Tag Archives: Renee Gerstman


Actors Theatre closing its doors

Actors Theatre, which has produced compelling, thought-provoking and often edgy plays for nearly 30 years, is closing its doors.

The Board of Directors has unanimously voted to cease operations and liquidate the professional theatre company over the next 30 to 60 days.

“The simple truth is we’re out of money,” said Actors Theatre Board President Renee Gerstman. “This was not the result of a single event, but a combination of factors, primarily based on the fact that revenues – both earned and contributed – did not meet expectations and we found ourselves in a cash-flow crisis.”

Producing Artistic Director Matthew Wiener said that artists and staff involved in the scheduled productions of Annapurna, Stage Kiss and The Year of Magical Thinking started receiving notification of the shut down on Thursday.

“As we were preparing to produce Annapurna, we looked at the situation to determine how best to move forward,” he said. “We recognized that what Actors Theatre does and, most importantly, the way we do it is not sustainable in our community at this time. Among our strongest guiding principles is to pay everyone – and that includes artists and arts workers – a living wage. The economic dignity of our all of our artists and arts workers is one of our highest values, but our donor base and individual and season ticket sales were not substantial enough to provide the financial resources to support the cost structure of professional artists to the degree it needed to be.”

Gerstman said the company will “work through outstanding obligations to the best of our ability during the next 30 to 60 days. We also know we will receive questions about tickets that have been purchased. Though we would like to say we will refund those tickets, we simply can’t. We’re hoping that our patrons and supporters will consider taking the expense as a tax deduction after consultation with their accountants or CPAs.”

Wiener, who has been artistic director for 19 years, said that “the company made great strides and many changes over the past two years and we heard from a broad base of individuals that Actors Theatre is important. Unfortunately, while we agreed with those opinions, they did not translate into the revenue necessary to sustain the organization and we were unable to significantly improve our financial position.”

In a joint statement, Wiener, Gerstman and Black expressed their “deep and abiding gratitude for the support of our loyal patrons and those individuals, organizations and businesses who stood behind us. We are also incredibly humbled to have been able to work alongside a remarkably talented group of artists and staff to bring to the stage the type of productions that matter.”

“We are incredibly proud of Actors Theatre’s legacy over nearly 30 years.” Wiener added. “We know that many patrons left most of our productions affected by and talking about what they saw on stage. Perhaps we will again see those or similar productions and the high professional quality of what went on both on and behind the stage. In the meantime, and in spite our deep, deep sadness at this time, we do know that there are many great arts and cultural opportunities in the Valley. Perhaps we will be part of them again sometime in the future.”


Help for Entrepreneurs Wanting to Franchise Business

Susan Wells, a partner with the law firm of Jaburg Wilk is hosting FranFocus–a no-cost presentation by experienced professionals for successful entrepreneurs considering expanding their businesses through franchising, followed by cocktails, on Wednesday, March 12th from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Jaburg Wilk, 3200 N. Central Ave., Suite 2000 Phoenix, AZ 85012.

Attendees will learn what franchising is, what makes their business franchisable, how to add value through branding, how to prepare their operations for franchising, site build out and commercial leasing issues for franchise systems and how to position their business to attract great franchisees.

Presenters include:

Susan Wells, who has been advising franchisors and franchisees since 1993, when she began representing Cold Stone Creamery®. Susan will discuss what “franchising” is, as well as what makes a business “franchisable.”

Randi Miller, a principal with BrandSculpt, has helped her clients design, develop and monitor performance of new concepts and refine and reposition brands and products to enhance customer experience and increase profitability for over 30 years. Randi will discuss key principles in developing strong brands for fledgling and potential franchise systems.

Dana Robling has been responsible for franchise development for Moe’s Southwest Grill® and Kahala Franchising’s 15 brands. Dana will share her experience in refining and institutionalizing operational practices of a successful business to facilitate franchisees’ successful replication and operation of that business.

Melinda Hinkson has been a co-owner of Sigma Contracting, a general contractor with significant experience in retail build outs, since 1983. Melinda will provide practical advice about what franchisors should consider in developing prototypes for their franchise systems.

Renee Gerstman, a partner with Jaburg & Wilk, advises landlords and tenants in connection with their commercial leases, often in the franchise context. Renee will discuss lease provisions that are necessary for the protection of the franchise system.

Harriet Moser, a Franchise Consultant with FranNet of Arizona and New Mexico, assists her clients select business opportunities that match their skill sets, financial resources and goals. Harriet will share what prospective franchisees are looking for in a franchise system.

To attend the no-cost presentation, please email Lindsay Preach your name, company name and phone number at info@jaburgwilk.com or call 602.248.1044. Seating is limited.