has created.

And then the Emcee returns to lull the audience back to sleep. He starts to teach them about How a Musical Is Written. And Exhibit A is his and Horror Show's Halloween Extravaganza Things That Go Bump In the Night. Six or seven kids come out and sing this bland awful song, actually screaming once each verse (is that supposed to be cute?) and running around the jungle gym set like there are child molesters in the wings (you know, where they keep the sightlines).

Then the audiences gets treated to a string quartet from Webster University. A not very good one. And there is a stationary mic set right in front of the stage. Right next to the cello. The cello which can't seem to hold a pitch if it had tar on it.

Then the Emcee returns to introduce the director of Leaping Lizards performing a tap solo. She does a nice job of it but again has a hell of a time navigating the jungle gym. Sadly, there's still more than ninety minutes to go...

The Emcee comes back and announces comically (he thinks) that this is the "fund part of the fundraiser." And he half-heartedly and awkwardly reads his pitch for donations off a sheet of paper. Then throws the piece of paper on the ground. Maybe that's supposed to be funny or something?

Now a whole new part of the evenings begins. The Best Part. No wait, that's wrong, it's the Worst Part. This already suffering audience is going to be assaulted by songs from musicals written by Horror Show and the Emcee. And really, it's not fair to call them songs. They're amorphous "pieces." Or maybe more like "musical scenes." Reeeeeally extended musical scenes. Extended like fifteen minutes long and unbearably boring and generic and bland, so bad that a few audience members consider forcibly cracking their own skulls open on their cup holders just to avoid the unrelenting agony of listening to this crap. Or so I'm told.

It starts with Equus: The Musical. Terrible. Really bad. Not even Guffman bad. Worse than that. Then, While You Were Sleeping: The Musical. More ambitious but also more bad. Then, Dr. Lao: The Musical (based on The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, a bad and fairly racist 1964 Tony Randall film). Worser still. Much worser. And finally an "original jazz opera" which had precious little to do with jazz. And these four pieces (of unadulterated crap) take about an hour to perform, an hour no one in this theatre will ever get back. Horror Show has assembled 10-12 local actors to do these scenes, all of them reportedly walking away afterward hating Horror Show as much as everybody else does.

Now here's the funny part. About an hour into this abomination -- which ultimately clocked out at about two hours with no intermission -- all the rich folks in the balcony are Gone. There's not a soul up there. Which pretty much cuts the audience in half. Of course, the rich folks are the target audience tonight, since Horror Show is really just trying to find investors to take her shows to New York. Then the audience hears them all laughing like hell out in the lobby, which of course carries into the theatre just in time to muck up the Original Jazz Opera -- some woman singing about rain, rain, nothing but rain. As the second hour of the show staggers on, the audience starts leaving one by one, occasionally in couples. Just getting up and leaving. When the Original Jazz Opera and some wholly forgettable final words from the Emcee are done, the 12 people left in the audience (no joke, only 12 out of 42 stayed for the whole show) staggers out into the lobby to find that all the rich folks have actually left the building and gone home. Including the wildly embarrassed owners.

I guess Horror Show won't be going to Broadway after all. At least not this season.

Sic Semper Tyrannis!
An Ivory Survivor

Monday, March 24, 2008

Episode 5: The First Meltdown

It was September 22, 2007, when Horror Show finally demonstrated just how crazy-out-of-her-mind she really is. Up until that point, various people had seen the telltale signs of stark lunacy, but on this particular day all became clear. I know one of the people who actually witnessed The Meltdown, so I heard most of the story back then, and have gotten more details since then.

New Line was supposed to have their lighting cue-to-cue rehearsal that day for the first show in the Ivory: Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll. For those not fluent in theatre-talk, a cue-to-cue is a (usually long) rehearsal, in which the actors walk through the show slowly, and every time they get to a lighting cue, they are stopped, and the cue is adjusted, notes are taken for future re-focusing, etc. Some shows have 200-300 cues, so it's a tedious process, but necessary if you have a complicated lighting design.

On that day, Horror Show had promised New Line that the windows in the theatre would be covered first thing in the morning with heavy black fabric to shut out the sunlight, so the lighting designer could work in the darkness he needs. (There were supposed to be curtains already, but she had forgotten to order them on time.) The actual cue-to-cue rehearsal was to be at 1:00 p.m. but was moved back to 6:00 p.m. because of previous delays installing the lighting system (some of this was due to construction delays, some due to Horror Show's incompetence). This would mean a shorter rehearsal, but it would allow the designer to finish hanging and focusing the lights before the actors got there, something he would normally have already finished at this point.

At 4:00 p.m. that day, New Line's artistic director called their lighting designer to check in with him. The director was told that the windows weren't yet covered! The director called Horror Show and asked her why they weren't covered. He told her that the lighting designer needed to focus lights and he needed darkness in order to do that. She began to scream hysterically at the director about New Line postponing their rehearsal without telling her about it. She told him that if he didn't get to the theatre immediately, she was closing the theatre down and there would be no show, and then she hung up on him. He tried to call back several times but she refused to answer her phone. No one could figure out why she cared what time rehearsal was -- it didn't affect her in any way. They just needed her to get the windows covered so the designer could work!

So the director drove to the theatre, found her and asked what was wrong with her and why she had been screaming at him on the phone. She started screaming again (now sounding a lot like Linda Blair in The Exorcist), threatening to close the theatre, even threatening to take New Line to court! And all this over changing a rehearsal time that had nothing to do with her...? At one point during her rant she picked up this big piece of concrete laying next to the stage door and held it while she screamed. The director wasn't sure if she thought this looked threatening, if she really intended to throw it, or if it was just more unexplained lunacy.

New Line called one of the owners at home and left a message for him that they had a pretty serious crisis at the theatre. Because there was still no darkness in the theatre, the designer could not do the work necessary to prepare for the rehearsal, so they had to cancel the cue-to-cue entirely, something that would bring hardship on all of them (but especially the designer) in the week to come.

After the director got back home, Horror Show called him, all calm now, pretending like she had not just had a nervous breakdown in the middle of the theatre. She said the owner had called her, told her the director had called him, and told her to "find out what's wrong." The director reminded her of her multiple threats less than an hour before. And the lawsuit. She apologized and promised to be more respectful in the future. In retrospect, that now seems like the biggest joke of all.

In fact, she would continue to treat everyone who worked there the same way: unprofessionally, unethically, dishonestly, and with enough bizarre incidents just like this in the ensuing months that most of the people working at the Ivory concluded that she was genuinely mentally ill. Of course, none of us will ever know for sure, but from this vantage point, it's a pretty good bet.

Soon, other companies would start working there as well -- and they would suffer similar nightmares.

Sic Semper Tyrannis!
An Ivory Survivor

P.S. For details on the drama New Line endured from the St. Louis Archdiocese and their attempts to shut down New Line's first show, I refer you to the director's blog. Since this lunacy was not directly Horror Show's fault, it seems inappropriate to retell the story here.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Episode 4: The First Load-In Day

New Line's adventure continued. They were supposed to move into the Ivory Theatre for the first time on Sunday, September 9. Ha, ha.

On Friday, September 7, the New Line people called Horror Show and she assured them that everything was in great shape and on schedule. They agreed to meet at the theatre to get a key. But when the New Line people arrived at the theatre, Horror Show was outside, handed them a key, and then told them she didn't feel well and had to leave. The New Line people insisted that she walk through the building with them before she left. Of course, this was exactly what she was trying to avoid.

According to a report from New Line, the place was a total disaster area, no lights anywhere backstage, no working toilet anywhere in the building, no front door on the building, and the whole place was filthy dirty. It was still a construction zone. There was no way they could move in, and it disturbed them that either: A. she thought this was “ready” to move into, or B. she was a genuine pathological liar. Sadly, the answer turned out to be C. Both A. and B.

New Line decided not to move in on the 9th, and to wait a week (they had built some padding into their schedule just in case). Horror Show swore the building would be totally finished the following weekend. New Line knew by that point that she was lying. The next day, September 8, Horror Show emailed New Line and wrote, “All backstage, stage, and house areas will be finished by the 16th so you can take possession.” This would turn out to be one more in a long series of lies. But they would get used to that...

Finally, on September 16, New Line moved in. To a big mess. The stage, backstage, and house were still largely unfinished, and the lobby was still under major construction. Horror Show had promised the New Line board back in January 2007 that they'd have a locked room in the theatre at least 12’ x 12’ for storage. Just one day earlier, she had told them they would have a 10’ x 10’ storage room upstairs – and that she had measured it herself. In reality, it wasn't a room, just a landing for a staircase that goes up to the bell tower, not even half as large as she promised. Of course. And this stairwell was also filthy dirty. Horror Show told them it was their job to clean it if they wanted to use it. She also told them that they would have to pay extra rent if they wanted to keep that storage room, even though she had been promising it to them since January.

She had also told them they could use the garage as a scene shop, but it was filled with church pews. and was far too small to ever build anything in there. There will be no scene shop.

But wait, there's more! They also found out that instead of six body mics, as promised at that first meeting with the New Line board in January, and then again in June, the theatre will only have four. The New Line people found this out only because they happened to ask about it. She wasn't planning to tell them about that change. So they had to quickly arrange to rent more microphones.

Then Horror Show declared to the New Line people (including board members) that she was an owner of the building. She even repeated the claim for emphasis. Later, New Line asked one of the owners if this was true and he said it was not. Then New Line confronted Horror Show about the claim and she admitted it wasn't true. Then the New Line board met with both owners in January 2008 and they asked both owners about this claim -- they both repeated that Horror Show was not an owner of the building. Yet she would continue to make the claim. And in an even later meeting with the NonProphets, the owners would tell them Horror Show was an owner of the building. It's like living inside an Edward Albee play. No one can tell what the truth is.

Back on Move-In Day, Horror Show also told New Line that "none of this" was her responsibility, that her job “doesn't really start till opening night.” If that was true, then why had they been dealing with her for the past nine months? She also said at one point, to their collective horror, “Maybe you should have stayed at the ArtLoft. Maybe you were better off there.” They began to realize the whole affair was a giant con game. Promises were never meant to be kept. They had seduced New Line, the NonProphets, Hydeware, and others into the game in order to look legit and get press, then once the building was open, they would throw them under the bus. This is exactly how it would play out.

But she would be very surprised at the coming fallout from her abuses...

The majority of the things promised to New Line would never happen. Horror Show had promised them in February 2007 – more than once – that there would be a way to get from backstage to the back of the house without the audience seeing the actors, in order to stage entrances from the back of the theatre. That would never happen. Horror Show had promised them a heated scene shop – she told them this entire building out behind the theatre would be a scene shop. In fact, most of that building houses a boiler, and all New Line got was a garage that was already half-full of other stuff. In fact, there would never be a scene shop. Horror Show had promised them a center aisle, but that would never happen either. Horror Show had promised them in March extra tall, extra wide doors into the building and onto the stage, to load in scenery. That would never happen. The doors are all small enough that companies have to build their sets onstage. Everyone now suspects that Horror Show never even told the architects about any of what she promised.

This was when New Line realized they had made a horrible mistake in moving to the Ivory, and they let the other companies involved know what was going on. But there was more fun still to come...

Sic Semper Tyrannis!
An Ivory Survivor

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Episode 3: The Seating Chart

Here's how everybody first had it confirmed that Horror Show really knew absolutely nothing about theatre. This comes from an email sent by New Line's director.

Back in August, the New Line people had been begging Horror Show for a seating chart so that Metrotix could put their tickets on sale for their show opening in September, Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll. The developers and Horror Show insisted that New Line use reserved seating at the Ivory, but they couldn't do that without a seating chart. For weeks, Horror Show swore on various occasions that she had given the seating info to Metrotix, even though she actually had not. Everybody involved in the Ivory would soon find out that was a pattern. First fuck up, then lie about it to cover your ass. Problem is, she always gets caught because she's such a clumsy liar.

Finally she sends New Line a seating chart, but with no numbers on the seats! Metrotix couldn't build a house of reserved seating without seat numbers! Also, New Line had been promised a center aisle down the middle of the house (New Line likes to play scenes out in the audience). In fact, Horror Show had actually drawn a center aisle onto an architect's rendering of the house when she promised the aisle would be there. In the end, it would turn out that there would never be a center aisle, despite months of promises. In the end, there would be a cross aisle between the third and fourth rows, but because Horror Show doesn't know the vocabulary -- or mechanics -- of theatre, she thought that was pretty much the same...

Then finally in mid-August, after three months of begging, Horror Show sent New Line and Metrotix a seating chart. And the real horror began. On this chart, Horror Show had numbered the theatre seats consecutively up through the house, starting at seat 1 and going up to seat 230, so that each row would have entirely different numbers:

Row A, seats 1-15 (left to right)
Row B, seats 16-30 (right to left)
Row C, seats 31-45 (left to right)…
You get the idea...

It made everyone wonder if Horror Show had really ever even been in a theatre before…! New Line told her that she had to number the seats like other theatres do, every row, 1-15. She wasn't sure if she liked that idea. She wanted "to do something different."

And though this is a small, 230-seat house, all one section, she also wanted to label small, 4-row sections of the theatre as "orchestra," "mezzanine," "lower balcony," etc.

Why would she do that, you ask? "To make it special," she told them.

Can you imagine a better way to piss off audiences than to make them feel like they’re being manipulated, to use labels that don’t mean anything, to let someone buy a mezzanine ticket and then arrive to find there is no mezzanine…?

But the fun was still only beginning...

Sic Semper Tyrannis!
An Ivory Survivor

Friday, March 7, 2008

Episode 2: The First Contract

New Line Theatre (they call themselves an "alternative musical theatre company," whatever that might be) was the first into the Lion's Den, and the first to deal with Horror Show in detail. Though there had been a few meetings where lots of promises were made (only to be broken later), the rubber was about to meet the road. The following details come from a report New Line put together for its board and the other companies working at the Ivory.

The nightmare officially started with the negotiation of New Line's contract. Before the contract would ultimately be signed, the poor New Line people had to suffer through six ever-changing drafts of the contract, according to a report I read -- not because the deal was particularly complicated, but because Horror Show just would not make the changes New Line and the owners agreed to in each draft. Each time a new draft was presented, New Line would identify items in the contract that they just could not agree to, all of which the owners agreed to delete. Then with each subsequent draft, Horror Show would change a couple of the things they had objected to, but not all of them. And with every new draft, she would also add bizarre new items.

One draft suddenly said New Line could not give out any comps at any time (not to the press, donors, funders, etc.). This had not been in previous drafts. It just appeared out of the ether without a word of explanation. One draft suddenly said the owners would extract New Line's rent payment from Metrotix, instead of New Line paying rent directly. One draft suddenly said New Line had to pay the landlord $10,000 if they have to cancel a show.

There were many other items like that, all of them completely unacceptable, all of them snuck inside of new drafts, even as Horror Show promised them each time that there was nothing new in the contract. Every time she blamed it on "the lawyer;" it was never her fault. This was a pattern everyone would soon find very familiar. Also in every draft, from the very first one on, she had some version of the landlord having approval power over New Line's choice of shows. Every time they told her they would never sign a contract with that language in it. For five drafts she promised to delete it, but never did.

Finally, on the sixth try, she emailed New Line a draft that had all the problems fixed. They called her and told her everything was great and that they were ready to sign. When they got to the office to sign, she swore this was exactly the same contract she had emailed them – but it was not. Now the provision about the landlord getting approval power over their choice of shows, which had been finally removed after five drafts, was BACK!

Finally that provision was removed -- again -- and they signed it. But the owners weren't there to sign it. So New Line was told one of the owners would sign it later and they'd mail a copy.

When New Line was mailed the final executed contract, they noticed that the front page of the contract had been replaced -- after New Line had signed it. (Isn't that illegal?) The New Line people could not see that anything had been changed, but they obviously found it very troubling and inappropriate for a page of the contract to be replaced after being signed…

The New Line people also discovered during this bizarre and frustrating contract process that Horror Show knows almost nothing about theatre – she knows a few words she can throw around, but she doesn't really know even the most basic vocabulary of theatre, she doesn't know anything about theatre tech, about how a theatre company is run, how a rehearsal process works, what happens backstage, how theatre buildings operate, how theatre is marketed and sold, how ticket services work, how the arts media operate, the difference between for-profit and nonprofit theatre, the difference between “art” theatre and commercial touring theatre, how theatre is funded, what theatre patrons expect and need, what actors and musicians expect and need, how to estimate potential ticket sales, and far too much more… My grandma would be better qualified and she's been dead for twenty years.

Yet this is the person chosen to manage a brand new theatre. New Line should have known then that they were in trouble. The other companies would soon have similar experiences.

But this was only the beginning...

Sic semper tyrannis!
An Ivory Survivor

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Episode 1: In the Beginning...

This will be a blog about the crazy nightmare that is the Ivory Theatre in St. Louis, a new venue created in St. Louis in 2007 out of the old St. Boniface Church. Redeveloped by some high-powered St. Louis real estate developers, the project was inexplicably laid in the hands of perhaps the worst theatre manager in the history of St. Louis theatre, a woman so incompetent, so dishonest, and so lacking in experience or knowledge of theatre that in this blog we'll refer to her -- as many others do -- only as "The Horror Show," you know, to protect the idiotic, or however that goes.

If you'd meet her, you'd understand.

This epic misadventure, which I'll dub The Ivory Theatre Horror Show, began back in 2006 and looks likely to end (badly) in 2008. It began with Donna Perrino... oops, I mean Horror Show... calling local theatre companies asking them to be a part of this Exciting New Theatre. What none of these companies knew at the time (but they sure know now) was that Horror Show was making promises never meant to be kept, that she rarely tells the truth, and that in fact her reputation as a confirmed lunatic preceded her in St. Louis. But three local companies, oblivious to all that, signed on anyway.

New Line Theatre was the first to suffer through her continual and increasingly bizarre abuses, throughout the summer and fall of 2007, but many others have gone down this sad, surrealistic road since. The NonProphet Theatre Co. suffered through two shows; several local actors suffered through a failed fundraiser showcasing scenes from the (painfully amateurish) musicals she's written (attendance was 42 when the show started, 12 when it ended with her "jazz opera"); several individuals in the theatre community suffered their own private hell with her; and finally, when she brought in a production of A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline, both local and non-local artists suffered through her abuse and incompetence.

(After foolishly scheduling a run of four weeks, eight shows a week, Horror Show neglected to send out any press releases, so three of the four weeks of the Patsy Cline run played to houses of six people a night, eight people, fifteen, twelve... Attendance for the first twenty-something performances only broke thirty twice.)

As far as this blogger knows, watching this catastrophe somewhat from the outside, everyone who suffered her abuse -- three different theatre companies and several individuals -- has reported everything to the developers, including the artists from out of town. And the developers have done virtually nothing.

Most of the people and companies involved with the Ivory Theatre are now trying to escape, and sadly, this beautiful theatre may soon be without any tenants at all. The developers are convinced that Horror Show is Just Terrific at her job, that the Patsy Cline show was a tremendous success, and that they owe their tenants neither protection from the abuses nor explanation.

This blog will attempt to record the history of this mess going back to late 2006, as accurately as it can be reconstructed. Luckily there are lots of records since most of the victims wrote long letters to the developers detailing the lunacy and sent dozens of emails back and forth to each other, to their boards, and to others involved (me included). New Line also kept detailed notes on all of this, which were emailed to their board, to the owners of the Ivory, and to the other companies and people involved; a lot of the details in this blog have come from those emails.

If this chronicle can help others avoid the horrors that have already terrorized so many, then it will have accomplished its goal.

Sic semper tyrannis!
An Ivory Survivor