Seaside Music Theater merger dead; theater closing

According to the News-Journal, Daytona State College has given up on taking over the theater. The Seaside Music Theater is part of the News-Journal Center for which a college acquisition was in the works.

Lester Malizia had this to say:

“I realize the economic situation is horrible around the country, but good God, why turn your back on something that was so positive, so good for the community and was doing such good work?”

He’s been the art director at the theater for 20 years. I haven’t been to the theater, and I see their website is a couple months out of date, but apparently they had a whole bunch of summer performances scheduled, which were canceled due to their insolvency these past six months. And they owe thousands of dollars to ticket-holders for plays that were never shown. They’re selling off computers and costumes just to refund what they owe. It was a quarter-million dollars as of July, but no one would give more up-to-date figures.

“SMT had been struggling financially since a lawsuit by Cox Enterprises, which owns 47.5 percent of The News-Journal, forced the Davidson family and News-Journal Corp. to sever ties with the theater.”

I don’t think the theater ever provided enough value to the local community to justify its operating costs. The News-Journal was taking a loss on it before, and without their help, the theater would obviously fail. It’s a shame, but this will make way for newer, better theaters.

11 thoughts on “Seaside Music Theater merger dead; theater closing

  1. As a working professional in NYC for Broadway and off-Broadway, I am still to this day broken up that this amazing theatre that created so much progressive and high quality art is closed. I would like to ask if anyone still even cares about this article…. Is there even a mediocre community theatre in Daytona now? Or as naively suggested, ‘a bigger better theatre?’

  2. SMT was a wonderful theatre. I have worked in theatre all my life. Please learn a little about the craft before saying a theatre spends to much money. Truth be told most theatres work in the red because in order for a theatre not to rely on large government subsidies or generous sponsorships like the New Journal’s, in some cases theatres would have to charge $100s or even thousands of dollars a ticket. Something people also complain about.

    SMT employed hundreds of actors, dancers, directors, designers, marketers, painters, seamstresses, carpenters, electricians, craftsmen, etc. These people now no longer have jobs. Additionally, all of the associated community revenue is lost.

    Theatre lovers often traveled 4 or 5 hours to come to SOT. There productions were that good. Just a short while ago the theatre hosted one world premier and on US premier in the same season and people traveled from all around the world to come to Daytona and see the plays.

    Before you start nonchalantly insinuating that the theatre never really did much for the community, think about where their hundreds of employees and thousands of audience members spent their money. That’s right, right here in Daytona. At the hotels, the restaurants, the antique shops, the book stores, and maybe even the places you work. Researchers have shown time and time again that for every dollar you spend on a theatre seven to twelve dollars will come back to the community. If the quality of their work was half as good as it was their continuance would be valuable even for that reason.

    This theatre holds a very special place in my heart and you’d be hard pressed to find another with as much, heart, compassion, or success as this one. My dream is to see the Seaside Music Theatre resurrected from it’s untimely ashes. I’m just not sure if anyone is big enough for the job.

  3. SMT was a Class AAAA theater in a Class AAA town. They put on great shows, but they could only do it if a sugar daddy made up the difference financially. Exit the sugar daddy, exit the theater.

    • There are ads all over the place at Daytona State College for shows at the News-Journal Center. I don’t remember the end result of the merger but the theater is still there and open.

  4. “I don’t think the theater ever provided enough value to the local community to justify its operating costs.”

    …I’m sorry, but that is just bullshit. SMT was the only professional theater of its caliber in the area. Everyone who wants to see a show will now have to drive all the way to Orlando or Jacksonville.

    This is wrong.

    The theater provided jobs not just to actors, but to people like me who loved to work backstage. Now what are all those people going to do? Leave the community? That’s what I did.

    I worry for the state of the arts in Daytona Beach. I really do.

    • Don’t bother driving to Orlando. The Bob Carr theater sucks. We used to drive to SMT and News-Journal to see plays and concerts.

      • Most theaters are instruments of socialism. They receive heavy government funding and subsidies. Sure, they can do well in a capitalistic system, but the theaters in our area would not make it without government help.

      • Case in point: the Ocean Center vs. the Peabody Auditorium. The Ocean Center receives tons of government backing. They should be able to put on some real good shows at reasonable prices. Yet the Peabody does much better.

  5. “It’s a shame, but this will make way for newer, better theaters.”

    Oh yes, that’s just bound to happen…

    • Seriously, Mr. Thripp is looking forward to “better theaters” but admits he never attended a show at SMT. Better than WHAT, Mr. Thripp?

      • You’re right. If I want a better theater, I’m going to have to start it myself. 😀

        I went to a show once at the DSC theater, required for humanities class. Great lighting, stages, actors. Seemed a bit long though, and most people were there as family of the cast or for school assignments.

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