Empty Space Theatre has raised $162,000 toward the $350,000 sum the fiscally strapped Seattle company needs to stay in operation, according to Empty Space acting manager Steve...

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Empty Space Theatre has raised $162,000 toward the $350,000 sum the fiscally strapped Seattle company needs to stay in operation, according to Empty Space acting manager Steve Galatro.

More than 1,500 people have given money to the Empty Space’s emergency fund drive through direct gifts or by attending a benefit for the theater. The campaign began in late October, after the theater announced it would shut down permanently if it could not raise the money to retire a large debt and fund programming for the rest of the 2004-2005 season.

The average cash donation to the drive has been $265. But as Galatro notes, Empty Space will likely need some “angels” to step up bearing larger gifts to meet the theater’s fund-raising deadline of Jan. 15, 2005.

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“We believe this incredible outpouring of support from the general public will encourage major donors to give boldly as we near the end of the campaign,” stated Galatro.

“We remain cautiously optimistic, but this one is definitely going to come down to the wire.”

More Seattle benefits organized by local arts organizations are planned for Empty Space, including the following:

• “Red Ranger Came Calling,” a special performance of the Berkeley Breathed holiday tale at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Book-It Repertory Theatre at Center House Theatre; 206-216-0833.

• “Monday Night Event,” a cabaret variety show with comedy by Green Theatre Productions. 7:30 p.m. Monday at Taproot Theatre, 204 N. 85th St., Seattle; 425-821-6873.

• “Our Environmental Destiny: An Evening with Robert F. Kennedy Jr.” 8 p.m. Jan. 29, 2005, produced by Foolproof at The Paramount, 911 Pine, Seattle. (Details on purchasing tickets will be announced later.)

For continuing information about benefits and other Empty Space news, consult: www.emptyspace.org.

Vaness to join UW music faculty

Opera diva Carol Vaness will join the music faculty at the University of Washington in the fall of 2005. She already has done several master classes at the UW, and Vaness says she is drawn to this city “because of the talented students and because I have so many wonderful friends here.”

Vaness is in Seattle rehearsing for her starring role in Puccini’s “Manon Lescaut” at Seattle Opera (Jan. 15-29). Renowned throughout the opera world, she made her Seattle Opera debut in 1985 in the title role of Massenet’s “Manon.”

On the UW voice faculty, she will join Vinson Cole, a tenor with whom she has frequently sung at Seattle Opera and other companies. She said she will continue her singing career, balancing her activities with the UW schedule.

Isacson Sabee leaving Seattle Symphony

Patricia Isacson Sabee will leave her post as Seattle Symphony development director in mid-January. After 20 years with the organization, Isacson Sabee plans to pursue a personal property development opportunity and also to spend more time at home with her young daughter, who will start kindergarten next fall.

Among Isacson Sabee’s posts: orchestra manager, managing director of Benaroya Hall Music Center and interim executive director of the Symphony.

“I leave the Symphony full of optimism for all the good things it has: a music director with vision, a glorious concert hall, a stellar set of musicians, and most of all, a truly incredible and eager community of patrons,” says Isacson Sabee.

Seattle Times staff