It’s intermission for Malibu Stage Company

Tensions behind the scenes at Malibu Stage Company boiled over publicly Monday when members of the theater’s board of directors asked the City Council not to reverse the city’s award of $75,000 to the fledgling performance venue.

The city awarded the grant last year, but the theater, as of yet, has not been able to raise the necessary matching funds.

A rift among board members, apparently tied to the resignation of the board’s chairman, Richard Carrigan, caused the city to reevaluate whether the grant should be withdrawn.

The split among board members was evident Monday. Charles Marowitz, the theater’s artistic director and a member of the board, asked the council to pay a previously requested $25,000 advance on the grant. Marowitz said with the advance, the fall season could get underway, and fund raising would then be an easier task.

“We could then launch a subscription series, which is vital to community theater,” said Marowitz.

But board member David Weintraub said the other members had voted to suspend theater operations until a replacement for Carrigan has been found. The governing body also voted to withdraw the request for the advance, Weintraub said. After a reorganization, which Weintraub said included plans to ask Marowitz and his wife to resign from the board, the theater would start its season next year.

To avoid losing the grant, board members said they would provide whatever financial records are necessary for a review of the theater’s business practices.

Pleased with the forthrightness of board members, the council agreed to freeze the funds pending a review by Administrative Services Director Bill Thomas. The council members also expressed their support for the theater and their hope that the problems could be resolved.

“It’s a wonderful project, and I hope it comes to fruition,” said Mayor Carolyn Van Horn.

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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