Staff writer Phil Davis reports that local promoters have come to view the Madison Civic Center's Isthmus Playhouse as too expensive for concerts. Unless the shows are underwritten, he explains, the 330-seat venue is not viable due to the costs of sound and lighting equipment, hall rental and other fees. Two shows by Leon Redbone fell $800-$1,000 short of projections, while a concert by David Murray lost $2,000 for WORT and its co-promoter. "I would love to do more Civic Center shows in the Isthmus [Playhouse]," observes Civic Center director Ralph Sandler, "but I won't because I know the reality." The playhouse perseveres as a venue for long-run theatrical productions until the Civic Center's transformation into the Overture Center. Sandler leaves the Civic Center in 1990 for a similar post in New York, but returns to Madison to recover from a stroke, and is now an acclaimed photographer here.