The Village Playbox of Haddon Heights has been in existence for 84 years, but the past few years have been difficult for small community theatres like us. The pandemic contributed to the shuttering of two long-time local companies, and for three years the Village Playbox stage was dark. Our last play before we had to shut down was a very well-received production of Harvey in February of 2020. Unfortunately, we would go on to lose eight mainstage productions along with several concerts and our children’s summer camp. We were able to hang on, though, and in 2023 we returned with three successful mainstage productions: You Can’t Take It With You in February, Steel Magnolias in May, and Laughter on the 23rd Floor in November. In September we held our annual One-Act Play Festival, and in October our first Spaghetti Western combined a pasta dinner with a program of country-western music. Songs of the Season, a choral program of Christmas and other seasonal music, closed out a successful 2023. Then we received bad news just as were gearing up for A Comedy of Tenors: damage from a flood caused by a ruptured waterline in the kitchen meant the church had to close the social hall for major repairs and renovation. We were informed that it would take months to complete. For the Village Playbox that meant losing the income from a major production as well as a play about baseball legend, Ty Cobb.

As a small community theatre, the Village Playbox relies on ticket sales from one production to pay for the next. In this case, we lost the money that would have paid for our upcoming production of Jesus Christ, Superstar. Musicals, even older ones like JCS, are expensive, but they reliably draw big audiences, generating the income we need to pay our bills: rent, insurance, rights and royalties for the next play, music for our concerts, building materials, paint, costumes, props, and a hundred other small things. During the pandemic, those bills depleted our savings, and we lost our financial buffer.

The company that holds the rights to Jesus Christ Superstar requires full payment in advance.┬áThis is standard in the industry. We just don’t have enough money to cover that expense. We need your help. Please consider making a donation to our Go-Fund Me account. Here is the link: donate.villageplaybox.org. Your donation will not only help us to stage this much-anticipated musical; it will help the Village Playbox to stay in business. We have an exciting season planned for 2024-25, but that won’t happen if we can’t produce Jesus Christ Superstar.

Please help us to make sure the Village Playbox doesn’t become another casualty in the local theatre community