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Esteemed theater suspends plays, lays off staff

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — One of the nation's largest African-American professional theaters says it's suspending programming and laying off some staff as it deals with a revenue shortage.

Penumbra Theatre, based in St. Paul, says it has "an immediate cash flow challenge," and will lay off six of its 16 full-time employees in order to trim $800,000 from its $2.7 million budget.

Penumbra's financial struggles come at a time when its work is being seen and celebrated nationally. Last year it produced two sold-out runs of the Nat King Cole-themed musical "I Wish You Love." The show toured to Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and to the Hartford Stage in Connecticut.

The Star Tribune reports the theater says it might produce a musical in 2013 if it can raise at least $340,000 this fall.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.