According to Woodstock Arts Board President Joan Roberts, who has been the public face for the struggling cultural venue in the town's gateway district - established to help protect the site of the town's key theater since the 1930s - the current situation's been threatened for months. But it was only in March that letters formalizing procedures were sent to her and placed on the Playhouse's temporary outdoor theater structure just off Mill Hill Road.
"We've got about $410,000 out in mortgages," Roberts explained, noting that of that, $76,000 was at Rondout Savings, whose local branch manager is on the current WAB Board of Directors. "We haven't paid the mortgage in a long time."
The playhouse, burned to the ground in 1988 and still in the process of rebuilding, has been having financial troubles for years. The money (or lack thereof) quote, from Roberts:
"The vision for the Playhouse has always been great, but vision isn't enough."
As of last month, longtime Woodstock resident and business owner Robin Kramer was still holding out a sliver of hope for the Playhouse.
Most of the original force behind rebuilding the playhouse is no longer around. After a few seasons when the Playhouse was able to pay its bills by booking concerts from acoustic musicians to rock and roll bands, a new neighbor moved behind the playhouse and complained about the noise. They had to stop booking bands. Levon Helm tried valiantly to save the Playhouse by playing to packed houses and donating all the money to the Playhouse. The original plan was to raise enough money to enclose the Playhouse and replace the seats to more comfortable seating. The community has often come together to save the Playhouse, and hopefully this year will be no exception. The Woodstock Playhouse is truly one of the symbols of old time Woodstock.