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Investors secure Historic Everett Theatre’s future

EVERETT — Investors have stepped up to secure the Historic Everett Theatre’s immediate future.
A group of six local investors collectively put up the money to buy the building on Dec. 1 and keep it under the nonprofit theater’s purview.
Theater manager Curt Shriner spent this year searching for people to sign onto the deal. His brother Craig Shriner, who bought the theater’s debt note in 2014 and then plunged thousands of dollars into rejuvenating it, desired to sell and retire at age 70.
Curt Shriner, not far behind in age, has managed it the past five years and been working in the theater’s shows the past 20 years.
The deal details were not disclosed. However, earlier this year Craig’s sale price to the investors was stated to be $1.9 million.
The 117-year-old theater at 2911 Colby Ave. is listed on the state’s Register of Historic Places. Its opening day was Nov. 4, 1901.
The six investors all live within a 25-mile radius of the theater. Two are from Everett, one is from Snohomish, one is from Shoreline and two are from Marysville, Curt Shriner said.
“It’s great, it beats the alternatives for sure,” he said of this sale, considering the theater building originally was put on the open real estate market before the community purchase idea emerged.
The investors’ buy-in puts them on the board and gives them a piece of the real estate, but that doesn’t mean they’ve bought a ticket to change its focus.
“They’re all on the same page for the theater’s direction,” Curt Shriner said.
The challenge for now is selecting shows that appeal to a broader audience, but the nonprofit faces an uphill battle doing so without big pockets. With its future settled, Curt Shriner said he’s hustling to book a full 2019 calendar without blowing his budget.
The theater’s limited budget means that today’s hot acts are out of his price range. In this business, almost every performer wants a down payment just to appear, regardless if the show’s a dud.
It still is pulling in notable names, though, including this year’s show with R&B and soul musician Aaron Neville. The Dope Show, which has its comedians smoke marijuana, is set to return April 20.
Its most common acts had their heydays long ago.
On tap this spring is Jefferson Starship — Grace Slick left the band long ago — as well as the 1970s group Ambrosia. The Ambrosia show in February is going to be opened by the singer-songwriter duo Brewer & Shipley, whose biggest hit “One Toke Over the Line” hit AM radio dials in 1970.
Shriner appears open to suggestions.
The other booking challenge is due to location. Acts often desire to be in Seattle, and Shriner said the Historic Everett Theatre is competing for showdates with, for example, the Seattle Theatre Group nonprofit which runs the Paramount, the Moore and the Neptune theaters. Another competitor is the Tulalip Resort Casino, which last summer pulled in ‘70s chart-toppers Styx as well as a modern reconfiguration of the band Creedence Clearwater Revival.



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