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Arts District: The Orchestra's Budget

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A small group of invited guests took a look at the result of the collaboration between David Shimotakahara and his GroundWorks Dancetheater ensemble with choreographer Dianne McIntyre and composer Olu Dara to create a new dance piece. Last week at Cleveland City Dance's Shaker Square studios, the company previewed an as-yet untitled piece they'll debut January 22 at Breen Center, St. Ignatius High School's new performance space.

McIntyre — a Clevelander who came back from New York in recent years after a career choreographing for film, TV, Broadway and dance companies including Alvin Ailey's — has collaborated with jazz guitarist and cornetist Dara for years. Dara used the word "choreo-drama" to describe their work together. Choreo-bio would also be accurate, as the new dance is made from stories dancers related about their parents and grandparents.

Like bigger theaters, the Largely Literary Theater Company has a holiday staple. But in their case, it's more about preserving literature than the company's bottom line. Founded in 2001 by Mark Dawidziak and Sara Showman, the company's purpose is to stage adaptations of great literature as faithfully as possible to the original language. They've done adaptations of works by Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain and, in collaboration with Hiram College, Dashiell Hammett. Their first production — a three-person, 90-minute adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, endures as their annual holiday offering. Dawidziak stars as Dickens and a few other voices; Tom Stephan plays Scrooge. Showman takes on 15 different roles. They give a free performance at 2 p.m. Saturday, December 19, at the Louis Stokes Wing Auditorium of the Cleveland Public Library (325 Superior Ave., cpl.org, 216.623.2800).

Cost-cutting, cash-reserve payments and increased financial support from trustees weren't quite enough to erase the Cleveland Orchestra's recently announced year-end deficit. The shortfall can be traced to the economy, as ticket sales declined 5 percent, corporate and foundation money declined more than 20 percent, and income from the orchestra's endowment fell with the value of investments from $124.4 million last year to $97.2 million this year — its lowest value in more than a decade.

But the orchestra's $2 million (4.5 percent) deficit on a $43.7 million budget looks rosy compared to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's $3.8 million (13.1 percent) deficit on a budget of $29 million.

mgill@clevescene.com

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