Theater fan organizes fundraising campaign for Good Company Players and Roger Rocka’s

Jim Irvine can’t imagine a Fresno without Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater or Good Company Players.

That’s why, in the same week that a rumor went round that both businesses were going under — a story that was debunked when Dan Pessano went on KMJ to knock down some inaccurate reporting — Irvine decided to set up a GoFundMe campaign.

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“I can’t imagine Fresno without these amazing venues and people,” says Irvine, a longtime arts lover and “New Wrinkles” performer.

He is calling his campaign the “Roger Rocka’s and GCP Assistance Project.” He writes in his appeal:

The coronavirus has closed these venues indefinitely because of the city’s shelter-in-place rules. While Dan and Laurie Pessano, at GCP, and Roger Rocka, who owns the dinner theater, have vowed to re-open as soon as possible, there will likely be major restrictions on public gatherings when they do. The theaters will probably have to open to half capacity to meet state and local requirements. Since they don’t make much profit on any show, even with a full house, they will undoubtedly lose money on shows until we get back to our real lives.

The GoFundMe goal is $50,000.


Irvine has been a longtime fan of the company and theater. He decided that someone had to make the first move.

“I needed to do something,” he says. “I knew that Dan and Laurie would not do it themselves. They’re not built that way.”

Federal loan comes through

In other good news for GCP: The company received word late in the week that it was approved for a forgivable loan under PPP, the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program.

After headlines about the government program running out of money in the first wave of funding, Dan Pessano is happy that a loan is coming through.

“We are in the process of staff planning and the rules of the loan that are everyone is back on payroll Monday,” Pessano said Friday afternoon. “I’m so happy to get everybody paid!”

Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

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