La Crosse, Wisconsin (WXOW) ----- Just a little over a month until the new La Crosse Community Theatre opens its doors. It's located right next to the LHI building along the river. It's almost 4-times as big as the old one. Besides more room for patrons, there's 2 stages. In 39 days it will open, but not without help from a La Crosse girl who saved up to support the theater.
Barbara Newcomer is the grandmother of Katie Sauer. "The theatre bug got her. I had nothing to do with it except that I faithfully attend her performances." Barbara knew the old community theater all too well. "When you'd head in the front door and down the aisle you'd end up in the alley. Barbara took her granddaughter along for meetings about the new theatre and soon the 11 year old was hooked. "They were showing us the designs and then one guy said we could buy our own seats. I wanted to do it because I enjoy doing theatre." That's why Katie saved up her own money 250 dollars. "And then every year I give them another 250 dollars until I have a thousand dollars and then they put my name on a seat."
The Executive Director, David Kilpatrick says giving patrons a chance to buy a seat makes perfect sense because La Crosse Community Theatre is built for the community by the community. "Not everybody can give huge amounts of money but not everyone wants to participate so we came up with this arrangement to allow them to be part owners and by naming a seat then they're going to be able to leave a permanent legacy here."
Kilpatrick says although big projects can be messy, loud and costly, this one is long overdue. "When you get here and you see the view and you see the 450 seats and you sit down and see how close you are to the stage and yet how comfortable you are, it will be worth it."
Again, the theatre opens in 39 days.
The first show on stage is Macbeth which opens January 25th.
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