August 19, By Christian Murray
The secret is out.
Richard Mazda, the founder of the Secret Theatre, is looking for donations in order to save his theater from closing.
Mazda, who operates the off-Broadway theater at 44-02 23rd Street, said his theater company got into a financial hole after the Department of Buildings discovered his building was not up to code—and he was stung with fines, architecture fees and other costs.
Mazda, who said the theater runs on a very slim margin, had not budgeted for such hefty expenses.
With his back against the wall, Mazda is hoping to raise $10,000 by the first week of September via a fund-raising campaign on the website Indiegogo. He is asking for donations for as little as $10. To date, he has received about $400.
The theater relies for the most part on ticket sales. It does not receive many donations and is not eligible to receive taxpayer funded grants.
Furthermore, he said, good shows don’t always bring in much in the way of profit. “We often do a show that is well received… with full audiences… and only still break even or make such a small profit,” he said on his fundraising video.
The theater puts on plays, musicals and children’s shows. The venue offers space that is rented out for rehearsals, parties, art exhibits and film screenings.
Mazda, who was the founder of the LIC Arts Open, said if he had to close “it would be a disaster for me, personally, and for the off-off Broadway community in New York City.”