There is not much Pacific Repertory Theatre Executive Director Stephen Moorer has to say about the past and future management of the 110-plus-year-old city-owned Forest Theater that his organization is seeking to manage, but he is happy to answer all questions on Shrek or Julius Caesar, he says.
“We are only in the middle of the RFP process with the city of Carmel,” Moorer writes. “No decision has been made.”
Nonprofit PacRep is not the only applicant that has responded to the city’s request for proposals. Steve Retsky, who worked as the Monterey Peninsula College master electrician for over 32 years, also applied to take over the lease.
If awarded the contract, Retsky is planning to start a company and implement ideas discussed over the years, such as off-site parking and a shuttle service.
“The neighborhood doesn’t like having an audience there, and lower impact on the community should be a priority,” he says. “Instead of trying to make money, the city should concentrate on maintaining the bohemian spirit of the theater.”
From 2017 to 2021, the theater was run by another Carmel nonprofit, Sunset Cultural Center Inc., and before that by city staff. The city faced a typical dilemma of a public facility that aspires to less spending and more benefit. But with an old wooden building from 1904, which was declared an unsafe structure and shut down from 2014 to 2016, constant cost is part of the equation.
The Carmel City Council discussed the lease in closed session on Sept. 7, and will discuss further in October. City Administrator Chip Rerig offers few details but says that as of Sept. 8, “there’s one candidate – the nonprofit.”