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February 2, 2010

New partner for Oneonta Theatre


FOTOT as an organization will continue, she said, but she didn’t return telephone messages Monday night to comment further.

Weiss said he and Cormier struck up a partnership after renovation plans were reported in The Daily Star.

Recently, the effects of the area’s struggling economy have prompted some peaks in the cultural community. The National Soccer Hall of Fame Museum ended regular hours and laid off staff. Foothills Performing Arts Center fired staff last month in the wake of financial issues. And last week, owners of the Oneonta Tigers announced that the minor league team would move this year to Connecticut.

But the effects of the recession and upheaval in the three Oneonta institutions don’t diminish optimism for revival of the Oneonta Theatre, the businessmen agreed Monday.

The stage may present country music, jazz, blues and classical music, stand-up comedy, theatrical performances and, later, more-technically challenging productions after improvements are made.

The businessmen said they have spoken with theater professionals elsewhere and are confident the Oneonta area can support a smorgasbord of activities. In addition to area residents, audiences may change with the tourist season and college academic years, they said.

FOTOT’s support ``has been a very important part of the journey of this place,’’ Cormier said, adding that he ``has left the door open’’ to FOTOT to determine its role with the Oneonta Theatre.

He and Weiss said they will reach out to meet with local community, arts and cultural organizations to encourage use of and support of the theater. Not all performances will be money-makers, Cormier said, and the goal includes offering the facility to nonprofit groups.

``We are open to speak to and work with anyone and everybody,’’ Cormier said. ``In our opinion, everybody here needs to be our customer. When you ask who is the audience, it’s really everyone.’’

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