Regional Theater of the Week: Country Playhouse in Houston, TX
By: David Clarke
BroadwayWorld.com, the largest theatre site on the Internet, is excited to announce a new feature to its comprehensive regional coverage - the Featured Regional Theater of the Week! Each week, BWW will introduce its readers to a regional theater located in one of our (over 130!) coverage cities. By exploring these different venues, their history and showcasing the production seasons, BWW continues its commitment to expand our presence in communities and cities across the United States.
This Week's Featured Regional Theater: Country Playhouse in Houston, Texas
Often, when a group of hardworking people with a common love for theatre join together a new playhouse is created. With humble beginnings and dedicated amateur artists at the helm, The Country Playhouse first opened its doors in 1956. Their inaugural production was PERSONAL APPEARANCE by Lawrence Riley and it performed at Memorial Drive Elementary School. Off to a great start, PERSONAL APPEARANCE turned $112 in profit. In 1957, Country Playhouse became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is overseen by a board of directors.
1958 saw Country Playhouse acquire a space of their own, an abandoned church in need of much repair, on Katy Road. Before The Playhouse inhabited the building it was a Veteran’s Hall. Then, in 1960, having accumulated over $6,000 in profit, the organization was able to purchase land on Barryknoll Lane and build a barn-like structure for their playhouse. The Country Playhouse entertained audiences here until Joe Johnson bought their property and forced them to move. Soon, the barn-like building disappeared and now the parking lot for Memorial City Mall inhabits the property.
Undeterred from continuing to produce quality theatre for their community, in 1981, Country Playhouse opened its current home. The space is located across the street from Town and Country Mall at 12802 Queensbury Lane. This theatre features the 226 seat Cerwinske Stage, named after charter members Herb & Alceste Cerwinske, and their Black Box theatre. Having two stages allows the Country Playhouse to enthrall and delight Houston audiences with theatrical events that range from the cutting edge, experimental to the well-beloved commercial classics. They have also been able to produce live readings of original theatrical works, many of which have gone on to become fully produced stagings.
As a community theatre, they also see a need for educating the community in theatrical arts. To meet this need, with assistance from Barbara Lasater, they offer acting classes for both adults and children. This past summer’s annual two week Musical Theatre Workshop for students aged 11 to 19 utilized a professional staff to lead students through singing, dancing, and acting. The students learned valuable skills for showcasing both individual and ensemble talent. All of their hard work and effort culminated in a recital production of the material they had been studying.
Upcoming shows at Country Playhouse include YULETIDE CABARET, John Stevens’ one man adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL, THE BOYS IN THE BAND, TRUE WEST, LEAVING SAN JACINTO a new play set in back in Texas history and sponsored by the Masonic Library/Museum, THE DIXIE SWIM CLUB, KIMBERLY AKIMBO, and SIX DEGREES OF SEPERATION.
To learn more about Country Playhouse or to purchase tickets to their shows please visit http://countryplayhouse.org or call (713) 467 – 4497.
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Information and Photo Credit Courtesy of Country Playhouse