Before there was Overture there was the Madison Civic Center. It was worth about $30 million but more important is the function it performed. From 1980 when it opened under the guidance of Mayor Joel Skornicka:
- It was the home of the Crossroads where ten of thousands of kids saw musicians and puppets.
It nurtured CTM and the Madison Repertory Theater as they moved from a fragile community-based theater to a solid community-based theater
It introduced Broadway plays, ballet companies, international folk and classical musicians as well as stand up comics to hundreds of thousands of patrons.
- It introduced to Madison, and the world, fledgling groups like The Nylons.
- There was lot more that I have overlooked. It was the home to at least four community-based performing arts musical and dance organizations.
While the aldermanic candidates, understandably want no part of the Overture bailout when it comes to the construction debt, someone needs to start thinking beyond that to the future of community arts in Madison.
The Bartell is great but south-central Wisconsin is in the process of losing the Isthmus, the Capital Theater, and the community-based functions of the old Civic Center.