Updated: Aug 31
The theater landscape is littered with the corpses of small-sized companies forced to close for a variety of reasons – for example, running out of steam creatively or losing manpower or seeing audience support gradually evaporate over time.
Add Stage Door Repertory Theatre to a list of recent casualties that includes Stages Theatre and the Attic Community Theater. SDRT, as it’s known to patrons, weathered unpredictable ticket sales and the pressures of continuous annual rent increases before hitting the same wall as its peers – the COVID-19 lockdown and the economic pressures the pandemic exerted on theaters everywhere.
From late 2011 to December 2022, Stage Door produced a total of roughly 80 shows, the bulk of which were musicals, the theatrical genre that came to define the company.
In a phone interview with Voice of OC, Nick Charles, the company’s founder, executive producer and artistic director, said when he reopened SDRT’s doors in June 2021, he thought he had survived the theater’s 15-month closure.
With no source of income during that period, he had barely been able to keep up with his rent payments, but expected and planned to eventually get caught up.
But, Charles said, the property management company leasing space to him in an Anaheim industrial complex on La Palma Avenue near Kraemer Boulevard had other ideas, telling him during the summer of 2022 that when his current lease expired on Dec. 31, he’d be expected to sign a three- to five-year lease.
Charles said he countered by asking for, instead, a one- to two-year lease. His request was met with a disappointing rejoinder: A shorter lease would force his monthly rent from $6,500 to $8,700 – an increase of some 33%.
This full story can be accessed for free in its entirety at Voice of OC.