In the December 15 issue (“The End of the Bucks County Playhouse?”) U.S. 1 reported that Stonebridge Bank of Exton, PA, the bank holding the mortgage on the venerable New Hope theater venue, had taken possesion of the property from owner Ralph Miller, who had been producing shows there for 35 years.
Now it appears a group of Broadway angels and local residents are trying to reopen and renovate the 450-seat playhouse. The goal is to make the playhouse a professional theater with productions featuring actors who are members of Actors Equity Association. Formerly, the programming featured community theater productions.
Lending expertise to the newly formed Bucks County Playhouse Conservancy is Broadway producer Jed Bernstein (“Driving Miss Daisy”) and some of Bernstein’s colleagues from the Great White Way. (In its early years, the playhouse held the pre-Broadway tryouts of “Harvey” and “Barefoot in the Park.”
“The entire theater community was aghast at the idea of permanently losing this legendary venue and picturesque piece of theater history,” Bernstein said in a statement. “We have formulated a unique solution that we hope wil 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 to solidify a plan to mount a 2011 summer seaosn that will unequivocally demonstrates that the Bucks County Playhouse has truly been born anew.”
To donate time or financial support, call the Conservancy at 267-287-8486 or visit www.buckscountyplayhouseconservancy.org.