Breaking News: TTOPA Evicted After Current Show Closes

By Bill Hirschman

Tamarac Theatre of the Performing Arts will shut down, at least temporarily, after the end of its current show June 30 because its landlord is evicting the company after 13 years, said General Manager Bill Schmookler.

TTOPA producers Bill Schmookler and Dorothy Willis

The long-term future for the 33-year-old non-Equity theater is a question mark.  The eviction notice delivered Thursday morning has forced the theater to cancel its July show, The Boys Next Door. The company will return money to patrons who have already subscribed to the 2013-2014 season, he said.

For once, it’s not a matter of finances, Schmookler said. “We don’t owe anyone a dime. We pay our actors and directors. Our current show, I Do! I Do! is sold out for Saturday,” he said.

The landlord of the property at 7143 Pine Island Road wants to overhaul the storefronts. “They don’t want a theater in there,” he said.

Schmookler said he will be looking for a new venue, but had no certain idea where or even if it would resurface.

TTOPA opened in 1980 when actress/educator Ann White and actress/playwright  Dorothy Willis founded the Ann White Theatre. Later, as Willis took over more of the duties from the aging Ms. White, it became known as the White-Willis Theatre. White died in 1998 and Willis became the president and lead producer.  It originally performed at several venues around the county including the Main Library Auditorium in Fort Lauderdale and various condominiums. It moved to the Tamarac Square West Shopping Center where it turned a former restaurant into a 99-seat theater. Willis renamed it in January 2004 to honor the city it was based in.

Longtime TTOPA employee Barbara Glickman heard the news late Thursday, “It’s shocking. It’sa devastating.”

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