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North Shore Music Theatre to Close

North Shore Music Theatre (NSMT) in Beverly, Massachusetts has announced that it has failed to raise the $2 million needed to keep the theater running.

Operating since 1955, NSMT evolved into the largest non-profit producing theater in New England, with approximately 350,000 patrons annually. It annually produced a six musical subscription series, a concert series, a Theater for Young Audiences program, a school touring program, and year-round classes for children.

In December, the theater announced that it was in dire financial straits, citing the economy, lower expected donations and ticket sales, and debt that accrued following a 2005 fire that forced major renovations. It has drawn support from Broadway stars such as Kate Baldwin, Mandy Bruno, Jonathan Groff, and Aaron Lazar, who have participated in benefit performances. Since announcing a turn-around strategy in mid April, it has also raised more than $500,000 in pledges.

In a statement, NSMT Board Chair David Fellows said, "In the last two months we have been able to make progress toward our fundraising goal, but sadly, this is not enough to fund a 2009 season and keep the theater open. Without a season this year, we are unable to address the substantial debts of our creditors and restore the theater's economic health."

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