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Erin Stewart and Jerick Hoffer star in "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," a co-production of Balagan Theatre and Seattle Theatre Group. (Photo Credit: Christopher Nelson)

Newly Closed Balagan Theatre Was $340K in Debt

New reports show that the recently closed Seattle theatre had amassed over $340,000 in debt due to poor financial planning.

SEATTLE: Numbers have been released about the recently closed Balagan Theatre, and they are not pretty. The theatre, which had specialized in new musicals, announced its closure on Sept. 24. The theatre had a debt bill of $340,000, according to AT contributor Misha Berson, reporting for the Seattle Times.

Balagan owed money to a number of entities, including Seattle Theatre Group (which had co-produced three Balagan shows), Jerick Hoffer (aka Jinkx Monsoon, who is still owed back pay for starring in Balagan’s staging of Hedwig and the Angry Inch in 2013) and Contemporary Classics (which co-produced Next to Normal with Balagan in 2013).

STC is writing off Balagan’s debt to them, but even with that, the amount owed to other entities surpasses $240,000. When asked what contributed to so much debt piling up, Balagan co-founder and former manager Jake Groshong says that after Balagan lost its primary performance space, the Erickson Theatre, it did not seek to find a way to recoup the lost income from renting out that venue.

“We always made money on our shows,” said Groshong, “and never really pushed the fundraising. We needed to do that, but unfortunately it didn’t happen.”

That plus larger show expenses and disappointing ticket sales meant the theatre’s days were numbered, and not even a personal loan from Groshong and former artistic director Louis Hobson (plus the $71,000 raised by Balagan’s board this year), was enough to save the theatre.

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