By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Prince Music Theater at Broad and Chestnut Streets is slowly rising from the shadow of debt, just two years after filing bankruptcy.
The theater was known for its cabarets and was home to the Curtis Opera Theatre and Philadelphia Music Festival. But in 2010, saddled with nearly $5 million in debt…the theater filed bankruptcy and eventually closing its doors.
“A lot of mismanagement and we couldn’t pay the bills,” says Karen Lotman. “And then the word got out that performers weren’t getting paid properly. If you can’t pay them when they’re finished- they don’t want to come. And if they don’t want to come, you can’t do anything.”
Lotman and four other investors recently purchased the Prince and appointed Herb Lotman Chairman of the Board.
“We worked out a deal where they bought the Prince Theater from TD Bank,” says Herb Lotman. “Since then, it’s clear of bankruptcy, we’ve paid all creditors, we owe no one anything. And now we are starting to put together the team and it’s really special.”
The Lotmans say they’ve brought in Edward Kasses of Princeton Entertainment and Lawrence Wilker who helped lead the Kennedy Center for more than a decade. They are also making changes to the types of performances, adding more meat to the line-up.
“We’ll do everything from rock groups to opera,” says Karen Lotman, who has been on the theater’s board for nealy 10 years. “And when the Cabaret opens again, we’ll do what we did before which is to bring really great performers to do really great shows.”
She says the theater is close to her heart and she just could not let it close.
“It’s small and its intimate and it has the feeling of a London Theater or something like that,” says Sharon Lotman. “You really feel close to the players and to the show.”
The Lotmans say the theater could reopen as early as summer or fall 2013.