Broadway by the Bay unites in the rapidly changing downtown Redwood City neighborhood

ByShannon J. Cortes

Aug 16, 2021

A visitor to Redwood City will come across signs proudly proclaiming its theater district, but the two resident companies that have set up the theater in the district are not operating in downtown buildings.

Game presenter Dragon Productions is closing its physical doors at 2120 Broadway at the end of the month and will live nomadically. Broadway by the Bay, at the historic Fox Theater since 2011, held its last performances there in November 2019.

A producer of mass-market popular musicals since the 1960s, Broadway by the Bay – BBBay to friends and fans – saw its most recent production, “The Sound of Music”, literally shut down the day before it opened in a temporary location at the College of San Mateo, when new COVID regulations at the time suspended all public gatherings in March 2020.

“Our long-term partnership with the venue has come to an end because the new owners (of Fox) have different priorities for their venue,” said Alicia Jeffrey, executive artistic director of BBBay, retrospectively of the unexpected change of venue.

During the hiatus imposed by COVID, Jeffrey reviewed and refined his own priorities and those of BBBay.

“We just hit the brakes. The combination of the impacts of both the pandemic and all of the heightened awareness of racial justice inspired us to seize this opportunity to completely rewrite the corporate purpose. “

The absence of overheads and the shift from a small paid staff to a fully voluntary model has opened up new possibilities.

She describes BBBay as having “always operated as a for-profit business on a not-for-profit model. We didn’t own our theater, we don’t have municipal partnerships, and we don’t have a lot of core resources that other community theater companies have to offset their costs or allow them to monetize in some way. different.

More personally, she says, “I learned that I no longer wanted my passion and my salary to live in one place. Making theater my paid job changed the paradigm from “It’s your job, and you have to do it” from “It’s your passion, and you want to do it.” Disconnecting these factors really re-invigorated my passion, literally to the point of decision.

Now, with news evolving on the COVID continuum, BBBay is unlikely to make a significant reappearance until 2022.

“I’ve revised my risk profile, and trying to create some drama on a main stage at this point, with all the unknowns we have, looks like mismanagement of the donations we’ve received.”

Finding the right location will be the key to BBBay’s future. “We are working to establish a new partnership with a community organization that is really interested in partnering with us on the impact our presence can have on a community,” says Jeffrey, adding, “I don’t feel like we need to. resolve this, however, before it’s a good time to resolve it.

For more information on Broadway by the Bay, visit bbbay.org.