Loring Playhouse’s future looks solid

July 22, 2001.By Graydon Royce, Star Tribune.

One year ago, the Loring Playhouse was on the verge of extinction. The Ballet of the Dolls had packed up, and rumors rippled through the theater community that the building’s landlords would remodel for some other use.

In another example of the community’s vigorous health, three small theater companies are calling the 140-seat venue home for the next 18 months and have the Loring booked solid through the end of the 2002-03 season.

“It’s been going very well, and the landlords are thrilled,” said Peter Rothstein, artistic director of Theatre Latte Da.

Rothstein joined with Perin Post of Buffalo Gal Productions and two other small companies last July to take over the space at 1633 Hennepin Av. Pandemonium Theater Company and Minneapolis Actors Theater have left the consortium but Outward Spiral recently joined up when it was time to sign a new lease.

Rothstein’s past season in the Loring was quite successful. “A Christmas Carole Petersen” was a holiday hit and Edward Albee’s “The Death of Bessie Smith,” which starred local jazz legend Shirley Witherspoon, did turn-away business late last winter. Post did two musical revues that did well, and Actors Theater of Minnesota staged “Never the Sinner” in March.

Rick Anderson’s Gaydar Productions is staging David Dillon’s “Party” until the end of the month and the Loring will become a major venue for the Fringe Festival starting Aug. 3.

IN addition to the three resident companies, Mary Worth Theater Company will also produce in the space this coming season, Rothstein said.