Sunday, September 23, 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
Snell wins No. 21 as Rays beat Blue Jays 5-2

Snell wins No. 21 as Rays beat Blue Jays 5-2

TORONTO — Blake Snell doesn't look like he can be stopped.He pitched again for the Rays in Sunday's 5-2 victory over the Blue Jays, he dominated again and he won again.That's both a major-league-leading and team-record-breaking 21st victory for...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Lightning journal: Roster trimmed to 28

Lightning journal: Roster trimmed to 28

TAMPA – After Sunday morning, the Lightning sat five cuts away from having a 23-man roster to start the regular season.It cut its training camp roster by 27, leaving 28 players on the roster with the start of the regular season less than two we...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Tiger Woods ends five-year win drought with Tour Championship title

Tiger Woods ends five-year win drought with Tour Championship title

Times wiresATLANTA — Tiger Woods, in his Sunday red shirt, both arms raised in victory on the 18th green.For so many years, the scene was familiar.This time, it was surreal."I can't believe I pulled this off," Woods said Sunday during the troph...
Updated: 4 hours ago
$ki Mask the Slump God comes to Tampa

$ki Mask the Slump God comes to Tampa

$ki Mask the Slump God performs at the Ritz Ybor Saturday, September 22, 2018. KASAMBA KOKAYI | For the Times$ki Mask the Slump God is a musical hip-hop artist who has gained a lot of momentum over the past year. From making this year’s XXL cov...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Police in St. Petersburg searching for missing elderly man

Police in St. Petersburg searching for missing elderly man

Police in St. Petersburg are searching for a missing elderly man.Shortly after 5 p.m., Frederick Mein, 86, drove his silver Toyota Tacoma pickup truck from his home on the 1500 block of 78th Avenue N to his daughter’s house a couple of miles away. He...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays journal: Teammates come through for Blake Snell

Rays journal: Teammates come through for Blake Snell

TORONTO — LHP Blake Snell knows he is the one getting all the attention for the remarkable season he has compiled, but he wants to make sure his teammates get some of the credit."It's cool that it's under my name,'' Snell said, "but it's all of...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Whitman: Rainbow yarmulke signals arrival of new rabbi at Brandon's Beth Shalom

Whitman: Rainbow yarmulke signals arrival of new rabbi at Brandon's Beth Shalom

Rabbi Bryan Mann wears a rainbow yarmulke to offer a message.Mann, the new Rabbi at Congregation Beth Shalom in Brandon, wants all people to know they are welcome and accepted.As a Jewish youth growing up in New Hampshire, Mann chose not to come out ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
At memorial service, attorney Barry Cohen remembered as someone who cherished his friends and the law

At memorial service, attorney Barry Cohen remembered as someone who cherished his friends and the law

Barry Cohen made a lot of friends throughout his long career as one of Tampa’s top criminal defense attorneys.But Cohen also made enemies, his fellow attorney Steve Yerrid told the Tampa Bay Times.Cohen would have welcomed them all to his memorial se...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Heart device seen as ‘huge advance’

Almost 2 million Americans have severe heart failure, and for them even mundane tasks can be extraordinarily difficult.Drugs may help to control the symptoms, but the disease takes a relentless course, and most people with severe heart failure do not...
Updated: 7 hours ago

As world watches, Trump to make rounds at U.N.

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — President Donald Trump is poised to redouble his commitment to "America First" on the most global of stages this week. In the sequel to his stormy U.N. debut, Trump will stress his dedication to the primacy of U.S. interests while...
Updated: 8 hours ago