Publication Date

Spring 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Theatre Arts


David Kahn


Arts management, Bankruptcy, Business administration, Non-profit, Performing arts, Theater arts

Subject Areas

Theater; Arts management; Performing arts


In 2008, American Musical Theatre (AMT) of San Jose filed for bankruptcy after more than 74 years in business. In this thesis, I identify the factors – both internal and external – that contributed to its demise. Interviews with former employees and board members were conducted, and newspaper articles, tax records, and internal documents were examined to explore factors such as management effectiveness, AMT’s relationship with its community, fundraising, the decline of the subscription model, unions, and venue problems. The conclusions of this case study have implications regarding the intersection that now exists between non-profit and for-profit performing arts in the United States, as well as significance concerning the future of the performing arts in the San Francisco Bay Area.