Pam Bugler, J Basham and Christine Tasheff are part of NoMar Theatre Inc., which is trying to buy the Crown Uptown Theatre.WICHITA — NoMar Theatre Inc. is in negotiations with Karen Morris to purchase the Crown Uptown Theatre near Douglas and Hillside.
"I would like to see the theater continue," Morris says. "Ted and I worked there 31 years, and it means a lot to me."
Morris, whose late husband, Ted, founded the dinner theater, owns the building but hasn't been running a theater in the space.
She leased the building to Crown Uptown Management, which struggled financially, until last month when she changed the locks.
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Morris says there are several parties interested in either purchasing or using the Crown Uptown.
NoMar Theatre Inc., which formed two years ago to try and buy and restore the historic NoMar Theatre at 21st and Market, is starting a capital campaign to try and buy the Crown Uptown space.
NoMar TheatreJ Basham, the interim executive director, says the idea is to purchase the Crown and make enough money from it to eventually purchase and renovate the historic NoMar Theatre and the building next to it.
Basham's father owns the NoMar Theatre and has used it for his Basham Rental business.
Basham says the NoMar group has a 12-person board, which includes Pam Bugler, who is chairwoman and has a history in development.
Former Cabaret Oldtown owner and producer Christine Tasheff is on the board as well and will work with Basham, who was promotions and operations director at the Orpheum Theatre for 3½ years, on producing and bringing in shows.
They plan summer educational programs as well.
The NoMar group will stage its own season and bring in other shows and concerts as well.
Basham says the group will invite promoters and others to come in and do shows and concerts or to use the facility for other purposes.
"I think a theater has to be used as a rental house," Basham says. "It's got to be versatile."