he financial challenges of the previous year gave focus for Broadway Rose’s management and board of directors in 2012. With grant funding from the Oregon Cultural Trust and the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, Broadway Rose hired The Canoe Group to guide them in creating a four-year strategic plan that mainly focused on achieving financial stability. In addition, the Meyer Memorial Trust gave a grant to Broadway Rose to gain technical assistance for cash flow analysis and business cycle planning. The company hired business consultant Nanita Sammons to do the analysis and help strengthen the company’s financial management and solidify a
sustainable business model that ensured the stability and growth of the company for many years to come. Strategies for improving cash flow included moving the annual gala earlier in the year, introducing dynamic ticket pricing, and instituting early subscription renewal prior to announcing the season show titles. The James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation offered a $20,000 matching grant and donors with new, renewed, and increased gifts quickly helped Broadway Rose reach their matching-gift goal.
Additionally, goals focused on providing audiences with fine artistic programming. Broadway Rose received a $10,000 grant from The Collins Foundation and their second National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant to produce The Drowsy Chaperone. The production won the Drammy Award for Outstanding Production. That year the company also staged The Sound of Music. The Theatre Guild hosted a Sound of Music Sing-Along to the Movie fundraiser, and the summer production received tremendous praise, including one review from BroadwayWorld.com which boasted, “…you know this play, and you know this theater company. Both of them are amazing and are institutions for their own various reasons. So go, and be a part of something big and wonderful that will stay with you for the rest of your life and maybe even past then.”
In 2013, the company produced the Andrew Lloyd Webber classic Cats with the assistance of its third consecutive NEA grant, and the blockbuster show set a new ticket sales record for Broadway Rose. The production received much praise with one reviewer noting, “This troupe, without exception, nails every beat.” Always…Patsy Cline, My Fair Lady, and Plaid Tidings also shattered sales goals. With ticket sales as well as individual contributions exceeding expectations, the company was well on its way to achieving its strategic plan financial goals.
2014’s motto was “hold steady.” With an eye on the bottom line, the staff worked diligently to keep spending down while focusing on income opportunities and artistic excellence. One exciting addition to the staff was Jeff Duncan as the company’s first full-time production manager, a much needed position.
2015 was a big year of change! In the spring, executive director Brenda MacRoberts moved to Washington D.C. After an extensive search and careful thought, the board of directors decided to change the organizational model and hired an experienced development director whose sole focus would be on financial stewardship. deShauna Jones, with more than 25 years of fundraising experience, was hired. There were other staff changes too. Vera Rojas, group sales manager, retired at the end of the summer after 13 years with Broadway Rose. Emily Harmon-Watilo now serves groups. The James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation awarded Broadway Rose a four-year operating grant, allowing the company to invest in much needed technical equipment and hire part-time I.T. and marketing support staff. Also, the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation and the Oregon Community Foundation awarded Broadway Rose a grant to develop an Authentic Community Engagement (ACE) plan over an 18-month period of time. Working with respected consultant Bonnie Ratner, the ACE goal is to increase engagement in diverse communities – cultural, economic, and age – throughout the metropolitan area.
The Theatre Guild held another Sing-Along to a Movie fundraiser, this time for Grease, prior to the company’s nearly sold-out six-week run of the staged production that broke New Stage ticket sales records. Other musical staples such as Thoroughly Modern Millie and Oklahoma! received high critical praise.
In 2016 the company celebrated its 25th Anniversary Season and their spring production of Church Basement Ladies sold out 25 of its 26 performances. In March, Broadway Rose founder Dan Murphy was selected as Tigard’s First Citizen by the Tigard Chamber of commerce for his “in-depth, long-term volunteer contributions to the Tigard community over the years.” The annual spring gala, Silver Soirée, was the most profitable fundraiser to date. That summer the company produced two Sondheim classics, West Side Story and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Dan Murphy starred as Pseudolous in Forum, and just prior to the final weekend of performances he became seriously ill and was hospitalized with acute pancreatitis, unable to perform and unable to continue his duties as general manager of the company. As the traditional saying goes when disaster strikes in the theatre: The show must go on! Marketing Director Alan Anderson stepped into the role of Pseudolus (with script in hand). The cast, crew, musicians, and audience all rallied around him. Dan realized that in order to continue to serve this community, something had to change; he would have to delegate some of his duties and accepted the new role of managing director. Paul Jacobs was hired as the new general manager. The season continued with the regional premiere of the new rock fable Fly By Night and closed with a local favorite, A Very Merry PDX-Mas.
Broadway Rose concludes this anniversary season, and this scene, with new staff, improved systems, greater capacity, financial stability, a firm foundation, and many, many dreams and goals for the future. The company has been described as “a miracle.” From its humble beginning to the nationally recognized company that it is today, “success” sums up its history. Together, the founders, staff, board of directors, funders, donors, volunteers, artists, and patrons have contributed to make Broadway Rose Theatre Company Oregon’s premiere musical theatre company. Congratulations!