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Unique Florida theater company files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy

A sputtering economy like the current one hits every market sector, but entertainment ventures may especially be feeling the pinch as cost-conscious consumers trim entertainment expenses from their budgets.

That’s part of the reason behind the Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing of Florida Stage, a Florida-based professional theater company. Florida stage stood out somewhat among its peers because it was founded with the goal of producing only new American work. Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings, a court appoints a trustee to liquidate a distressed business’ assets and divide the proceeds among the business’ creditors. After the process is over, neither the business nor the business’s debts exist any longer.

The Florida Stage board of trustees voted for bankruptcy protection after a steep reduction in subscription sales for the 2011-2012 season, a lack of interest in its summer production and the failure of its recent fundraising efforts, all of which left the company $1.5 million in debt. Michael Schultz, the co-chairman of the board, said the theater’s troubles began when the national economy crashed in 2008.

Nationally, ticket sales to many movies have been lower than expected and some singers have cut back on concert dates because of a lack of interest. Even some casinos have reported fewer customers. Entertainment options are also feeling the sting of a high unemployment rate among teenagers and young people. Without summer jobs, young adults do not have the discretionary income to spend on traditional summer pastimes like sporting events and shows. Such cash flow often provides the bread and butter of many entertainment sources.

Source:, “Florida Stage Files For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Protection,” Beau Higgins, 7 June 2011.

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