Actress Mariette Hartley has been through drama before, with decades of experience in film, television and on local stages, beginning with a Los Angeles production of “A Midsummer Night's Dream” with Bert Lahr. But she experienced suspense unlike any other during rehearsals for “The Morini Strad” at the Colony Theatre in Burbank, where an ongoing budget crisis threatened to shut down the play before opening night.
A weak economy finally caught up with the nonprofit theater, a Burbank institution for the last 12 years after thriving for a quarter-century in Silver Lake. On Oct. 27, an emergency “Save the Colony” fundraising campaign was announced with a mixture of hope and gloom: the Colony needed to raise $49,000 in just two weeks, or the play would be canceled, leaving the theater's future in doubt.
In an unexpected irony, “The Morini Strad” was the story of another treasured artistic icon in danger — in this case a priceless Stradivarius violin inadvertently damaged by its owner, an aging female virtuoso and recluse played by Hartley. The symbolism was clear, even if “MorinI” was put on the schedule more than a year earlier.