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  • Writer's pictureAnthony Chase

Radice Resigns as "Curtain Up!" Chair

Today, in an email addressed to TDA President Lisa Ludwig and the Theatre District Association Board, Neal Radice resigned as chair of Curtain Up! Theater Talk Buffalo received a copy of Radice's message from a third party. We make its content available below. Contacted by telephone, Radice stressed that he does not want his resignation to be a "big deal," and that he sincerely hopes for the success of the event. He simply no longer feels comfortable serving as chair.

Dear Lisa and the Board of TDA:

I am no longer comfortable Chairing Curtain Up.  I, therefore, resign the position of VP for Curtain Up 2019.

I've been on the Board of TDA for nearly 40 years, Chaired the event 9 or 10 times in the past and have never lost money for the organization. However, the kind of back and forth and second guessing that is going on over... ticket prices, open bar, dance floor... practically every issue, etc. is tying my hands and standing in the way of the event being successful.  I have solutions for all aspects of the event including ticketing, but if you and the rest of the Board of Directors are going to pick over every choice, I'm certain the event will be forced to fail. I'm not interested in being forced to fail.

Just one example: Here it is June and, though the Board approved my budget that called for $95 seats, your input over raising prices has forced the decision to remain in the air.

Further, I'm not interested in Chairing an event that, due to ticketing arrangements, continues to give the public the impression that Curtain Up is a Shea's event.  I pursued a contract with Vendini so that no theatre would be given that PR reward.

Lisa, though you asked (begged) me to Chair CU!, you seem to prefer to make all the decisions about the event yourself... so go ahead. But, at this point, a decision that has been made that I am convinced you should honor is my invitation to Cullen Foundation to serve as Honorary Chair.  They have not responded yet, but if they respond positively I urge you to accept. They are certainly deserving. Also, all the major entertainment for Act III has signed contracts. The tent is not contracted since, without knowing your ticket prices, I don't know if we need a 300 or 400 capacity, and the caterer is not contracted (unless you have done so) since it seems the matter of open bar is still an open question.

Btw, In response to your pushing for a higher price ticket ($115) and open bar, last week I sent this information to those on my committee who are responsible for fundraising:  "I am no longer confident that I can manage the budget and have it come out in the black.  I can't see how an open bar could have any effect on sales since Curtain Up has been going for 37 years with a cash bar and we have had very large attendance in the past. The observation that attendance has been dropping in recent years should instead point to two prominent facts: 1) the marketing (or lack of it) has been dreadful, and 2.) the price of the dinner has been increasing.  I fear that the new higher price is going to keep attendance down and, even if the higher price brings in enough money despite lower attendance, we will have only made the event more exclusive, which I feel flies in the face of our actual mission."

My opinion has not changed.

You should know that this year's Steering Committee is the best I have ever known. They have been quick to jump in and complete tasks, not to mention the considerable experience of those who have served on CU Steering Committees in the past.

You would be making a further mistake if you do anything to discourage their continued participation.


Neal Radice

Executive Director

Alleyway Theatre


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