CINCINNATI — Construction on Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s mainstage theatre complex will begin next spring with plans to open the state-of-the-art facility in 2022, officials announced Friday.
The City of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Park Board have approved a 99-year lease for the property in Eden Park. Officials expect to break ground later in the year.
“The Park Board and City were excellent partners in getting our new lease completed,” Managing Director Buzz Ward said in a news release. “Together, we’ve secured the Playhouse’s home for the next 99 years.”
The planned 539-seat Rouse Theatre will replace the current Marx Theatre, which playhouse officials said is the oldest unrenovated mainstage facility at any regional theatre in the country.
Officials said Playhouse audiences will appreciate “better comfort, sightlines, acoustics and entry/exit” in the new complex.
The new complex will also include updated dressing rooms, rehearsal rooms, green rooms, backstage areas and a new costume shop, which officials say will "expand what can be done on stage with state-of-the art theatre technology."
“The new mainstage theatre brings the facility into the 21st century. It enhances the patron experience, expands artistic capabilities and welcomes new audiences to our home in Eden Park,” Artistic Director Blake Robison said in a news release.
The Playhouse also recently finished renovating the Rosenthal Shelterhouse Theatre, which opened in September and features “more leg room, comfortable new seats, and improved accessibility to the Playhouse’s beloved, original space.”
The playhouse’s capital campaign has already raised $35 million of the $49 million needed to build the new complex, which includes $3 million for “transition costs.”
“The new mainstage theatre complex is a game-changer for the Playhouse and Greater Cincinnati,” said Woody Taft, capital campaign co-chair. “We are 70% of the way to funding this once-in-a-generation project. Now that we have the lease, we are in a race to close the funding gap, and we need the entire community to pitch in.”