CINCINNATI - Tim Perrino has a lot of people he wants to thank when his theater production group closes the curtain on 23 years of performances at the Showboat Majestic on Sunday.
Perrino’s farewell might take as long as the sold-out 2 p.m. show of “Showboat Follies.”
“I’ve been coming out to speak to the audience every night this week and I say quite honestly – and a bit emotionally – we will always by Showboaters,” said Perrino, executive artistic director of Cincinnati Landmark Productions.
“It’s been a life-changing experience to have operated the Showboat Majestic longer than anyone and to have been the director of the only National Historic Landmark that floats. We will miss it greatly and everyone who helped us along the way.
“We’ve made a lot of great friends from the actors to the patrons, who have been so supportive of us. The audiences have been wonderful.”
Perrino and CLP are leaving the Showboat for a new project – building and operating a new theater in the Incline District at the top of East Price Hill.
Perrino has invited everyone who worked on the showboat for his CLP company for one final encore.
“We’re going to take a group photo after the show and I’m sure we’ll sit around for hours and tell stories,” he said.
They are sure to talk about the floods that wreaked havoc on the Showboat and about the actress who fell into the river just before she was supposed to appear on stage.
“She was supposed to make an entrance from the back of the boat and she was running and the deck was slippery and she fell into the river,” Perrino said. “But she climbed back on deck and made her cue.”
Perrino said his group has produced 170 shows on the Showboat since taking over in 1991. That includes:
• More than 2,600 performances
• More than 350,000 patrons
• Major renovations including a metal hull overlay, computerized lighting, new seats (from Music Hall), air conditioning, and other improvements.
During that time, the Showboat survived floods in 10 different years and hosted more than 110,000 visitors at Tall Stacks festivals, he said.
Perrino's new $5.1 million theater will be across the street from the Privavista Restaurant on Matson Place between West Eighth Street and Price Avenue and will include a parking garage.
He says he expects to raise the final $300,000 by the end of the year.
“We’re still begging for donations large and small. We’re hoping to break ground early next year and we’re cautiously optimistic about opening in January or February of 2015,” he said.
Perrino and CLC will continue to operate the former Covedale Theater (renamed the Covedale Center) on Glenway Avenue in West Price Hill. They saved the former movie house from the wrecking ball and reopened it as a live theater in 2002.
The Covedale sells more tickets than any other community theater in Greater Cincinnati.
Perrino started the Cincinnati Young People's Theater in 1982 and has produced a musical every summer with hundreds of teens from the area.
Perrino, his wife Jennifer and their friend and partner Denny Reed were the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards 2009 Theater Hall of Fame inductees.
Perrino says he plans to produce four summer shows at the Covedale in 2014 and hopes to move them to the new Incline theater in 2015.