by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
ARTS "Odd Couple" Goes on, But Some Attendees "Bullied," Elderly Woman Cries
Source: Facebook

A legal dispute between the (Huntington) Housing Development Corp. and Huntington High Limited Partnership (based at 300 7th Avenue , West, per the WV Secretary of State) and Arts Resources of the Tri State (ARTS) led to harassment of some attendees at the final ARTS production, "The Odd Couple," over the weekend.

Multiple sources (including actors , administrators, and media) have acknowledged on Facebook that an apparent employee of HDA tried (and in some cases succeeded) in preventing guests from attending the performance. 

"They literally blocked entrances and exits, " an actor said. 

A director stressed for the "thugs" next time "instead of intimidating elderly ladies trying to see a play, next time hire thugs that can politely point patrons in the right direction."

One patron greeted by locked door stated that cast members came out and escorted guest through another entrance. The individual allegedly threatened to tow vehicles too. 

Huntington's First Lady wrote on Facebook, "I am shocked by the posts about the bullying tactics... why would keeping theater goers out benefit them and their position?" Labeling the  description of the actions , "a poor way to handle it" and admitting to not having knowledge of the exact dispute, she added:  "I'd be interested in why HDC thought what they did was the correct action to take."

In another Facebook posting, the city's first lady continued:
 "Citizens of this area wanted to see this play, bought tickets to do so, traveled to the theatre to do just that, maybe took advantage of the wonderful things this city has to offer by eating in one of our many fine restaurants first, etc.. 
They were innocent victims who had nothing to do with the issues and just wanted to be entertained by the drama on the stage and not the drama between ARTS and the HDC."

The actor added that the cast had not been informed of the on going dispute. There had been no attempts to stop rehearsals for the show.

However, This action came AFTER the board of directors voted to cease operations after what will likely be a sell-out dinner theater performances that conclude this weekend. 

The incident created liabilities too. According to a source, "one elderly woman coming to see her granddaughter in the show was turned away ONCE SHE WAS IN the building and didn't know what to do."  Due to a medical condition, she became "lost" in the building and was "sobbing when her family found her."  Other elderly folks and individuals with accessibility limitations were "denied access to the elevator."

"Odd Couple" has sold out dinner portions. Some tickets for show only are available for $15. Dates are Oct. 12-14 at the Renaissance Building (Old HHS).

Check out this link for HNN and WV Record's earlier stories on the dispute: 

http://www.huntingtonnews.net/148096

 http://www.nonprofitfacts.com/WV/Housing-Development-Corporation.html

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