TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Theatre hasn’t had a show or performance since March, yet they continue to light up their Marquee with something new on a daily basis.
“We have never in our 93-year history been closed for this long,” said Jill Witecki, Tampa Theatre Director of Marketing.
The Tampa Theatre holds an average of 700 events a year, but for the last five months, it’s been silent.
“Thousands of tickets that we haven’t been able to sell this year,” said Witecki.
According to Witecki, every month the nonprofit is shut down they are still spending $100,000 just to maintain the building. So they are looking for community support in other ways, one of them is the Marquee Messages Program.
“Given how many people this year had to give up the standard graduation, the standard birthday, the standard anniversary all of those milestone events, it’s something special that nobody else in town can do,” said Witecki.
For a $150 donation, people can put up any heartfelt message they like for one hour during the day and time of their choosing. So far, hundreds of people have been honored, like high school graduate Kathia Guzman and the rest of the 2020 graduating class from the Academy of the Holy Names.
“I just felt so special with everything taken away from us from the pandemic it was just so cool to have that at least,” said Guzman.
“We can program it from my phone and it gives us the flexibility to be able to change those messages,” said Witecki. “It is a thrill, I mean you are looking at a marquee that has been up there for 93 years that has had some of the biggest names in entertainment, the biggest names in Hollywood, splashed across it.”
For more information on how to have your message on the marquee, go to Tampatheatre.org.