San Diego real estate magnate Conrad Prebys donated $10 million to the Old Globe Theatre, the largest contribution in the theatre's 70 years. Executive Director Louis G. Spisto and Artistic Director Jack O'Brien announced the unprecedented gift during the theatre's 21st annual gala fundraiser Sept. 17.
"We are thrilled to receive this magnanimous gift from Conrad Prebys," Spisto said in a statement. "His generous gift will be used for enhancements to the Globe's facilities, enabling this organization to maintain and even increase its extraordinary level of production and further our audiences' enjoyment of this center."
The Globe's two-theatre complex will be renovated and renamed the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center in honor of its benefactor. The individual venues, however, will retain their current names: the Old Globe Theatre and Cassius Carter Centre Stage.
"I've grown very fond of the Old Globe," Prebys told the San Diego Union-Tribune Sept. 21. "They have the finest organization in Southern California. Theatre has been a passion of mine for years." He said his donation was initially intended to be anonymous, but he changed his mind as the date of the gala neared.
Prebys, owner of property development firm Progress Construction Company Inc., attributed his success in business and his lifelong love of the arts to an inspirational high school drama teacher. He has participated as a Globe season sponsor for the last two years and served as co-chair of the fundraiser. He also served as production sponsor for the Globe's world premiere musical Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which opened at Broadway's Imperial Theatre Mar. 3 starring Norbert Leo Butz and John Lithgow. Butz won the 2005 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance.
Prebys has also contributed funds to the Boys and Girls Clubs of East County and the San Diego Opera.
Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life is currently playing at the Globe until Oct. 23. Dakin Matthews will star in the Globe's next production, The Prince of L.A., Sept. 24–Oct. 30, followed by the theatre's traditional production of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Nov. 19–Dec. 31. Tickets for Chita Rivera and The Price of L.A. are available at the Old Globe's website: www.theoldglobe.org.