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Curtain opens on MTG drive
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MONROE - The Monroe Theatre Guild (MTG) kicks off its capital campaign Friday while at the same time launching its performance of "Fiddler on the Roof."

The capital campaign is organized into four phases. The first goal is to raise $150,000 by the end of the year to pay off the loan for the building; phase two is for $200,000 by Dec. 31, 2009 to renovate the building; phase three is for $100,000 by Dec. 31, 2010 to pay for sound and lights; and phase four is for $100,000 by Dec. 31, 2013 to create an endowment for operating expenses as well as scholarships, Suzanne Miller said. Miller is part of the steering committee for the campaign.

For 38 years MTG has featured popular plays and performances from local actors.

For most of its 38 years, MTG didn't have a specific location for its plays. Over the years plays were performed at the Monroe Middle School, the Monroe Arts Center, Turner Hall, the former Dutch's Restaurant, Blum Hall, The Idle Hour Mansion and the Monroe High School Performing Arts Center.

Temporary stages were taken down following the performances.

By 1982 MTG members started to plan for a time when they would have their own place to use for their performances. MTG members began to save 10 percent of the profits from every show to help raise money.

In recent years, a committee made up of Marlene Bergemann, Dave Bristow, Mark Miller, John Peterson, John Rosa, Mary Soddy, Chris Weis, and Nadine Whiteman was formed to help locate and purchase a building.

In 2007 MTG purchased the former Stage building at 910 16th Ave.

Miller said the members have been happy to have a permanent place for rehearsal and storage.

Plans for the building include a small, intimate theater and rehearsal space, lobby and concession stand, costume storage and a full workshop for building sets and props. The facility will enable MTG to expand its theater offerings and its ability to conduct workshops and classes.

The group's mission has always been to educate people in the art of live theater. Part of the goal with the new theater space is to start a youth theater program, offer regular theater classes and provide more opportunities for people to perform as well as for people to attend.

Anyone who wants to donate to the capital campaign can contact the Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin 328-4060 for more information.