Sun Sentinel

Wick Theatre and Costume Museum inhabits the Caldwell

“My mother always wanted to own a theater,” confided Kimberly Wick, as new season subscribers arrived to choose seats for the musicals starting in September.

“Every day somebody taps on the door. Some people saw the big sign on the window,” that says “box office open,” added her sister Kelly Kigar.

The Caldwell Theatre sat on the market after Legacy Bank of Florida filed a foreclosure lawsuit and a court-ordered receiver asked the production company to leave last year, fueling concerns the property wouldn’t survive as a theater.

But that’s ancient history, as workmen labor to glam up the building at 7901 N. Federal Highway and convert the huge space into The Wick Theatre and Costume Museum. There’s no date set for the ribbon cutting, but five musicals are scheduled, with “The Sound of Music” opening Sept. 19 through Oct. 20.

Costume World CEO and founder Marilynn Wick and her two daughters completed a lease-buy on the building on April 1, after nine months of negotiating, they said. They’re not disclosing the terms of the deal, but hope to buy the theater within 24 months, said Kigar, who does sales and marketing for commercial real estate and residential projects. All the contents – including props, furniture and costumes – were included.

Their business model is using other revenue sources to sustain musical theater, Marilynn Wick explained. She owns stores nationally, and part of her business is the largest provider of costume rentals for musical theater in the country, she said. That helped fund all the major renovations, which include painting and adding crown moulding in the main lobby, putting in a piano bar and redoing the restrooms in a theater motif, Wick said on a tour of the back of the house, as it’s called.

Not to mention she’s also changing the reception room into a Tavern on the Green for paid and pre-arranged luncheons and dinners, using a chandelier from the former Central Park restaurant, the original dishes and silverware. A Victorian stage they own and a new mural with a garden scene should provide some atmosphere, she said.

The family has conducted tours of their $21 million Broadway costume collection for three years out of a warehouse in Pompano Beach. “We had 14,000 visitors in Pompano and we’re usually sold out in season,” said Kimberly Wick, who runs that business. Once they bring the costumes to Boca, they will have a separate entrance for the costume museum at The Wick, and is cutting a window in the costume shop for shows, which will be part of the tour.

So buying the Caldwell could be the next logical step for Marilynn Wick, who started on her dining room table in Old Floresta as a single mother raising two children. She moved to Boca in 1972, where her daughters still live, but she now lives in Deerfield Beach, she said.

She will be the executive producer once all of this is in place. She plans to keep the 335-seat theater as is, but is putting in all new rigging, lighting and sound, curtains and drapes. She plans to have the piano bar open in the lobby for cabarets after performances, and a gift shop.