Broadway Joins with Residents of Bucks County, PA to Revive “Bucks County Playhouse”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, PLEASE
JOINS WITH RESIDENTS OF BUCKS COUNTY, PA
TO REVIVE VENERABLE THEATRICAL LANDMARK
“ BUCKS COUNTY PLAYHOUSE ”
CONSORTIUM OF BROADWAY PROFESSIONALS
LED BY PRODUCER JED BERNSTEIN
WILL JOIN FORCES WITH BUCKS COUNTY PLAYHOUSE CONSERVANCY
AND HERITAGE CONSERVANCY
TO PRESERVE SITE AND OFFER
IMPROVED FACILITIES AND PROGRAMMING
New York, NY– A unique public/private partnership has been formed to lead a revival of the venerable Bucks County Playhouse, a 450 seat theatrical landmark on the scenic banks of the Delaware River in Bucks County, PA. The playhouse’s fate became uncertain following a recent collapse in management and subsequent bank foreclosure. Broadway producer Jed Bernstein (Driving Miss Daisy) today announced the partnership, which will involve a consortium of Broadway professionals led by Bernstein, government and community leaders and local residents. Peggy McRae and Rick Appel are taking the lead for a newly formed not-for-profit: Bucks County Playhouse Conservancy, which will be working under the auspices of the Heritage Conservancy.
Bernstein and his associates are advising the group in the development of a plan to buy and renovate the Playhouse property, as well as helping to plan programming for the upcoming 2011 season. The consortium hopes to make it possible to produce first-rate professional theatre and expects the Playhouse to reclaim its place as a destination regional theatre in its own right. Additional plans also include returning the Playhouse to Actors’ Equity status and featuring live musicians for musical offerings. Under this approach, the Playhouse Conservancy would purchase the property from Stonebridge Bank, the entity that currently holds the Playhouse’s title, and maintain and operate the venue. The venue would also be available for community events and rentals.
“The entire theatre community was aghast at the idea of permanently losing this legendary venue and picturesque piece of theatre history,” explained Bernstein. “We have formulated a unique solution that we hope will ensure this landmark’s artistic and financial future for New Hope and Bucks County. Without missing a beat, we are committed to moving swiftly to try and solidify a plan to mount a 2011 summer season that will unequivocally demonstrate that the Bucks County Playhouse has truly been born anew.”
“The New Hope Borough Council supports all efforts to continue the rich tradition of the Bucks County Playhouse, which is an essential part of the fabric of the New Hope community,” added Sharyn Keiser, New Hope Borough Council President.
“We recognize the playhouse as a cultural icon of the community,” Clifford C. David Jr., Heritage Conservancy President said of the theatre. “Our hope is to preserve the building and continue the important cultural contribution it makes.”
“I am thrilled to see our community, once again, rally around the Playhouse to assure its future,” enthused McRae. “The passion and determination not to lose this treasure stands as a testament to its singular position in the Bucks County artistic landscape. I urge anyone who shares our enthusiasm to reach out to us at the Conservancy and join our efforts. Those wishing to donate their time, and/or financial support, can contact the Conservancy at 267-287-8486 or online at www.buckscountyplayhouseconservancy.org.”
Located 90 minutes from New York City, the Bucks County Playhouse opened in 1939 on the site of a grist mill dating from the late eighteenth century. Ironically, the structure was at that time in danger of demolition, however playwright Moss Hart and the local community rallied to save the building and re-opened it as a theatrical venue. In continuous operation ever since, a veritable who’s who of American theatrical royalty has trod its boards, including Angela Lansbury, Alan Alda, George G. Scott, Bernadette Peters, Kim Hunter, Helen Hayes, Kitty Carlisle, Colleen Dewhurst, Shirley Booth, Lillian Gish, Grace Kelly, Robert Redford, Bert Lahr, Leslie Nielsen and Walter Matthau.
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