Dallas — Contemporary Theatre of Dallas is closing after 14 years, Managing Director Miki Bone announced in an e-mail and on Facebook Tuesday morning. We'll have a follow-up interview on this development—the first closing of a professional Dallas theater in at least a decade.
The theater was founded by Sue Loncar, a local actress and wife of well-known personal injury and accident attorney Brian Loncar. It just ended its four-show 14th season with the Southwest premiere of As We Lie Still, written by local composer Patrick Emile and his wife Olivia de Guzman Emile. Over the years, CTD has been an Actor's Equity Association Small Professional Theatre, later becoming a for-profit theater known for paying talent some of the highest wages in town. It recently returned to non-profit status.
Sue Loncar was fond of plays and musicals from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, with an occasional newer drama like Rabbit Hole or a Tennessee Williams revival (Streetcar and Night of the Iguana). It did produce a few new works, such as Bone's Division Avenue in 2013. In 2014, it took productions of James McLure's Lonestar and Laundry and Bourbon off-Broadway.
Since Bone came aboard in 2014, the basement space at CTD has hosted other groups, including Proper Hijinx Productions. In the main space, a full bar, often sporting a show-themed cocktail, was a popular feature.
There will be three more events at the theater this year: A storytelling night with Randy Bonifay and Jim Pfitzer on Nov. 28; The Laugh Supper improv group on Dec. 3; and a stand-up comedy night on Dec. 17.
There is no word yet on what will happen with the venue, a former church in East Dallas off Lower Greenville Avenue.
Look for more to come on TheaterJones, but for now, here's the news release about the closing:
After 14 glorious years of producing compelling theatrical performances that have touched the lives of many, the Contemporary Theatre of Dallas is announcing that its current season will be its last.
Founded by Artistic Director Sue Loncar, CTD has functioned as a successful performing arts venue serving as the cultural magnet of Lower Greenville Avenue for nearly a decade and a half. Showcasing the work of the area's finest talent is a highlight of CTD's legacy. In fact, supporting area artists has always been a huge part of Loncar's passion, having employed hundreds of local artists from all over the Metroplex. Her love and respect for actors, directors and designers has been a priority from the get-go, and was one of the core reasons she was inspired to open the theatre.
"My whole mission for CTD from its inception was to produce plays that I truly felt passionate about, and to employ talented, dedicated actors from DFW and compensate them fairly," Loncar says.
"Lastly, I wanted to create a theatrical experience that really encapsulated our personality. CTD is one of a kind; it's not just a place one goes to see a great show...it's an evening with friends. Every time you enter our doors, we are genuinely thrilled to see you, and we make sure you know it."
The theatre dates back to the 1930's when it was originally constructed as a church. Since then, the neighborhood has evolved into a vibrant, iconic, pedestrian-friendly community surrounded by restaurants and bistros.
Managing Director, Miki Bone, who has brought the theatre full circle from a commercial venue to its current non-profit status, believes the Lower Greenville area has been elevated by having such a dynamic theatre as a part of its thriving culture.
"There is no doubt that CTD has contributed to the neighborhood's rising status," she says. "Our season subscribers and regular patrons come from all parts of the metroplex. It has absolutely added to the cultural development of the area in a substantial way, and has attracted a great deal of interest in the building as a valuable commercial property."
Bone credits Loncar's unique vision, a talented pool of artists, and a devoted following of theatre-goers for having contributed to CTD's long-lasting success. But as lives evolve, ambitions progress, and creative focus expands, it is clearly time for re-evaluation.
"The CTD Brand and the building and the Loncar name are inextricably linked in the minds of the audience, critics, and theatre community," says Bone. "One element cannot exist without the others; to try to continue on without one of those elements in play would be a disservice to that brand and its distinctive vision. And so, after having produced a critically and financially successful 14th season, it's a blessing to be able to close on a high note with tremendous regard for all involved."
"That doesn't mean our creative endeavors are over or that we won't work together in the future," she added. "It simply means that our professional and personal goals have taken a turn, and it's now time to celebrate CTD's history and success while looking forward to other exciting, creative opportunities ahead."
While Loncar feels nostalgic about this decision, she says she is ready for the next chapter in her life to begin with a firm belief that CTD's legacy, and the joy it has brought to so many, will live on by motivating others to pursue their artistic dreams.
"Outside of being a devoted wife and mother, CTD has been one of the greatest accomplishments of my life," says Loncar. "I am enormously proud of CTD; it has been an unending source of inspiration and delight, and I believe, will continue to be so for all those who had the special opportunity to experience it firsthand."