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Thanks to a generous donor, Ford’s Theatre will reopen tomorrow morning, more than two weeks after the National Park Service closed the historic site as a result of the government shutdown. A press release sent this afternoon says that Ronald O. Perelman, a Ford’s Theatre Society trustee and founding sponsor of the society’s Lincoln Legacy Project, agreed to donate $25,000 to keep the theater open for the next eight days.
Ford’s Theatre Society Director Paul R. Tetreault discussed reopening the theater with NPS officials over Columbus Day weekend. Borrowing an idea from states that picked up the tab to reopen popular sites like the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, and the Statue of Liberty, Ford’s Theatre Society struck a deal with the Park Service to locate funding that would replace operations usually paid for by the federal agency, the release says. The short-term funding comes in four-day increments.
Performances of The Laramie Project, previously relocated to First Congregational United Church of Christ, will take place in the theater beginning tomorrow evening at 7:30 p.m. Patrons who already purchased tickets for upcoming performances can attend as normal; remaining tickets will cost $25. All other parts of the national historic site, including the museum and Petersen House, will open tomorrow at 9 a.m.
Should the government shutdown continue for longer than eight days, the society may have to explore other funding options. “While we are pleased that we have found a short-term solution,” Tetreault is quoted as saying in the press release, “we sincerely hope that the shutdown ends soon, as private dollars cannot replace the government’s role at Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site in the long term.”