Fundraising to rebuild the Triumvirate Theatre is continuing, with a challenge grant issued that may add $400,000 to the total. The Triumvirate is also preparing to debut a full-length documentary about the February 2021 fire and following fundraiser, which will be shown at the Kenai Cinema.
Triumvirate Theatre President Joe Rizzo said that so far around $1.5 million has been raised. This is a combination of grants and cash donations. A challenge grant was issued by the Richard L and Diane M Block Foundation, pledging $100,000 dollars if $100,000 can be raised. Rizzo said they’re only $35,000 away from hitting that goal, and once it is hit the Rasmuson Foundation will double the total to $400,000.
The documentary, “The Show Must Go On” is currently being edited. It is “about the fire, about the fundraising and about putting up the new community theater,” Rizzo said. A trailer for the film was published to the Triumvirate Theatre Facebook page Monday. The film will premiere with a special showing at Kenai Cinema on Sept. 10.
Rizzo says that the theater is currently reaching out to donors and pushing hard to complete the challenge grant by September. The deadline for that fundraising isn’t until November, but in September the theater has to submit the last information to the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, and Rizzo is looking to make an impression by showing off the massive additional sum. “I think that could go a long way to help secure that grant from the Murdock.”
Proposed spending announced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Aug. 1 included a million dollars attributed to rebuilding Triumvirate Theatre. Rizzo described applying for the money, and hearing that they were placed on Murkowski’s list of requests. “Those requests, of course, got pared down in subcommittee, but we did survive that step, and according to Senator Murkowski’s office that’s a pretty significant step,” Rizzo said. “None of that funding is guaranteed. A lot can happen between now and when the president signs that.”
Alongside ongoing fundraising efforts, the Triumvirate is still putting on shows and events.
This summer, the theater held a production of “Tarzan” at Soldotna Creek Park. The show was supposed to run at that venue for two weekends, though Rizzo said the rain was pouring so hard that they had to move the second weekend into the auditorium at Soldotna High School. The theater began hosting its Musical at the Park series last year with a showing of “The Little Mermaid.” “Tarzan” was “really successful,” according to Rizzo, with around 600 in attendance at the park the first weekend and 700 at SoHi the second weekend.
Triumvirate Theatre also held two two-week-long drama camps in partnership with the Soldotna Boys & Girls Club. The camps were supported by a Camp Initiative Grant from the Rasmuson Foundation and culminated with productions of “The Jungle Book” and “Pirates of Penzance.” Rizzo said that drama camps used to be regular summer programming for Triumvirate, “that honestly was kind of the building blocks that created Triumvirate Theatre as it is today.”
Looking forward, the Triumvirate Theatre will put on a production of “The Music Man” in October in the Nikiski High School auditorium, with shows Oct. 7, 8, 14 and 15. Auditions will be held Aug. 25 at Nikiski High School. A couple of weeks after that run, the Triumvirate will be putting on the semi-annual political satire show “Lame Ducks and Dark Horses” at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex.