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Relight the Liberty Campaign Closes in on Goal with One Day to Go
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Saturday, December 31, 2022
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

The Relight the Liberty campaign needs just over a half-million dollars to save Hailey’s historic theater by the end of 2022.

The Sun Valley Museum of Art has offered to gift the Liberty Theater to the Liberty Theatre Company if it can raise the money by the end of 2022. As of Friday morning, fundraisers needed just $569,236 of their original $1.7 million goal to restore the theater so it again be used for plays, musicals, and other community events.

“We remain optimistic as we are still receiving gifts and we expect to receive gifts into the new year,” said Claudia McCain, board president of the new Liberty Theatre Company. “People have told us that they’re impressed that we’ve been able to raise the funds we have on a volunteer basis without hiring a professional fundraising consultant.”

The theater was built in 1938 as a movie house but transitioned to a performing arts theater in the 1990s after actor Bruce Willis bought the theater and invited Company of Fools, a Richmond, Va., theater company, to set up shop in the theater.

Bruce Willis appeared on stage a couple times in the years that followed and Company of Fools spent two decades entertaining and challenging audiences with such plays as “A Year with Frog and Toad,” “Always, Patsy,” “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” “Grey Gardens” and “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley.”

Company of Fools disbanded during the pandemic and a new company, The Liberty Theater Company, rose in its place, featuring many of the actors who performed with Company of Fools. They already have staged a number of shows, including “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” “The Last Five Years” and “A Night with Sondheim,” but need a home theater to work out of.

The building is in need of structural improvements and air filtration improvements before it can reopen. The $1.7 million includes $500,000 as an endowment to be set aside for its future upkeep.

Naming opportunities are available for those who make significant contributions to the theater from the building itself to the auditorium to a row of seats. The only thing off limits is the stage, which has been named the John C. Glenn Stage in honor of one of the theater’s shining stars, who died too young.

The biggest donation so far is an anonymous one of $250,000. Other Champions of the Liberty include Deck and Susan Waters, who gifted $200,000; the Rotary Club of Hailey, who donated $100,000; The Nancy Eccles and Homer M. Hayward Family Foundation and Carol M. Swig who donated $50,000 each; Linda and Bob Edwards and Ellen and James Gillespie, who donated $25,000 each and Jennifer E. Wilson, who donated $20,000.

100 Men who Care donated $17,600, and Ken Lewis, John Bailey, The Lehman Foundation and Jeri l. Wolfson, $15,000 each. Steven Crowe donated $14,000. And gifts of $10,000 each came from Don Davies and Joan Crooks; Eric Reemais and Joyce Gordon; Roger and Maggie Gould, John Bailey and Grace Harvey, Marty and Mila Lyon, William Pierpoint, Robert and Elizabeth Reniers, the Gerlits Family Foundation, the Halliday Foundation, Theodore Waddell and Lynn Campion and Rick and Cindy Sanders.

To make a donation contact Executive Director JD McDonnell at 312-371-3557 or jd.mcdonnell@libertytheatrecompany.org. Or, Claudia McCain at 208-720-2814 or cvmccain@me.com.

 

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