Historic Bucks County Playhouse Saved
Theatre will return to the Philadelphia suburbs in a new life later this year at The Bucks County Playhouse which had been sitting abandoned since late last year after it was forced into closing through out the economic downturn. However, it has been announced that a Bucks County couple is stepping up and buying the playhouse to not only preserve it but to continue its legacy of theatre as the Bucks County Playhouse will return to a working theatre once again later this year.
The Bucks County Playhouse was built in the 1790’s in New Hope, Pennsylvania. It was originally a grist mill and a was saved from demolition in the 1930’s during the Great Depression. The building was renovated into a theatre and open officially as a theatre in 1938. Its first production was Springtime for Henry on July 1st, 1939. The theatre over time has become a popular summer time theatre and has been used as a try out theatre for many productions slated for Broadway. Grace Kelly, Robert Redford and Liza Minnelli are a few notable names that have performed and worked here before. The theatre seats 450 people.
In December of 2010, the bank that held the mortgage for the property shut down which resulted in the banks also closing in on The Bucks County Playhouse. Long time owner, Ralph Miller, who has owned the building for the last 30 years had also fallen into debt and behind on the mortgage which was another reason for the bank to move in on the property. However, it was announced in June of 2011 that the Bucks County Playhouse Conservancy, a not for profit organization whose main mission is to conserve the playhouse, was looking to gain funds to reopen the playhouse.
It has been announced that Kevin and Sherri Daugherty, through their not for profit organization Bridge Street Foundation, have purchased the Bucks County Playhouse for around $2 million dollars. The asking price of the playhouse was set at $2.10 million dollars originally down from its initial asking price of $2.79 million dollars. The theatre will still be managed under the playhouse conversancy group who is founded by Peggy McRae and includes Broadway producer Jed Bernstein as a board memeber.
The Bucks County Playhouse is planning to reopen the theatre in time for the Summer 2012 season. But first, the theatre will take on much needed renovations such as a new roof and a new fire alarm system just to name a few of the plans. It was also announced the couple purchased the Playhouse Inn property which is located next door to the playhouse. However, the couple has announced though that property is a long term project in the works for them.
So if you find yourself in Pennsylvania in the suburbs of Philadelphia, stop by and check out The Bucks County Playhouse. This theatre which is filled with an epic history will soon return to the light it once shinned so bright with and become a beacon of theatre in the Philadelphia region once again. Luner on Theatre will be sure to keep you updated on any other news pertaining to the Bucks County Playhouse. For more information, check out The Bucks County Playhouse Conservancy Website.