Like many others, I am saddened by the dismissal of Richard Biever as executive director of the State Theatre.
His work at the State has been exemplary and tireless. He functioned as administrator, educator, musician and play director, at least.
At the level of practicality, he had officially begun to turn the organization’s huge deficit around.
It really is hard to imagine that all of these things are not sufficient enough to prompt the board of directors into a reconsideration of its decision.
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Why? Because one variable in this problem, which I haven’t seen discussed publicly, is that the poor numbers we hear about may just be an indicator of low community interest in what the State has to offer.
I don’t know that Zeus could affect that.
A modest proposal: Reduce expenditures by slashing the number of yearly performances and retrench with Biever and Greg Ray as a team.
Perhaps the State can’t operate as an “art house” without governmental/philanthropic support. If so, we may have to assume this treasure can only survive with the most mainstream presentations as its norm. That, to me, is regrettable.
There is virtually no presence of jazz and classical music. Will fine productions such as “Freud’s Last Session” (again, great direction by Biever and acting by Lloyd Short) entirely disappear from the Attic?
To those who share my concerns, please continue speaking out. I wish Ray the best. It was my distinct pleasure to work creatively with him and Biever.
Arthur Goldstein, State College
The writer is a local jazz musician.