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Bill Hanney Re-Opens the North Shore Music Theatre

In a recent article by The Boston Globe, Bill Hanney, the new owner of the North Shore Music Theatre, is enthusiastic about the theatre's future. Despite still being under construction, GYPSY is set to open in 11 days.

"There's a big hole in the wall, so we can always get in that way,' he says. "It's going to be amazing.'

The North Shore Music Theatre was once the largest nonprofit theater in the region, but was forced to close in 209 after going bankrupt. Hanney purchased the theater for $3.6 million and has been busy making sure every step of the reopening goes just right.

"Bottom line, if you watch how you spend and do great shows,' he says, "this theater should make money.'

Hanney knows what he's talking about after having revived the Theatre By the Sea in Matunuck, R.I. in 2007 and as an owner of a chain of movie theaters.

The 2010 season at the North Shore Music Theatre will feature four shows instead of the usual six. In the past the company has staged new musicals, including the Tony Award winning "Memphis' in 2003. Hanney attended the Tony Awards this year and Broadway producer Randy Adams even thanked the North shore Music Theatre for making "Memphis" possible in his speech.

"For me to now own the theater that has a place in Broadway history? I'm loving it,' Hanney said. "The next day the box office was on fire. Phones were ringing off the hook.'

So how did they decided what to feature this season? "We asked ourselves, ‘What hasn't been done here?' ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.' What was the big huge hit here? ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.' What's a great show that people are talking about? ‘Gypsy.' What's a classic classic classic that appeals to every audience? ‘A Chorus Line.' And we had to bring back ‘A Christmas Carol,' ' says Hanney of the theater's traditional and successful holiday event, "or I couldn't step out in this town.'

North Shore Music Theatre's former artistic director and executive producer Jon Kimbell said that when the theater closed in 2009, "I didn't think there was much hope on the horizon. Everything that's happened since Bill Hanney showed up, though, has proven to me that he's really the right guy at the right time.'

As opening night draws near and Hanney continues to renovate the theater, he said, "Forget the budget. It went out the window. I bought this theater and I'm committed, within reason by the way, to showing the people of the North Shore and then some that their theater is back and as good as they remember, and maybe a little better,' Hanney says. "If I make one dollar this year, it's a success.'

For the full Boston Globe article, click here.

Photo Credit: John Tlumacki/Globe Staff




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