The Ivory's managing director, Donna Perrino, could not be reached for comment.

Hydeware, the third company to rent out the Ivory, completed its first production there two weeks ago and will open its second, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, next weekend. Ember Hyde, the director, declined to comment about the state of the theater. Instead, she writes in a recent e-mail: "I don't think it would be fair to Hydeware, the Ivory, or any potential audience members, to have any preconceived notions about any aspect of the space or possibly our performances."

The Ivory has not been especially hospitable to audiences, either. The theater's stadium-style seating keeps viewers suspended over the stage and seems more suited to a concert than a play, says Riverfront Times theater critic Dennis Brown. "Both at second and Assassins, I felt removed from the production."

New Line's Scott Miller is singing the blues over disagreements with the Ivory Theatre.
Jennifer Silverberg
New Line's Scott Miller is singing the blues over disagreements with the Ivory Theatre.

In the end, both New Line and NonProphet have decided to pick up stakes and go elsewhere. "We agreed it was in their best interests for them to move out," says Allen.

NonProphet has now returned to its previous home, the Tin Ceiling. New Line will stage its next show, High Fidelity, at Washington University's A.E. Hotchner Studio Theatre in June, but will be homeless again come fall.

This is not the first time a St. Louis theater has disappointed its tenants. In 2005 the Soulard Theatre lost all five of its resident companies. But the theater did not remain dark for long; other groups took over the space.

"The great problem in this town is performance space," Brown says. "No question about it. All these vagabond companies are looking for a home."

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