While no deaths have been reported from Sunday’s building collapse in downtown Davenport, one of the casualties is the 22-month-old Mockingbird on Main theater.
The intimate, cabaret-style venue at 320 Main St. was flooded Sunday night and its interior damage is forcing it to close indefinitely.
The theater is owned by Tristan Tapscott and Savannah Bay Strandin, the daughter of Rockford, Illinois’ former WZOK/WROK radio newsman John Strandin.
“It is with a heavy heart and utter disbelief that we view the events that occurred yesterday in Downtown Davenport,” Tapscott and Strandin said Monday in an e-mail statement.
“We are all safe but remain most concerned about anyone that might have been injured or has been displaced from their home. Please remember them and their loved ones at this time; send them strength and peace.
“It is with overwhelming regret that we will be closed until further notice,” the couple said. “All events have been postponed until we know more about the status of the building. We have not received an ‘official’ statement as of this moment, but it is unlikely The Mockingbird can return to our home on Main Street.
“It is suspected that the theatre has received excessive and irreparable water damage. As the building has been deemed unsafe, we have not been able to confirm this but officials we spoke to on the scene last night were quite certain it’s a total loss.” they said. “The building’s management team is unable to give any details at this time and won’t know much more until mid-week as the scene remains active.”
“The future remains unclear. We don’t know what that means for us moving forward. We won’t know until we can assess what can be saved what steps we can take,” Tapscott and Strandin (who were leasing the space) said. “Thank you for your continued support and good vibes.”
The next show that had been scheduled for the theater was the Haus of Ruckus “Funkyology,” June 2-11.
“Hopefully we will know how to move forward soon,” Tapscott said Sunday night, noting they were insured but the theater was likely destroyed. “We were finally on the verge of something special and now we will have to start over. If we do start over, who knows? It’s too early to tell.”
“It’s really sad down here,” he said in a video Tapscott posted on social media from the scene Sunday night. “The theater, everything in it can be replaced. Most likely, it’s all destroyed. They’re thinking it flooded entirely in there.” He said there’s no way to know the extent of the damage, since he couldn’t get in there Sunday night.
“I’m just so thankful we didn’t have a show in there,” Tapscott said. “Who cares about a bunch of stuff, ya know?”
“I sincerely hope that everybody that might have been in there, that lived there, is OK,” he said.
On Monday, the city of Davenport announced the building will be demolished. The owner of the property has been served with a notice and order for demolition of the property. The property is currently being secured by a contractor on site this afternoon and demolition is expected to commence Tuesday morning, the city said.
Formerly occupied by the bridal shop and boutique Blush, the sophisticated space (with some stunning chandeliers left from the shop) was renovated by Tapscott and Strandin over five months in 2021 into an intimate cabaret, seating 40 at tables, with a small 12-foot-by-8-foot stage. Its first production, “The Mountaintop,” opened July 29, 2021, and its presented a stunning variety of well-known classics (like “Diving Miss Daisy”), new works by local playwrights, like Alexander Richardson and Bradley Jensen, as well as stand-up comedy and magic shows.
Both Circa ’21 veteran actors, Tapscott and Strandin both love the 1960 classic Harper Lee book, “To Kill a Mockingbird” (made into a famous Gregory Peck film), from which Tapscott named his daughter, Harper Leigh, and the new theater. “It was just a coincidence it was both our favorite book,” Strandin said in 2021.
Among the planned shows for the 2023 season were to include “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams,” “The Seagull” by Anton Chekov, “Big Rock Candy Mountain,” a bluegrass musical by Tristan Tapscott & Danny White, and “The Most Lamentable Comedy of Quince & Company” (inspired by Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”) by Alexander Richardson.
Sunday’s collapse came about two months after the Mockingbird was robbed overnight April 1, 2023, when someone broke into the theater and stole the cashbox containing about $1,000, a tablet and electric guitar. Fortunately, Tapscott and Strandin made all the money back through donations after a day.
For more information, visit the Mockingbird Facebook page HERE.