September 15, 2008 in City

Going once and for all

CenterStage auctions everything before closing
By The Spokesman-Review
 
Brian Plonka photo

Rows of glasses await bidders Sunday at Ella’s Supper Club.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

Bargain hunters converged upon CenterStage and Ella’s Supper Club on Sunday afternoon to collect pieces of the nonprofit theater’s history and find good deals on furniture and other items.

After five years in business, the organization closed its doors for good, and co-founders Tim Behrens and Leslie Ann Grove decided to auction everything off in order to pay debt. Greg Pschirrer, a drama teacher at Lewis and Clark High School, came because he was interested in buying CenterStage’s set for “Forever Plaid,” a production the high school group has staged in the past.

“I want to see it go to good use,” he said.

Pschirrer added that he was disappointed to see the doors close at CenterStage, a place where he has dined and performed.

“It’s just sad to see such a wonderful establishment that did so much for the arts community go under,” he said.

CenterStage’s founders have said a weakening economy and a drop in donations and revenue spelled the end of the organization.

Pschirrer also left with a load of boas, scarves, hats, bandannas, belts, a mask and even a bra, all for $15. He took home an armload of clothing used as costumes.

Twyla Robinson, owner of Big Al’s Country Club in Stateline, Idaho, scooped up benches, bar stools, tables and a computer system.

Items up for the auction included antiques – tables, chairs, picture frames, stools and mirrors – as well as commercial kitchen equipment.

In addition, there were tables covered with an assortment of theater props – a briefcase with a pair of handcuffs attached, a bike horn that many couldn’t resist honking as they walked by, a collection of umbrellas, a nun’s costume, cheerleader pom-poms, hundreds of shoes, eyeglasses, gloves and a couple of clarinets missing their mouthpieces.

Almost everything that wasn’t nailed down was for sale. “If you are sitting on a bar stool, get off,” Mitch Silver, of Silver Auctions, announced to the crowd. It was a sad day for Behrens and Grove, the husband-and-wife team who founded CenterStage, he as artistic director and she as music director.

Grove said the funds raised from the auction probably won’t cover the organization’s debt. “We’ve been very fortunate that many of the smaller creditors have been willing to work with us,” Grove said.

She said she’ll continue to work as a musician and mediator; Behrens performs and tours in comedies written by author Pat McManus.

She hopes there will eventually be another place like CenterStage here, she said.

“Life is hard for arts groups in this town.”


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email