Towson dinner theater to close

Business: After 20 years of productions, F. Scott Black and his partners plan to call it quits.

April 14, 2001|By Laura Lippman | Laura Lippman,SUN STAFF

F. Scott Black's Towson Dinner Theatre, an institution for 20 years, will close the first week in June.

General manager Diane Trowbridge said she and the other two active partners - its namesake, F. Scott Black and lawyer Hyman Cohen - have been discussing the possibility of closing since January. She said audiences have been dwindling steadily at the theater at 100 E. Chesapeake Ave., its location for the last six years. (Its first home was at 7800 York Road.)

An outside production, "Late Nite Catechism," has been using the theater the majority of the time.

"It's very sad, there's no doubt about that," said Trowbridge.

Black, who also founded the Cockpit in Court summer theater in 1972 at the Essex campus of the Community College of Baltimore County, said he started the theater to give area professional actors another venue.

"Part of the goal was to give a place for talented actors to perform and to get some remuneration," Black said. "They gave so much and it was nice to give a little bit back to the theater. It was an actor-centered theater."

Trowbridge said not enough people want to see "old-fashioned" musicals like "South Pacific" and "Oklahoma."

"The dinner theaters that survive this lull are the ones who will put on productions like `Grease' and `The Best Little Whorehouse (in Texas),' " she said. "That's what the younger audiences want."

The theater will end its season with "Once Upon a Mattress," a musical planned for production last year.

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