Dickie Brennan Group buys part of theatre

Published 10:40 pm Saturday, January 7, 2012

The sale of 60 percent of the structure that houses Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre to the Dickie Brennan Restaurant Group for $3 million was completed on Dec. 29, Le Petit board president Cassie Worley said.

The sale allowed the French Quarter theater to pay off its $700,000 bank debt, begin refunding ticket fees owed to patrons for the lost 2010-2011 season and pay additional vendor debts.

The sale of interest in the building is meant to pull the theater back from the brink of economic ruin, but it met with resistance from some Le Petit supporters. Le Petit Theatre Guild, an autonomous group, had circulated petitions to protest the sale and filed an unsuccessful lawsuit.

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The 365-seat main theater will remain intact, while a smaller theater space, dressing rooms, attic and backstage area will be converted into a restaurant. Though the theater and playhouse will share some public spaces, the dining and theater operations will be separate.

Worley said precise timetable has been established for installation of the restaurant and refurbishing of the theater, though she said some work could start in January. The stage area and attic have been cleared in preparation for construction, she said.