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Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.
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Oneonta Theater

For $3M, Theater Can Reopen In Collaboration With Foothills

For $3M, Theater

Can Reopen In

Collaboration With Foothills

By JENNIFER HILL

Ian Austin/HOMETOWN ONEONTA –  Patrice Macaluso told those gathered that there were ways local people could help lower the proposed $3 million cost, including volunteering.

ONEONTA – Oneonta Theater can be back in business again for $3 million.
Evan Delli Paoli, an architect with the New York City-based firm, Holzman Moss Botino, told a gathered audience at Foothills on Tuesday, Feb. 19 that amount would pay for basic but necessary restorations and improvements needed to make Oneonta Theater operational.
That was the final conclusion in the feasibility study, headed by Duncan Webb, Webb Management Services, into whether or not the Oneonta Theatre could be saved.
Delli Paoli labeled that combination of cost and restoration items as a “Good” budget item as well as two other budget-restoration packages labeled “Better” and “Best.” Their budgets were $6 million and $10 million, respectively, with more restoration items and higher quality work corresponding to the costs.

“All three of these price points are so the project can move forward,” Delli Paoli said.
Basic work on the theater included such items as stabilizing the theater’s interiors and overall structure and bringing the building into code compliance. The higher cost packages added items such as restoration of the theater’s interior plaster and enlarging the orchestra pit.
Delli Paoli also presented a list of “a la carte” restoration/improvement items that he said could be done independently or in addition to one of the three suggested budget categories.
He also proposed $2-300,000 for doing minor improvements to the Foothills Theater. He said his firm envisioned the Oneonta Theater and Foothills established as anchors of a new arts district in Oneonta.

$3M Would Reopen Theatre, But With Foothills Involved

$3M Would Reopen Theatre,

But With Foothills Involved

Patrice Macaluso, Friends of the Oneonta Theater (FOTOT) president, said she believes the conversation started by Webb Associates’ strategic plan for the for-now closed cinema constitutes “progress.” Her remarks came after Duncan Webb, at podium, reported it would take $3 million in repairs and renovations to reopen the theater, and $300,000 annually would need to be generated in revenues. For the Oneonta to fully flower would take $10 million, his study concluded. Webb said SUNY Oneonta is not interested in collaborating at this time, and FOTOT should seek a collaboration with Foothills Performing Arts Center. He added, “Oneonta Theater really shouldn’t proceed independently.”  (Jennifer Hill/AllOTSEGO.com)
FULL STORY IN HOMETOWN ONEONTA,
ON NEWSSTANDS WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for MONDAY, DECEMBER 17
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for MONDAY, DECEMBER 17

Meeting On Oneonta Theater

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PUBLIC MEETING – 7 p.m. Meeting on Oneonta Theater. Oneonta History Center, 183 Main St., Oneonta. 607-432-0960 or visit www.oneontahistory.org

VISIT SANTA – 3 – 6 p.m. Visit & Take pictures with Santa & Mrs. Claus. Santa’s Cottage, Pioneer Park, Cooperstown. 607-547-9983 or visit www.thisiscooperstown.com/events/santa-his-main-street-cottage-cooperstown

Can Oneonta Theater Survive? Consultants Will Report Findings

Can Oneonta Theater

Survive? Consultants

Will Report Findings

Public Meeting At Foothills Dec. 17
Does the Oneonta Theater have a future? Find out when Webb consultants reports at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17, at the Foothills Atrium.

ONEONTA – Duncan Webb of Webb Management Services and his team of consultants, who have spent the past six months assessing whether the Oneonta Theater can be a successful performance venue, will report their findings at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17, in the Foothills Atrium.

The public is welcome at the public presentation, with Q&A to follow.  Webb Management Services is considered the foremost consultant in the area of theater development.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SUNDAY, AUGUST 26
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SUNDAY, AUGUST 26

‘Brandenburg Concertos’ By Bach

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CONCERT – 7:30 p.m. Hear Bach’s “Brandenburg Concertos” performed by returning favorite Joseph Lin. Ticket’s, $25/adult. The Otesaga, Cooperstown. 877-666-7421 or visit www.cooperstownmusicfest.org/new-events

ANTIQUE ENGINE SHOW – 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Single-cylinder gas engine enthusiasts show their antiques from the early 1900s. Stop by for engines, food, community lawn sales, more. Fly Creek Cider Mill, 288 Goose St., Fly Creek. 607-547-9692 or visit www.flycreekcidermill.com/antique-engine-show-fly-creek-day-lawn-sales

EDITORIAL: Amy Schumer Proves It –

Editorial, June 8, 2018

Amy Schumer Proves It

Cooperstown-Oneonta Market

CAN Support Top Acts.

Study Should Underscore That

Amy Schumer filled Foothills.

Amy Schumer’s almost-instantaneous sellout performance Tuesday, May 29, at Oneonta’s Foothills Performance Arts Center proves it: There is a demand for top-rated entertainment in Otsego County.
The remaining question: What’s the price point?
As Schumer proved, $20 – a true bargain – is fine. So is probably $30. Maybe $40. Certainly, at $50 a seat there will probably be some audience erosion, but how much?
At $20, Foothills grossed an estimated $14,000. At $40, it would have been $28,000, not a bad gate, plus bar sales.
It was quite a story. Foothills Manager Bill Youngs looked up from his desk the Friday afternoon before and there was Amy Schumer herself, one of the nation’s top comics (and a niece of our U.S. senator, Chuck Schumer.)
Having recently moved to the area, she wanted to do a benefit in four days, to test out the material in her upcoming “Amy Schumer And Friends” national tour.
Youngs and his office manager, Geoff Doyle, rose to the occasion, setting up an online ticket office in short order and getting the word out over social media. Overnight, the 650 tickets were sold. (Well done, guys!)
The line that evening extended up South Market Street almost to Main, an unprecedented sight in the City of the Hills. Since Gordon Lightfoot reopened Foothills in 2010 to great excitement, there’s been only one other sellout.
Now, no doubt, Youngs and his board members are sharpening their pencils and looking at their performance list to see how Amy’s hit evening might be duplicated, and triplicated, and quadruplicated … and so on.

Still, the whole question of what Greater Oneonta, and that includes Cooperstown, can afford in the way of entertainment is still up in the air, despite notable successes in the market. Another example: retiring Catskill Symphony Orchestra maestro packed SUNY Oneonta’s Dewar Arena April 28 for his final concert.
That question mark looms lately in the mind of anyone who may walk past the historic Oneonta Theater, and to see its front doors plywooded over despite the best efforts of its owner, Tom Cormier, over a decade.
Happily, Mayor Gary Herzig can report, FOTOT – the Friends of the Oneonta Theater – in collaboration with the Greater Oneonta Historical Society, has been awarded $60,000 from the city’s Downtown Redevelopment Fund to answer that question.
FOTOT/GOHS has contracted with New York City’s Webb Associates, the foremost arts-center consulting firm in the country, to finally conduct a market survey to determine how much entertainment Greater Oneonta can afford, and what type.

Foothills declined to participate in seeking the city grant, but Mayor Herzig says it’s now agreed to provide consultant Duncan Webb whatever information he may need to come up with a sound conclusion on the arts scene as a whole.
“That’s important,” said Herzig, “because you can’t talk about restoring the Oneonta Theater without talking about Foothills. They have to work together. They have to have a defined market niche. We’re not looking to build up one at the expense of the other.”

The queue of fans waiting to get into the Amy Schumer concert at Foothills Tuesday, May 29, demonstrates quality entertainment can fill theaters locally. Photo by Hannah Bergene

Webb is expected to start work in early July – very exciting, particularly since City Hall, leveraging $10 million from the Cuomo Administration in Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) funding, now has the money to act on Webb’s best recommendation.
“That’s exactly what we need to know,” Herzig said. And right now, we don’t.

According to Herzig, in addition to a market survey, the $60,000 will be used to determine what it will cost to renovate the historic theater back to its original glory. (Cormier put a new roof on it, so – fingers crossed – damage won’t be structural.)
“The outcome of this study may be there’s not enough support in Onoenta. Or the engineering study may say it just costs too much,” Herzig continued. “FOTOT understands this could be the outcome.” But at least everyone will have given it “their best shot.”
The mayor – and all arts fans, who enjoy Foothills today and enjoyed the Oneonta Theater, even under its latest struggling incarnation under Cormier – have to hope both very different facilities can finally thrive, particularly with the 2008 recession fading and a sense that better times are arriving.
As a good omen, Herzig points to Catskills Hospice contracting with ZZ Top, the beard-toting, guitar-driving band that’s been packing houses for almost a half-century now, to perform at its annual fundraising concert Saturday, Aug. 25, at the Sixth Ward Athletic Club field.
Tickets, he pointed out, will be as much as $250, and it’s sure to be a sellout.
It’s a benefit concert, sure. But a sellout would again show the draw of top quality, as Gordon Lightfoot and Judy Collins and Loretta Lynn did almost a decade ago now.
In the baseball region, let’s say with some confidence: If we book it, they will come. It being quality, which entertainment fans will certainly appreciate and, we can hopefully anticipate, support.

 

2 Dozen Concerned Citizens Discuss Oneonta Theater Fate

2 Dozen Concerned Citizens

Discuss Oneonta Theater Fate

Meg Hungerford, City of Oneonta finance director, advises two dozen people concerned about the fate of the Oneonta Theater that supporters should develop a plan of action if they want City Hall to help them in seeking grants and annual CFA state funding. The citizens had gathered at a “Community Conversation” this morning at the Oneonta History Center, concerned about reports that theater owner Tom Cormier, who has had the property on the market for the past year, is running out of patience.  Full details in this week’s Hometown Oneonta, on newsstands tomorrow afternoon.  (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for TUESDAY, MAY 2
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for TUESDAY, MAY 2

Topic: Oneonta Theater’s Fate

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COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS – 8 a.m. Join discussion of the Oneonta Theater’s fate, in light of owner’s failure to sell building.  Kathleen Gasperini, a theater expert with summer home in Schenevus, will be present. Greater Oneonta Historical Society, 183 Main St., Oneonta. Info, call 432-0960 or e-mail info@OneontaHistory.org or visit www.oneontahistory.org

IDENTITY DISCUSSION – 7 p.m. Learn about how mental health differs for people from different cultural and physical diasporas. Chesebro room, Hartwick College, Oneonta. Info, Joanne Georges georgesj@hartwick.edu or call (203)518-1880 or visit calendar.hartwick.edu:8080/calendar/ViewCal.html

Oneonta Theater At ‘Critical Stage’

Oneonta Theater

At ‘Critical Stage’

Options To Be Discussed Tuesday

In ‘Conversation’ At History Center

The Greater Oneonta Historical Society is looking for new ideas to save the historic Oneonta Theater.

ONEONTA – The deteriorating Oneonta Theater has reached a “critical stage,” Bob Brozowski, Greater Oneonta Historical Society executive director, told the GOHS’ annual meeting this evening, and a “Community Conversation” has been scheduled for 8 a.m. Tuesday in the History Center, 183 Main St., to discuss how it may be saved.

Kathleen Gasperini, a theater expert who has a summer home in Schenevus, will be among the attendees, Brzozowski said.  All interested parties are welcome.

Tom Cormier, who bought the building for $225,000 in 2009 and put it on the market for $925,000 last year, has been unable to secure a buyer, even while dropping the price to $725,000, and is running out of options, according to conversation at this evening’s meeting.

“We can’t lose that theater,” Brzozowski said, and he hopes ideas will come out of Tuesday’s meeting to keep the building secure until its future can be defined.

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