Florida Studio Theatre Announces Early Opening of New Cabaret Theatre in Jan 2013

Florida Studio Theatre Announces Early Opening of New Cabaret Theatre in Jan 2013

Florida Studio Theatre has announced the early opening of the new Cabaret Theatre, originally slated to open in January 2014, now to open in January 2013.

On Friday, August 17th the board unanimously approved the change after a review of the construction schedule and the status of the fundraising campaign. The first show in the new space will open on January 4th and will mark the Grand Opening of the new Cabaret Theatre. This is one of the additional two spaces the capital improvement campaign provided. The other space, the John Court Theatre is expected to open in January 2014.

In addition to the dedicated Hegner Theatre Wing, made possible by The Hegner Family Foundation, Florida Studio Theatre’s floor plans indicate parts of the theatre that will bear the names of the lead donors of the project. These include:

The John Court Theatre (Georgia Court)
The Eugene & Toby Halpern Balcony of The Cabaret Theatre (Eugene & Toby Halpern)
The Israeloff Lobby (Robert and Bonny Israeloff)
Georgia’s Johns (Theatre Restrooms, Georgia Court)
Aaron Veranda (Gerri Aaron)
Eisenbarth Terrace (Max Eisenbarth)
Abromson Actor Kitchenette (Linda Abromson)
Lupoff Box Office (Barbara J. Lupoff)
Jerome and Sydney Goldstein Dressing Rooms (Gompertz Dressing Rooms, Jerome and Sydney Goldstein)
Baisley Artist Loft (Jane Baisley)
Full-Service Bar (Anonymous)
Lab Theatre Men’s Dressing Room (Anonymous)

The $6.8 million dollar campaign is the largest capital program in the 38-year old theatre’s history and will double the number of renovated stages on the theatre’s campus located in Sarasota’s historic downtown. The renovated Gompertz Theatre had a successful soft opening in July with the show Perfect Wedding, and will have a grand opening on November 29, 2012. Less than a week after the event, the second show of the 12-13 Mainstage series will open in the Gompertz Theatre on December 7th. The Gompertz Theatre is located at the corner of First Street and Cocoanut Avenue.

Artistic Director Richard Hopkins said, “I am delighted to announce the early opening of our New Cabaret Theatre. Originally scheduled to open in the Winter of 2014, we will now push up the opening date one full year! The turn of events that makes this possible include: successful fundraising, keeping to our basic construction timetables, a growing staff that's ready to meet the challenge, and last but not least, an extraordinarily enthusiastic FST audience that is bursting at the seams and rallying to our support. We look forward to producing the best that the American Theatre has to offer this year in our four professional theatres located in the heart of downtown Sarasota.”

It is Florida Studio Theatre’s mission to make theatre affordable and accessible to as many people as possible. With that goal in mind, FST has successfully grown its audience to one of the largest in the country, reaching more than 160,000 people each year through six major programs.

The New Gompertz Theatre project will allow FST to meet the demands of its programs and to reach even more of Sarasota’s broadening audience. Those demands could take FST’s audience and impact from 160,000 people to a projected 250,000 people per year. It will also allow for exciting new artistic ventures because of the expansion and addition of two new theatre spaces.

The New Gompertz Theatre is designed by Potvin Architects in collaboration with C. Alan Architect PA and NDC Construction. Schuler Shook of Chicago served as Theatre Consultants in the months leading up to construction and Siebein Associates, Inc are serving as Acoustical Consultants.

The $6.8 million construction campaign includes:

$4.2 million for renovation of The New Gompertz Theatre
$1 million to pay for the property
$1 million for endowment
$633,000 for capital reserves

The construction project will include the following in the new 24,000 sq. foot facility:

Expanded interior lobby spaceNew large restroomsA full service cafe and barCovered veranda seating and street-level seatingFully renovated Gompertz theatre auditorium featuring an increase in seating capacity to 237, increased accessible seating for handicapped patrons, larger stage space and wing spaceA New Cabaret Theatre, seating 130 people on two levelsA New Lab Theatre, seating 100 people on two levelsA New Actors’ Loft featuring new dressing rooms, restrooms, green room, and additional facilities, plus a Rooftop Garden for actors and running crews

FST’s construction project has the following projected timeline:

August 10, 2012: Performances began in the renovated Gompertz Theatre for Perfect Wedding, the second show of the 2012 Summer SeasonNovember 29, 2012: Grand opening of the New Gompertz Theatre, cafe, and lobby spaceDecember 7, 2012: Opening of Mainstage show number 2 in the Gompertz TheatreJanuary 4, 2013: Grand opening of the new Cabaret theatre space [2012/2013 Season]January 2014: Grand opening of the John Court Theatre space [2013/2014 Season]

FST first purchased the industrial 160-seat Gompertz Theatre in 2002, and opened its doors during FST’s 30th season anniversary in 2004. This purchase changed the campus of FST, turning it into the three-theatre campus it is today (with the Keating Theatre and Goldstein Cabaret). The Gompertz Theatre has allowed for growth and expansion for Florida Studio Theatre, including the creation of the Stage III program, which presented a broad palate of theatre; from provocative plays like Edward Albee’s The Goat or entertaining comedies like Shear Madness. Also, by presenting the Mainstage series in both the Keating and the Gompertz, it allowed FST to reach an unprecedented 10,000 subscribers during its 2010-2011 season and 160,000 total attendees through all six of its major programs.

Known as Sarasota’s Contemporary Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre was founded in 1973 by Jon Spelman. Starting out as a small touring company, FST traveled to places such as migrant camps and prisons. The company eventually settled down into a permanent home, acquiring the former Woman’s Club building – now renamed the Keating Theatre. In the years that followed, Florida Studio Theatre established itself as a major force in American Theatre, presenting Contemporary Theatre in its three theatre venues: the Keating Theatre, the Goldstein Cabaret and its newest space, the Gompertz Theatre.

Even with its growth, Florida Studio Theatre remains firmly committed to making the arts accessible and affordable to a broad-based audience. Under Richard Hopkins, Artistic Director and CEO, FST develops theatre that speaks to our living, evolving, and dynamically changing world. As FST grows and expands, it continues to provide audiences with challenging, contemporary drama and innovative programs.

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