Frequently Asked Questions About Our Mission
1) How much money has been raised? 500 people have pledged $585,000 in just 7 weeks. This is a truly remarkable outpouring of community support.
2) Where do the existing offers for the building stand? There is only one remaining offer - for $1.2 million – on the table (the higher offer of $1.4 million was withdrawn).
3) When will the theater close? Bowtie’s lease expires in September and they have no plans to extend the lease. As a result, the theater will go dark by the end of September.
4) Is the Pelham Picture House’s Kickstarter campaign connected to this fundraising effort? The Picture House is not involved in this fundraising. If you pledged to their canceled Kickstarter campaign, you should not have been charged. It is still possible that we could ultimately collaborate or partner with the Picture House. In the meantime, to pledge your support for the Larchmont Playhouse, please visit our website,
5) If we pledge, is there a non-profit organization formed so that eventual donations will be tax deductible? We are now incorporated as a not-for-profit under New York state law and are applying for tax-exempt status under federal law (that takes several weeks). We will also be seeking people who would like to serve on a 25-member board of directors. Like most not-for-profits, serving on the board will also entail an annual contribution, in an amount not yet determined (the contribution could, based on other non-profit arts organizations, range from $2,000-$10,000, but we haven’t started to address this. We would hope it could be at the lower end of the range).
6) Do you have a business plan and under this model will the theater be self-sufficient? We do have a business plan; it can be found on our website at www.larchmontplayhouse.org. We are modeling our efforts after several other community owned and operated theaters in towns such as Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania and Chevy Chase, Maryland. As for self-sufficiency, like all independent, community based, not-for-profit theaters, we would hope to be self-sufficient but recognize that this is unlikely in the first few years of operation. Most small theaters depend on contributions to cover 20-50 percent of annual operating costs, according to industry statistics. Our annual costs are likely to run at least $800,000 per year. While our projected revenues should cover those operating costs, we will need additional funds to cover such start-up costs as projectors, initial staffing requirements, and any immediate repairs.
7) Where will funding for the start-up costs come from if we buy the building? Some of those funds will come from the board of directors, others from donations, membership sales and fundraisers. All not-for-profits, whether movie theaters, regional theaters, museums or colleges, annually rely on a donor base. In addition, we will apply for foundation and government grants, and recruit corporate partners.
8) How can group of residents know how to run a movie theater? To start, we will rely on the experience of other independent theaters – the executive directors are a collegial bunch and are more than willing to share their experiences and their knowledge. We’ve been in touch with several of them already, which is how we could come up with some of the numbers in the business plan. In addition, there is in our community a wealth of talented individuals many of whom have already volunteered to help. We are also fortunate to have a number of residents with industry experience who have expressed their willingness to help guide us on a pro bono basis. We know that before we open the doors we will have to hire a theater manager to oversee ushers, ticket-takers and maintenance, and we will need to have an active board to work through the issues that inevitably will arise.
9) What kinds of movies do you anticipate showing? We will have family fare, like Finding Dory and The Secret Life of Pets, along with independent films, like Café Society, Spotlight and Brooklyn. But we’ll have some commercial movies as well, such as this summer’s remake of Ghostbusters. It will be a mix suitable for the community, combined with some special programming.
10) Will the Playhouse be renovated? There’s no question -- the Playhouse needs an overhaul (it was last renovated about 25 years ago). How extensive the renovations are depends on how much is raised. At a minimum, the seats and carpeting need to be changed. We would also like to add a small café and get a liquor license (under New York law, liquor licenses are predicated on the sale of supper-like food). We could convert one of the small theaters to a flexible use theater, with removable or convertible seating, so that it could be used for special events or private parties. It would make sense to renovate gradually -- one theater at a time -- so we don’t lose the income from the other theaters.
Pledging to the theater is an investment in our community and a commitment to the revitalization of our downtown. We all know how sad Palmer Avenue looks with all the empty storefronts. This is our chance to help improve Larchmont while also preserving a cultural center.
Other comparable towns -- like Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, Chevy Chase, Maryland, Bedford, New York, and Brookline, Massachusetts -- have in the last 15 years bought and renovated their theaters to keep them running. We can do the same here.
According to Larchmont resident and Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee, “Supporting the Larchmont Playhouse means championing both the cinema and our community.”
If you haven’t already pledged, we urge you to join us with a pledge TODAY by clicking on the "Support" tab or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you have, thank you again! If you have any questions, send them to this email or contact any one of us below.
Betsy Bradley and Eric Lai/Ruth Bradley and Todd Harrington/Lori and Bob Brandon/James Breen/Thomas Breen/Michelle and Fred Daum/Nina and Michael Daum/Jackie and Richard Emmet/Monica Foster and Mark Balsam/Naomi and Dan Lowenthal/Ellen and Terry Martin/Jackie and Terence Paré/Elizabeth Reich and Rene Holl/Vicki and David Rosenstreich/Sara and Anders Toftgaard/Jessica Veith and Sid Mehta/ Philippa and Phil Wharton/Ellen and Michael Zuckert