Organizers: Friday event for Rees raised about $150K


Organizers behind the effort to save the Rees Theater have surpassed the $1 million mark in their quest to raise $1.5 million before the end of the month.

The timing is critical.

If the organizers raise the $1.5 million before Oct. 31, they will qualify for a matching $300,000 grant through the Regional Cities Iniative.

Friday’s “Puttin’ on the Rees” was a success, with 300 attending the sold-out event at Christo’s Banquet Center, 800 E. Lincoln Highway, according to Randy Danielson, a member of the committee trying to restore and repurpose the theater.

Along with dinner, attendees had a chance to bid on items during both a live and silent auction.

Former Plymouth resident Mark Neidig served as the evening’s emcee.

“(He) delighted the crowd as he sang three songs selected for the event,” Danielson said late Sunday. “Student members of the Plymouth High School speech, theatre and choir showcased what will be possible on The Bob Pickell Performing Arts Stage at The Rees.”

Late last week, organizers estimated Friday’s event would raise about $50,000 not including ticket sales. Instead it raised about $150,000, Danielson said. Tickets were $50 each.

Organizers received about $25,000 in new pledges for the Pickell stage and about $71,000 in new, open pledges.

The silent auction generated slightly more than $6,000 and the live auction raised nearly $13,000.

Chris and Pam Kurtis, owners of Christo’s, donated the use of the banquet hall and the food for “Puttin’ on the Rees,” Danielson previously said, meaning 100 percent of the proceeds went toward the theater’s survival.

The overall goal is to raise a total of $3.46 million to rehabilitate the theater. Of that amount, $600,000 will go into an endowment to support the theater’s continued operation, organizers previously said.

Organizers said they are optimistic they’ll reach the $1.5 million to qualify for the $300,000 grant. But they said they will be counting on small donations from the general public to reach the goal. Donations can be in cash, pledges or in-kind donations, such as construction work or other services, organizers previously said.

Donations can be made online through the Marshall County Community Foundation at or, for project details and specific donor levels, visit, according to organizers.

Pledge forms are available at the Marshall County Community Foundation, Marshall County Historical Museum, Bowen Printing or by calling 574-286-2391, organizers previously said.

The goal, organizers have said, is to have all work completed by spring or early summer 2020 to coincide with the theater’s 80th anniversary.

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