... we give you The Mead Center for American Theater.
Because when you give $35 million, you can have your name on as many buildings as you want.
Gilbert and Jaylee Mead's gift is, as rumored, the largest single contribution to an American regional theater. Ever. It included a lead-off gift when the campaign for the new Arena campus started roughly 5 years back, plus a $20 million challenge issued a year ago -- Arena was required to raise a matching sum, in increments no smaller than $500K, with a total of no more than 20 gifts.
In other words, it was a big gift contingent on, and meant to inspire, big gifts.
So actually Arena has hit the $100 million mark, which leaves $20 million to go. Executive Director Stephen Richard sounds confident about financing the gap, though. There's no groundbreaking set yet -- construction bids are still out -- but the target start is 12 to 24 months.
Technically, the name on the signs this morning was Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater, but Arena types say there's still some fuzziness on whether they'll be content with a shorthand. Tboy expects he'll probably use "Arena Stage" for the company and the Mead Center label for the complex. But who knows.
UPDATE, Thursday a.m.: Truscott's story is in the Post today, with a couple of cute quotes from the Meads.
Speaking of whom: Tboy may just be in a sentimental frame of mind this week, but it seemed to him that the love in the room for those two was palpable when they were introduced at yesterday's thingy. People stood and cheered, which you'd expect, but the cheering was lusty and the applauding arms were held high, the way people do for performers who really knock one out of the house.