The Kimmel's 2012 camp programs will be curtailed. And other cuts - layoffs, reductions in operations, shaving pensions, or instituting furloughs - are being considered as the center puts together its budget for the coming year.
This scaling back of ambitions is in response to a sluggish economy and reduction in state money, as well as a strike last fall by stagehands and a sweetening of their contract, said Kimmel president/chief executive officer Anne Ewers.
But the other big source of pressure, she said, came from the Kimmel's largest resident company, the Philadelphia Orchestra. Through its bankruptcy, the orchestra negotiated a rent concession of about $1 million a year, a 40 percent cut, from the Kimmel. Additionally, the Kimmel will not receive $1.15 million in back rent owed by the orchestra in months prior to the orchestra's April 2011 filing for Chapter 11, and is facing legal bills incurred because of the unexpected negotiations with the orchestra.
The renegotiated lease will be part of the Philadelphia Orchestra Association's larger reorganization plan expected to be filed shortly in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Ewers says the Kimmel will be granting similar rent adjustments to the Philly Pops, Opera Company of Philadelphia, and Pennsylvania Ballet.
Some of the Kimmel's classical offerings will be made in partnership with its own resident companies.
"The co-promotion piece of what we do has taken off with AEG and Live Nation, so we're shifting more toward earned revenue," Ewers said. "Now we are doing things that are breaking even. It helps us subsidize our resident companies."
She was more blunt in a letter recently sent to patrons of the Kimmel, which opened in 2001 as Philadelphia's answer to arts palaces such as Lincoln Center, and a prime catalyst for redevelopment of South Broad Street.
" . . . We have begun implementing a series of adjustments that will allow us to focus on broad appeal, high-revenue generating and strategic offerings. While we will continue to improve and expand programming most essential to our mission, we will discontinue those that we no longer have the resources to do well or that belie our mission."
The total number of events presented by the Kimmel will not decline, she said, though more of them will be in collaboration with resident companies and commercial presenters. Entities like AEG and Live Nation are expected to present jazz, and the Kimmel itself will still present jazz, she said. In fact, she said, 103 Kimmel-presented events are currently planned in fiscal year 2013, up from 92 in 2012.
However, the Kimmel will not offer a distinct series for each genre. "For our upcoming 2012-2013 season, we will be adopting a season package format that allows patrons to mix-and-match across a wide array of genres instead of offering subscriptions," Ewers wrote in her message to patrons. She said, however, that packages cannot be created by assembling tickets from among the Kimmel's eight resident companies.
Broadway presentations in the Academy of Music - a cash cow for the Kimmel - will continue and even increase. "Broadway is just doing gangbusters," she said.
The Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts will proceed on a biennial basis, Ewers said, with the second one being planned for 2013.
The goal, she said, is to change the earned-versus-contributed income ratio from 80 percent earned to 87 percent earned.
Practically speaking, such a shift precludes importing ensembles such as the Vienna Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Kirov, and others the Kimmel has presented in recent years, since the amount of ticket revenue generated even with a full house does not nearly cover the costs. Philanthropic underwriting of these kinds of concerts is the industry norm.
Kimmel leadership is hoping that architectural changes will bring an increase in revenue. A new ground-floor restaurant operated by Garces Catering is expected to open around the first of next year. A glass shell has been built on the roof of the Perelman Theater with the goal of enclosing a space that has been difficult to make quiet and comfortable enough to rent on a frequent basis.
Additionally, the amendment to the orchestra's Kimmel lease provides new scheduling advantages for the Kimmel - more notice of nights when the orchestra won't need Verizon Hall, for instance - which leaders hope will enable them to rent Verizon more often than in the past.
Details of the Kimmel's new lease terms with the orchestra have not yet been filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, but, according to a statement released by both groups, the rent will be reduced from about $2.5 million to $1.5 million annually. Rent will increase each year through 2017, to $1.74 million. Starting in 2018, the Kimmel can choose between collecting an increased base rent or 16 percent of ticket revenues from orchestra concerts.
On the back burner now are talks between the orchestra and the Kimmel about a merger or partial consolidation. "We haven't thought about it," Ewers said. "We must do what is best for our community. We are here to be a world-class arts center."
Contact Peter Dobrin at 215-854-5611 or email@example.com. Read his blog at www.philly.com/artswatch.