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Celebrity Buzz Stirs Hope for Theatre

By Joyce Kryszak and Mark Wozniak

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-749798.mp3

Buffalo, NY – Nicole Kidman's publicist tells the Buffalo News that the story that Kidman would write a $50,000 check for the Studio Arena Theatre is apparently a hoax. The story appeared on an entertainment website Saturday night, in which the actress was quoted from London as willing to provide help to the financially strapped theater. The publicist said Kidman did not arrive in London for play rehearsals until Monday.

But the buzz over celebrity support for Studio Arena has generated renewed interest in the fate of the troubled theatre.

"Studio Arena is an icon worth saving." That's a quote from actor Kelsey Grammer that is posted on the theatre's web page. Grammer is helping raise money for the theatre. And even reports about Nicole Kidman's support for the theatre have spurred new hope. Not so much that leagues of celebrities will step forward to rescue the theatre, but that the public will recognize the importance of keeping the theatre alive.

Managing Director Iaian Campbell said the story puts attention back where it should be.

But after filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy, with nearly three million dollars of debt, the theatre still has some rebuilding to do.

Campbell said the immediate goal is raising enough money, roughly $200,000, to secure the building and continue to keep the lights on.

He and others say that would go a long way toward stabilizing the theatre and settling the nerves of supporters. Audre Bunis is secretary for the board and a long-time advocate for the theatre. Over the past year, she said they have taken an honest assessment of what needs to be done in the future - and what should have been done in the past.

She said one correction has been returning to the theatre's core mission. But she said there will likely be some changes soon on the board as well to ensure the theatre keeps moving in the right direction.

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