Tuesday, June 19, 2018
News Roundup

Live Oak Theatre receives $100,000 anonymous donation for Brooksville performing arts center

For the Live Oak Theatre Company, the show will go on.

The company, now in its eighth performance season, has raised nearly $138,000 in donations toward its campaign to purchase a former Hernando County administration building at 21030 Cortez Boulevard and transform it into "The Live Oak Center for the Performing Arts."

On Feb. 26, the theatre company received a $100,000 check from an anonymous contributor, its biggest donation so far.

"I’ve never written that many zeros on a deposit check in my life," said Live Oak president and artistic director Randi Olsen. "I was completely blown away by their generosity and their faith in us. There really are no words to describe that feeling."

Along with the donation came a separate "challenge" grant from the same family. If the company raises another $100,000, the family will match it with $100,000.

"We’re ecstatic because this donation has totally legitimized the campaign … and solidified the fact that we will be in Brooksville as a performing arts center," said Vince Vanni, vice president of the group. "We have our work cut out for us, because we need to raise $100,000 on our own."

Prior to the family donation, the company had raised nearly $35,000. Donations came in change jars filled to the brim, one-time donations from community and company members, and donation pledges toward the company’s monthly mortgage payments.

For the past five years, Live Oak performed in Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church, but as time went on, the theatre company began to outgrow it.

Company leaders rearranged show schedules and gave each spring, fall and Christmas show two full casts, known as double-casting, to accommodate the 150-member group. Soon, the demand for shows became too much for the church’s schedule, and the theater group needed its own space.

"We wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for that space," Olsen said, "but we outgrew them."

After their Christmas show, ‘Annie,’ sold out — even with an extra performance added — the company began its search for a new location that could house their swelling crowds and dream of creating a performing arts center. A performing arts center in Brooksville, Vanni said, "will do a lot for the culture of the city."

Nearly every Sunday on his way to church, Vanni drove by the two-story, 13,000-square-foot county building on Cortez Boulevard. On Jan. 23, Hernando County commissioners voted unanimously to accept Live Oak Theatre Company’s offer of $500,000 and sell it.

"Everybody has been stepping up and giving us what they can," Olsen said. "The anonymous donation really made it become a community effort … People feel like they can step up and give what they can, too."

All the group needs to do now is "determine what we need to do to improve the building before we occupy it," Vanni said.

Their spring show "ReUnKnighted," an original musical, debuts April 20 and will be the group’s last production at Faith Evangelical.

Contact TyLisa C. Johnson at [email protected] Follow @tylisajohnson.

Comments
Argument over dog leads to fatal shooting in Polk County

Argument over dog leads to fatal shooting in Polk County

A Fort Meade man was killed Monday night and two others were wounded after Polk County deputies say they approached a man while searching for a lost dog.The shooting occurred around 6:45 p.m. at the home of suspected shooter Charles Peddycoart, at 41...
Updated: 28 minutes ago
The Daystarter: South Florida rapper gunned down; murals adorn reclaimed water tanks; the album we’ve all been waiting for

The Daystarter: South Florida rapper gunned down; murals adorn reclaimed water tanks; the album we’ve all been waiting for

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• It’s here: summer. Highs this week will all be in the 90s, with feels-like temperatures near 100 degrees, according to 10Weather WTSP.• As you head out for your morning commute, check...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Review: On ‘Everything Is Love,’ Beyonce and Jay-Z emerge from chaos defiant, triumphant

Review: On ‘Everything Is Love,’ Beyonce and Jay-Z emerge from chaos defiant, triumphant

In 2016 Beyoncé dropped Lemonade, a culture-quaking song cycle about her troubled marriage to Jay-Z, and more broadly about the black female experience in America. It was her best and most meaningful work, and it was nominated for Album of the Year a...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays DFA Rob Refsnyder to make room for Kevin Kiermaier

Rays DFA Rob Refsnyder to make room for Kevin Kiermaier

The Rays made official after Monday's game that CF Kevin Kiermaier would be activated on Tuesday.And to make room on the 40- and 25 man rosters, they designated for assignment OF Rob Refsnyder.Acquired from the Indians for cash considerations just be...
Updated: 5 hours ago
St. Petersburg residents will see higher water, sanitation bills

St. Petersburg residents will see higher water, sanitation bills

ST. PETERSBURG — Residents can expect their water and sanitation bills to increase between $7 and $11 starting in October.That represents an average of a 7-percent increase. Customers who use an average of 4,000 gallons a month, including reclaimed w...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Romano: A Tampa Bay

Romano: A Tampa Bay "superstar’’ caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s border policy

At this moment, she is Tampa Bay’s most influential export. A smart, accomplished and powerful attorney making life-altering decisions on an international stage.But what of tomorrow? And the day after?When the story of President Donald Trump’s border...
Published: 06/19/18
Rays journal: A 4-0 lead disappears in loss at Houston

Rays journal: A 4-0 lead disappears in loss at Houston

HOUSTON — The Rays brought up several of their top prospects so they can get as much experience as possible.And Monday that included seeing how the relentless defending champion Astros worked their way back from an early four-run deficit to sco...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella pondered upside-down pitching in 2005

Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella pondered upside-down pitching in 2005

HOUSTON — Well before the idea of using a reliever to open games, as the Rays did against the Astros Monday for the 12th time, and then bringing in a starter was even a gleam in the eyes of the current Rays staff, former manager Lou Piniella wa...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Nazi or not? Tattoo sparks Twitter storm over wounded New Port Richey veteran

Nazi or not? Tattoo sparks Twitter storm over wounded New Port Richey veteran

The federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is pushing back against a social media post implying that a combat-wounded New Port Richey veteran has a Nazi symbol tattooed on his arm.In a tweet Monday afternoon, ICE officials denied the vete...
Updated: 8 hours ago