The long-awaited audit of the finances of Hagerstown's historic Maryland Theatre has been released, showing that the theater finished the last six months of 1996 with a $21,171 surplus. No red ink is a good thing.
But the surplus was achieved in the way made popular by corporate giants in the past 20 years - eliminating jobs and cutting salaries. Unlike the big corporations, however, whose executives must keep stockholders happy by periodically explaining their plans for the future, it's still unclear what the theater board plans for the next three months, let alone the next three years.
Will there be a capital campaign to raise money for structural repairs? Will there be a director hired to rebuild public confidence and encourage membership subscriptions? And will the theater become the cultural center of downtown again, or just another rental hall, open only when some promoter is willing to risk his own money on the outcome of a show?