Sarasota's Golden Apple Theatre closes its doors again

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SARASOTA - So what's next for the Golden Apple Dinner Theatre building? The theater has shut its doors for the 2nd time, and founder Bob Turoff says the search is on for a new facility.

The original Golden Apple Dinner Theatre has been a staple of downtown Sarasota since 1974. Their final show was February 8th.

The building sits on prime land on Pineapple Avenue, and some predict the wrecking ball make take the stage.

Will and Agnes Robinson are hoping to move to Sarasota from Maryland, but are disappointed they missed going to the Golden Apple. “I'm sorry to hear that. I do a lot of community theater where I live and I hate to see a theater close down.”

And Robinson asks the question many are wondering. “Are they going to tear it down?”

Investors say the land is more valuable without the theater. “As a temporary venue for performing artists, things of that sort, so it could be interesting. But it's really obsolete for the site,” says commercial land investor Mark Famiglio.

But if the theater gets knocked down, here is where things get dicey: there's no space between the dinner theater and the Sarasota Opera House. The two have been the closest of neighbors for 30 years. Sources tell ABC 7 that the opera has made several offers to buy the theater. The opera's so crowded, corporate offices are across the street.

Sarasota Opera executive director Richard Russell says money is tight, and he doesn't think they can afford to make an offer now. “At some point, we'd love to see them all under one roof again, as they were at one point, and that would be our long term goal.”

Meantime, the theater is packing up and preparing to move out.

Theater fans are sad to see it happen. “I hate to see theaters in general close down. I think it's sad,” says Robinson.

The theater is selling 40 years of costumes starting Friday.