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| Arts |

Cultural Affairs Hopes to Announce a New Operator for the Majestic Theatre Early in 2010

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We last spoke with Maria Munoz-Blanco, director of the city's Office of Cultural Affairs, about the Majestic Theatre in mid-May -- just as Dallas Summer Musicals Management Group was opting not to renew its contract to manage the 89-year-old city landmark, given a $1 million loss since taking it over in 1999.

Since then, the city issued a request for proposals from would-be operators. And since the deadline was last Wednesday, I thought it might be a good time to check in with Munoz-Blanco and see how that went -- and what's next.

On the record, she won't say exactly how many proposals were submitted, but she does offer that "our goal was between three and five," given that it's not inexpensive to operate the theater. (She told Unfair Park in May that it costs some $1.2 to $1.3 million annually to run the joint.) "That was realistic, given the size of the pool of who does this kind of work. It's a complicated theater -- it's big -- and for it to make money you have to have the right kind of acts."

Now, the Office of Cultural Affairs and the city's purchasing department will sift through the proposals in the hopes of making a recommendation to the city council next month. In the meantime, Dallas Summer Musicals will continue to operate the theater; matter of fact, it has two productions on the Majestic schedule, including the current Christmas With the Rat Pack and a stage adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock's 39 Steps due next month. (Also on the sked for this month: Pink Floyd and Michael Jackson laser shows! Far out.)

Right now, she says, the theater's being used about "60 percent of the year." And while she knows there's "a perception" out there that the AT&T Performing Arts Center will cut into potential Majestic bookings, Munoz-Blanco says, "I'm confident that the Majestic will continue to operate as it always has" with a new operator in place at the beginning of 2010.

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