Cedar Falls Community Theatre half way to goal for capital campaign

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CEDAR FALLS – Nearly half way there.

The Cedar Falls Community Theatre has raised nearly $650,000 toward its “On Goes the Show” $1.5 million capital campaign goal. Funds are being raised for improvements at the 108-year-old Oster Regent Theatre.

Having raised that sum by reaching out to CFCT board members and other dedicated supporters through personal contacts and a letter campaign, CFCT is now appealing to grassroots fans.

“We’ll be sharing materials and information about the campaign in racks in the lobby and making announcements during curtain announcements at shows, along with phone calls and meetings with interested businesses and individuals,” said John C. Luzaich, general manager.

CFCT luminaries Kristin Teig Torres and Gary Kroeger are co-chairing the capital committee, which also includes Luzaich, CFCT Artistic Coordinator Liane Nichols, CFCT board chair Pat Lyons, Ann Lyons and Julie King, CFCT office coordinator. Actress Annabeth Gish, who grew up in Cedar Falls and is currently starring in Fox-TV’s “The X-Files,” is serving as honorary chair. Gish served in the same position during the 1994 Restore the Regent campaign.

“The Oster Regent is a mainstay of Main Street. We need to support it and keep it vital. We have this beautiful old building that is an aesthetic place for people to come and experience live theater,” Teig Torres said.

The theater entertains about 35,000 patrons each year, drawing audience members into downtown Cedar Falls from around the area.

“When I moved back to the Cedar Valley after 14 years in Denver, Colo., it was extremely important to continue living out my passion for acting, and having a place to do that right in the heart of Main Street was critical,” said Teig Torres, who has also directed at CFCT.

At the same time, she said, “we need to invest in upkeep” at the Oster Regent Theatre. Updates and repairs will keep “theater fresh and on the cutting edge” for serving people.

Nichols agreed. “We have this wonderful facility and a great reputation, and we don’t want to lose all of that. The building is important to us as a venue and as a historical piece for Cedar Falls, and the upkeep of a 100-plus-year-old building is not pain-free.”

Luzaich ticked off a list of items the capital campaign is expected to help fund, including a new roof and improvements to the stage and back stage areas, curtains, orchestra pit, sound system, Main Street entryway, the box seats, the marquee, an office technology package and a cyclorama, used to create the illusion of sky, space or great distance at the rear of the stage.

“We also want to establish a musical endowment so we can continue to produce musicals, which are very expensive because of royalties and licensing rights,” Luzaich said.

Theater technology has changed dramatically since the Oster Regent underwent restoration nearly 25 years ago. “We’re trying to update those things, and we have a wish list and well as things we need right away, like a roof,” Nichols said.

As precursor to the campaign, CFCT rebranded with a new logo created by 1 Vision. “The logo is a visual representation of the brand that CFCT has been developing for decades as a fun, engaging place that cares about the community and the history of Cedar Falls,” said Blake Conover, president of 1Vision.

“It’s always the work of volunteers that make any campaign successful, and that’s true here, as well. The staff, committee and volunteers have made this an easy campaign.”

Several special fundraising events are planned, including Gish appearing on stage with Teig Torres in “Love, Loss and What I Wore” on March 24. Tickets are expected to go on sale March 9. Capital campaign contributors of $2,500 or more will get priority seating with two tickets to the show and a VIP reception event with the cast following the show.

“CFCT is celebrating its 40th anniversary and intends to be around for many more years. Some of us won’t be around, but other people will be, and we want to make sure this theater continues to thrive. We’re laying the ground work to leave it in good shape,” Luzaich added.

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