Update 12/21: That was no temporary blip at Redmoon Theater last week: the company announced Monday that it has closed its doors, after 25 years in which it grew from a Logan Square puppet studio to a high-profile producer of massive, free, urban spectacles.
In a letter to its supporters, and a media statement, Redmoon apologized for the abruptness of the closure, but said “there is no funding model” for its “civic and social artistic vision.” Once it had decided to “operate at the Scale of the City,” neither the ticketed events it hosted in its huge Pilsen headquarters nor its private party entertainment rental service generated enough revenue to support it.
Redmoon Theater appears to have been eclipsed—at least for the moment.
Redmoon’s annual New Year’s Eve “Revolution” bash, which dropped off the calendar this week, was the latest in a series of disappointments that began with the fizzle of its inaugural Great Chicago Fire Festival last year.
And nobody seems to be at home at Redmoon Central. Midweek calls to the office and box office in the company’s Pilsen home went to voice mail; the online box office deflected would-be ticket buyers.
So what happened?
The company is “having some problems with our building,” according to coartistic director Frank Maugeri, who responded to a few questions by e-mail, and who runs Redmoon with executive artistic director Jim Lasko.
He wasn’t more specific, but if you’re thinking a broken furnace or plumbing issues at the huge complex at 2120 S. Jefferson, you’re probably on the wrong track.
Redmoon’s landlord, Phillip Mumford, filed suit against the company in Cook County Court in October, charging it with breach of contract for unpaid rent for September and October, and with occupying the property after its right to possession had been terminated.
The bill was hefty: $62,082 as of October 7. There’s a court date scheduled for December 23.
Maugeri did not respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit, but wrote that ticket holders for the New Year’s Eve event were notified of the cancellation by e-mail on Monday, December 14, and were assured that refunds were in process and should be received within seven business days.
Mumford’s attorney also declined to comment.
As for the future, according to Maugeri, “Redmoon is currently evaluating a restructuring plan.”
Read the full complaint here: