Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Thoroughbred Theater announces it is closing

By Al Cross and Dick Yarmy
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Managers of the Thoroughbred Community Theater, a key part of Midway's downtown, informed the theater's friends and supporters this week that it is closing.

"Keeping up with the financial challenges of the TCT has long been difficult," wrote brothers John (left) and Jim McDaniel. "Given the economic climate and the increasing costs, continuing is untenable." John McDaniel said in an interview that the theater had never really broken even, but "It could." (Photo from The Woodford Sun)

McDaniel indicated some small hope that the theater, which he and his brother started a decade ago to prevent its conversion, and have run for four years, might reopen. "I would like to see the phoenix rise out of the ashes again, whether it be me or someone else," he said. "I would hate it to be a retail store. It proved it had a place in downtown Midway, and it helped business."

Mayor Tom Bozarth did not sound hopeful. “It’s gone,” he said. “It’s disappointing, I feel for the McDaniel brothers. . . . “Their passion has been second to none in promoting downtown Midway. . . . They’ve put a lot of time and effort into it to make it part of the community. I’m saddened by it, but we live in tough times.”

Bozarth added, “I wish there was something we could do to get it to continue, someway. . . . It’s important that we have a vibrant downtown, and that has been a part of it.”

Two years ago, when the theater formed a not-for-profit corporation to attract donations and volunteer help, and perhaps buy the building from owner Tony Moreno, who had approached city officials about buying the property. At the time, Bozarth said, “With the economy, I don’t think it’s the right time for the city to be buying up property.” For the Midway Messenger story from May 2009, click here.

The McDaniels gave no financial details in their announcement, which was largely a reflection on their four years as managers and, by implication, their initial role as owners of the building.

"We are proud to have presented the thought-provoking Midway Arts Series, the entertaining Bluegrass Nights and the exciting premiere of Etta May's one-woman show," they wrote. "We are also happy to have hosted numerous community events . . . We are sincerely grateful for the support of the community." To read the letter, click here.

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