News

Supporters rally to defend Children's Theatre

Nearly 100 persons rallied at City Hall Saturday to defend the theater and top staff members

Nearly 100 supporters of the Palo Alto Children's Theatre rallied Saturday at City Hall to support the theater, its suspended Director Pat Briggs and question the police investigation.

Mayor Larry Klein told the crowd that the theater will continue to serve Palo Alto area children as it did his children in the 1970s and 1980s, and has done for more than 75 years.

Some participants wore theatrical costumes, and others held up signs, including "We (heart) Michael," a reference to the late Assistant Director Michael Litfin, who died Feb. 1. He had been undergoing treatment for cancer, but the precise cause of death has not been announced.

Briggs, Litfin and two other staff members were abruptly placed on administrative leave Jan. 24 by City Manager Frank Benest, and a police department press release announced an investigation into "financial crimes" at the theater.

A statement released by the Friends of the Children's Theatre states that the staff members have not been treated with fairness and decency. Some rally participants said it is ludicrous to suggest that either Briggs or Litfin have been involved in criminal activities that hurt the theater they loved.

Police have searched the homes of three of the four suspended staff members as well as public storage units of the Friends group, the theater and five individuals affiliated with the theater. Police Chief Lynne Johnson said that "evidence was obtained" during the search, which she has said has become increasingly complex as it progressed and involves "tens of thousands" of dollars.

Equipment thefts from the theater were initially reported last June.

-- Palo Alto Weekly staff

Comments

There are no comments yet. Please share yours below.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Flirtation
By Chandrama Anderson | 4 comments | 1,558 views

King of the Slides
By Cheryl Bac | 4 comments | 1,200 views

Standardized Test Prep: When to Start and Whom to Hire?
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 0 comments | 882 views

The Future of our Parks: Public Workshops this Week
By Cathy Kirkman | 0 comments | 594 views

Subverting open, fair and honest debate (Measure D)
By Douglas Moran | 7 comments | 587 views