Local theaters in the Hudson Valley are eagerly awaiting the City of Peekskill’s RFP for a new management team at the Paramount Center for Performance Arts.
Still, that excitement will remain tempered until more details about the theater’s financial standing are revealed.
The city owns the theater and leases it out to Paramount’s board of directors, but does not manage the building's day-to day operations. The Peekskill Common Council announced it was seeking proposals during Monday's meeting. The Paramount's board of director's announced the theater is temporarily closing for financial reasons on Oct. 3.
“We would have to consider the RFP,” Bjorn Olsson, executive director of the 843-seat Tarrytown Music Hall. “We think the Paramount should be a viable stage in Westchester and we would definitely consider putting in a proposal. A lot of it depends on what details come out of the RFP. We don’t know what they’re looking for yet.”
Olsson said the Tarrytown Music Hall has been able to grow despite the recession and he believes the same thing can happen in Peekskill.
“We’re on such a different track,” Olsson said. “We’ve been growing 10 to 30 percent each year. It’s possible that we could grow even more if the recession had not been there, but we haven’t really slowed down. What we found here is a good balance between being there for the community and bringing in big artists. We would try to apply what we learned here in Peekskill.”
Chris Silva, executive director of the Bardavon in Poughkeepsie and the Ulster Performing Arts Center in Kingston, said he received a friendly phone call from a Peekskill official asking if he would be interested in submitting a proposal to manage the Paramount a few weeks ago.
Silva said he finished the phone call with a number of unanswered questions.
“We’ve taken over organizations like the Hudson Valley Philharmonic and the UPAC, but those were different situations," Silva said. "The Paramount is a different world. It’s in Westchester. It’s not just across the river from us like the UPAC. But more importantly, we need to know more information like what happened before it closed. What’s going on over there?”
Lisa Reilly, executive director the 275-seat Emelin Theater, said the situation with the Paramount is being followed closely throughout the county.
“I think everybody in the cultural community wants to see the Paramount succeed and we’re willing to whatever we can that is in our power to make that happen,” Reilly said.