During the week leading up to Shakespeare Santa Cruz' day of reckoning, missives of hope and foreboding came pouring in. "This is very sad news," Tom Stoppard empathized on the company's online message board. Olympia Dukakis wrote, "I think it's always important to remember why you are doing something. Not for the theater, but for society, for the larger community that you share." Doubtless fueled by a belief in these same values (not to mention the viral power of e-mail), the community rallied fiercely around the ailing company. Shortly after noon on December 22, Shakespeare Santa Cruz announced that it had exceeded its target by $116,417 thanks to gifts from more than 2,000 individual donors.

The ax won't fell those redwoods today, which is great news. As for tomorrow, who knows?

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