Every day is opening night.

Bucks County Playhouse Announces Reopening And Future Plans Including New Membership Program

Contact: Rick Miramontez / Molly Barnett / Elizabeth Wagner rick@oandmco.com molly@oandmco.comelizabeth@oandmco.com 212-695-7400 



New Hope, PA – Bucks County Playhouse (BCP), the legendary and beloved theater in New Hope, Pennsylvania, announced its official reopening at a press conference today, thanks to the coordinated efforts of the Bridge Street Foundation (Kevin & Sherri Daugherty, Founders; Tanya Cooper, President), Broadway Producer Jed Bernstein, and Bucks County Playhouse Conservancy (Peggy McRae, Founder).  A local landmark that has sat empty since late 2010, Bucks County Playhouse has showcased some of Broadway's most recognizable talent since it opened in 1939.  Under the leadership of producing director Jed Bernstein and, most importantly, with support from the local community, the Playhouse will soon delight theater fans again. 

“On behalf of the Bridge Street Foundation, we would like to thank Mr. Bernstein, Ms. McRae and the entire community for their dedication and support towards the revitalization of the Bucks County Playhouse,” stated Cooper, who, as President, will lead and represent the Bridge Street Foundation in all matters related to the Bucks County Playhouse.  “We are committed to ensuring that BCP is restored as a theatrical presence in Bucks County for all to enjoy for years to come.”

 “I have always believed that good theater has the power to make a significant impact on its community,” said Bernstein.  “BCP served as proof of that notion right here in New Hope for more than seventy years, and I look forward to the opportunity of proving it again.” 

With the theater now readying to reopen, the Bucks County Playhouse Conservancy is dissolving, having accomplished its mission. Peggy McRae will join the Bucks County Playhouse as the Director of Community Affairs effective February 1st.  

“I’m so thrilled to be a part of the Playhouse, now that we will be up and running in the near future,” McRae said.  “And I’m so grateful to all of the volunteers who donated their time and money to make this happen.  We couldn’t have done it without this fantastic community.”

“We’ve been happily inundated with an overwhelmingly positive and heartfelt response from the community,” Kevin and Sherri Daugherty added.  “We are attempting to coordinate our responses to each person individually, and are grateful for the community’s willingness to get involved.  We also ask for everyone’s patience as we are initially focused on getting the theater ready in time for a summer opening.”

Bucks County Playhouse will be undergoing renovations and a revitalization project in 2012, with plans to reopen in time for the summer 2012 season. BCP will present two summer productions and a 2012 holiday show. Plans are also in place for a spring gala to benefit the Playhouse.  Information about these productions and gala will be announced at a later date.

Having lost its Equity status under the previous leadership, it is now on the path to return to Equity status. Additionally, an important goal for the theater is to bring back live music in various productions.

It was also announced today that BCP will introduce a theater membership program. So many people have asked about ways to support and be a part of the revival of the playhouse and the first and easiest is to join the Playhouse as a member. Benefits will range from “first chance” ticket access to special offers at local businesses and attractions.  Memberships are $80 for individuals, $160 for families, and $500 for businesses.  For more information, and to purchase a membership, visit the new website at www.bcptheater.org or call 215-315-7788.

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, which quickly became one of the country’s most famous regional theaters. In continuous operation until December 2010, a veritable who’s who of American theatrical royalty has trod its boards, including Kim Hunter, Helen Hayes, Kitty Carlisle, Colleen Dewhurst, Shirley Booth, Lillian Gish, June Lockhart, Grace Kelly, Robert Redford, Bert Lahr, Leslie Nielsen and Walter Matthau. 

Jed Bernstein (Producing Director).  After 11 years as President of the League of American Theatres and Producers, now the Broadway League, Jed Bernstein launched Above The Title Entertainment, a theatre/television production company and marketing consultancy that combines his skills at marketing and promotion with his love for the theatre.  While at the League, Jed provided leadership in developing such industry wide programs as: Kids’ Night on Broadway, the Internet Broadway Data Base, and a corporate sponsorship program that generated $150mm+ of cash and measurable media support over eight years. Jed also played a central role in the industry’s response to the events of 9/11.   Above the Title Entertainment projects have included the Off-Broadway critically acclaimed musical revue, Don't Quit Your Night Job; the 7-time Tony Award® nominated Passing Strange, the smash revival of Equus, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Richard Griffiths; David Mamet’s highly praised Oleanna, starring Julia Stiles and Bill Pullman; the Tony Award®-winning revival of Hair; Stephen Schwartz's newly re-imagined Working in Chicago; and the Broadway and West End hit Driving Miss Daisy starring Vanessa Redgrave, James Earl Jones, and Boyd Gaines. He is currently co-producing Rated P: For Parenthood, opening February 26th, Off-Broadway.  Mr. Bernstein is in his sixth year as executive director of the Commercial Theater Institute, a training program for young producers. He also serves on the board of The Actors Fund and was appointed to the Theatre Authority by Mayor Bloomberg.

Tanya Cooper (Bridge Street Foundation President) is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Internal Auditor and Certified Information Systems Auditor with over 15 years of diverse operational, accounting and auditing experience, including consultative restructuring services. Throughout her career, she has functioned as a Chief Audit Executive for a publicly traded, high technology, global solutions company; a Corporate Controller of an automotive manufacturing supplier overseeing all accounting, forecasting and SEC reporting.  Ms. Cooper is also a member of the Audit Committee for Vista Maria, located in Dearborn Heights, Michigan; which is a not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to transforming the lives of girls who have been faced with abuse, neglect and other challenges throughout their young lives. Tanya also serves on the Board of Governors for the Detroit Chapter of the Institute of Internal Auditors and is also a past president of the organization.  Ms. Cooper received her Bachelor of Commerce (Honours Business Administration) from the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada. 

Kevin & Sherri Daugherty (Bridge Street Foundation Founders) are residents of Bucks County and are the Founders of the Bridge Street Foundation, a private, family foundation established for grant making purposes.  Kevin is also the founder of Speyside Equity, a Philadelphia equity firm that acquires and rebuilds underperforming businesses.  Sherri Daugherty is the owner of Angel Hearts, an upscale women’s boutique in Newtown. 

Peggy McRae (Director of Community Affairs). The Founder of the Bucks County Playhouse Conservancy, Peggy is a local community activist who has been on a personal mission to save the 72 year-old Straw Hat Theatre for the past two years. As a Michigan State University grad with a strong background in marketing, she was transplanted to Buckingham Township in 1999 with her husband and two sons and embraced the region’s rich cultural history of the Arts. Through this journey, she has received enthusiastic support for the project from many illustrious BCP Alumni as well as from numerous community leaders who have joined the team to rejuvenate this historic landmark.