When BroadHollow Theatre Company presented its final performance in March, Joan Levinson didn’t realize she might also be bidding farewell to the subscription money she doled out.
Levinson, 64, of Dix Hills had paid $340 for four adult subscriptions to see five shows at BroadHollow’s East Islip venue, BayWay Arts Center. The only one Levinson, her husband, son and mother saw was "Guys and Dolls" before the theater was shut down in March amid the coronavirus pandemic. Levinson then contacted BroadHollow to inquire about getting a refund for the remaining $272 in tickets. "I asked for a credit on my credit card," she said. "They told me that was not possible; they would put the money toward the next season."
Except there wasn’t a next season. In late July, Arthur and Laura Longobardo, who last year took over the theater company that also operated out of Elmont Public Library, announced they were closing BroadHollow after being unable to meet their expenses of about $30,000 a month. Neither Levinson nor fellow BroadHollow subscriber Bette Bergenfield, who traveled from her home in Brooklyn to Elmont, were aware the theater had closed.
"They never emailed us about anything," said Bergenfield, 80, who is out $208 for shows she didn’t see. "I didn't try to get a refund because I thought they would eventually reopen and begin having shows."
Levinson tried again to contact the theater a couple of weeks ago and discovered the phone was disconnected. After doing a Google search, she read that the theater was closed. Laura Longobardo said BroadHollow no longer has an office and receiving email has been spotty. She recommended that BroadHollow patrons contact their credit card company to request a refund. "Many, many customers have gotten full refunds starting from the beginning of the pandemic," she said. "Thousands of dollars have been paid back."
Longobardo said anytime a refund is given or a customer requests a refund through their bank, she receives written notification from the companies, and her account is debited the funds. "There are no words to say how badly we feel about having to close,'' she added.
On Friday, Levinson said she filed a dispute for $272 with her credit card company and was told it would take up to 90 days before a decision was reached. "They said you normally have 60 days to dispute a charge," Levinson said.
Bergenfield also contact her credit card company and was told she'd hear in six to eight weeks.
A spokeswoman for the state attorney general’s office in Mineola said that if the credit card companies don’t offer a refund, the two women can file a complaint with her office at 800-771-7755 or ag.ny.gov.