Exit Stage 1 

The fledgling Mechanicsville theater company closes its doors after just one season.

After just one season, Stage 1 Theatre Company announced today it will close its doors over money troubles, according to its artistic director.


“We looked at as many options as possible, but current economic realities make it impossible to ensure financial sustainability for the coming year. Ending now, we can end responsibly, with our heads held high.” Chase Kniffen wrote in a news release.


The decision sent tremors through the theater community, says Jacquie O'Connor, business manager for the two-year-old Henley Street Theatre Company. “This is a difficult time for arts organizations nationwide,” she says. “We have enormous respect for Stage 1 and the work they have brought to the community. We also respect how difficult it is to make the decision they have made.”


Stage 1 was already making its reputation as a serious professional company. In its first season, it positioned itself as a force for presenting new American musicals. Its maiden season included new Broadway hits “Tick, Tick…Boom,” “Children's Letter's to God,” “Normal” and “Summer of '42.” Each show earned praise from local critics.


“I was not willing to gamble with subscribers' money, or lower the artistic standards we worked so hard to establish,” Kniffen says. “This decision has been extremely difficult, but I believe it is the only mature decision we could make.”



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