Nearly a year ago, Cory Bolton and his Bolton Company partner Aaron Lombardo bought an ownership stake in Starlight Mountain Theatre after learning the company was struggling financially and would close after 2014 season.
Bolton made a deal with the theater’s owner and artistic director R. Ed Davis to take over the business side of the company, and pay him a salary as artistic director.
That worked for the 2015 season but around Thanksgiving Bolton backed out of the deal and turned the company back over to Davis and his family.
Initially it was a shock, but now that it has sunk in, Davis excited about the potential to turn the theater around, he says.
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“After not doing it for a year and having that pressure off, I can look at things differently,” Davis says.
Bolton was not available for comment.
The family took official ownership on Friday, Jan. 1 and launched a GoFundMe.com campaign to raise $75,000 to save the company and produce its 2016 summer season.
The plan is to use the funds to tackle the theater’s biggest expense, which is paying royalties for the shows up front. Show royalties run between $7,000 and $9,000 each for the more popular shows. That’s about $38,000 per season.
Davis wants to be able to pay ahead on royalties, rather than borrow the funds and then pay them back each year.
It’s like a fresh start.
R. Ed Davis
“It will feel good to get on top of it,” he says.
Click here to find out more about the campaign and make a donation.
A former theater professor, Davis opened his family-friendly theater near his boyhood home in Garden Valley in 1999. It’s a traditional summer stock musical theater that performs shows in repertory in an outdoor amphitheater. You can bring a picnic, purchase food on site and dine at tables where the performers double as waitstaff.
The company performs six shows each summer, including a nearly annual production of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.”
The Starlight Mountain Theatre 2016 season so far
The season runs late May to September
“Fiddler on the Roof”
“Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”
Retro production for July 4 weekend: “Oklahoma”