Mesa comedy theatre, targeted by thieves on Christmas Eve, receives generous outpouring of support

For most of this year, the National Comedy Theatre in Mesa has made no money.

Since a tightly packed theatre is a bad idea in a pandemic, they had a solution to their financial woes - outdoor shows in a lot across the street from their business. However, it's just a slab of concrete and was going to require hard work and money to bring it to life.

Three stages are set up so the performers of the improv shows could be socially distant, which the audience would be set up into separated pods. But that's not all - they needed lights, a soundboard and AV wires.

Hundreds of dollars of that equipment was stored in a trailer next to the theatre, with shows set to begin in the near future.

On Christmas Eve, someone broke into the trailer and stole all of their gear.

"I spent Christmas Day just crying," said Krissy Lenz with NCT Phoenix. "Couldn’t help it, it was just so overwhelming. To have had all of the little hurdles...just trying to do a show, just trying to be here in our neighborhood, in our community, bringing comedy as safely as we could...and then to just be right on the precipice of doing shows post-Christmas and it was all stolen in an instant -- on Christmas!"

Lenz says Mesa Police came and fingerprinted the trailer the next day, but officers have not announced any new developments in the case yet.

NCT Phoenix receives big donations from community

Despite this major setback, just one day after FOX 10's story aired about NCT Phoenix's struggle, they're back in business.

Lenz's devastation turned to gratitude when an anonymous viewer stepped up with a huge gift.

"He donated these beautiful, incredible, really nice technical boards, which is a huge piece of the puzzle that’s sort of the brain of everything," Lenz said.

Because so many supporters asked how they could help, she started a GoFundMe - and that exceeded its goal in hours.

With that money, they’ll replace what was taken and donate everything else to other arts organizations in need this year.

"It’s just so overwhelming that even though bad, crummy things happen, the kindness that comes as a result is way more," Lenz said.

They hope to start the outdoor socially distant shows in a month, and it’s thanks to generosity during a time where it’s needed more than ever before.

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