Stolen play money passes as real thing

Posted: Sunday, June 04, 2000

Local theater director Patricia Hull is embarrassed - and she's not play acting.

Hull merely intended to print a little prop money. But she created a monster - bills so convincing they're circulating as the real McCoy.

``It's quite a misfortune,'' said Hull, administrative director for Perseverance Theatre. ``We don't really know how much we printed - enough to serve our prop needs.''

Perseverance Theatre created $50 and $100 bills as props for two recent productions, ``House of Blue Leaves'' and ``Wild Nights with Emily.'' The bills clearly say ``Perseverance Theatre,'' ``not legal tender'' and ``House of Blue Leaves.''

Despite these disclaimers, the bogus moolah is a green that seems to be exactly like that of the genuine lettuce issued by the United States Treasury.

The newly-minted greenbacks were so tempting that someone stole some and is passing them. Several have been accepted at local businesses, and there's the rub.

``Business is quick at this time of year; everyone is just trying to get through the line,'' Hull said. She noted that there are jokes circulating that Perseverance has always been good at fund raising ``and now it's printing its own.''

``It's very possible the money was taken by an audience member,'' Hull said, ``because, in the final acts of `Wild Nights with Emily,' I was the character who handled the money, and I put it on a lectern which was positioned so that someone could easily have snatched it.''

``We want people to take that extra minute and scrutinize their larger bills,'' Hull said. ``We are embarrassed.''

Meanwhile, Hull and other Perseverance administrators are scrutinizing surveillance tapes from local stores and working with the Juneau Police Department to try to recover any other bills circulating in town. ``Our concern is to keep it from becoming a real problem,'' Hull said.

Fortunately, she added, ``the merchants have been very good-natured'' - but she declined to name who has accepted the bills.

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