Iconic Regional Theater Restored to Former Glory
EWING, NJ — October 15, 2012 — On July 3rd, the Bucks County Playhouse inaugurated its 2012 season, presenting a Rodgers & Hammerstein revue and staging a brilliant comeback for the theater itself.
The magnificent cherry-red velour, gold-fringed curtain that went up on this double debut was fabricated and installed by Gerriets International, a manufacturer of theater drapery and equipment based in Ewing, New Jersey. Gerriets also supplied and installed a full complement of masking panels and blackout drapery as well as the track systems that move the main curtain and other drapery as needed for each stage production. Another important stage component provided by Gerriets is the portable front/rear projection screen and frame system for use in performances incorporating scenic projection, video or film.
John Vivian, production manager for the Bucks County Playhouse, considered bids from a wide range of drapery houses and rigging contractors before going with Gerriets. "Ultimately," says Vivian "the selection of Gerriets was really a no-brainer—Gerriets was much more thorough than any other drapery company we considered, and their expertise and attention to all the details of addressing the particular needs of this project were indispensable. And as our needs continued to evolve, Gerriets general manager Nick Pagliante and his team adapted accordingly, contributing so much in the way of experience and expertise. And their ingenuity and cooperation in working within the demands of our very tight schedule and budget constraints were crucial."
For decades the Bucks County Playhouse was a crown jewel in the vibrant arts and culture landscape of New Hope, Pennsylvania and the surrounding Bucks County area. Local resident and Broadway playwright Moss Hart was part of the group of artists that originally saved the former grist mill from demolition back in the 1930s. Oscar Hammerstein, another local resident, was among the luminaries for whom the Bucks County Playhouse (located 90 minutes from New York City) served as both a country stage and proving ground for Broadway-bound work. Over the course of seven decades, such legends of stage and screen as Grace Kelly, Liza Minnelli, Walter Matthau, Angela Lansbury, and Robert Redford (to name a few) played the theater's stage. And yet, in recent years the Bucks County Playhouse struggled to survive. By 2010, the theater had lost its Actors Equity standing, the bank had foreclosed on the building, and the playhouse was shuttered. In 2011 the Bridge Street Foundation, a local nonprofit private family foundation, purchased the building and commenced a complete renovation, working jointly with the Bucks County Playhouse Conservancy and then the Bucks County Theater Foundation, to restore the theater to its former glory in all regards.
The big reveal on July 2nd unveiled an amazing transformation: in less than a year, the rundown venue regained what's been called "the clean, bright, vintage look reminiscent of a first-class summer theater in its heyday." And the house and stage have in all ways been brought up to modern standards in terms of safety, comfort, and functionality. Audiences have returned and the renovations and full season of star-studded productions have garnered glowing reviews from local and national press.
"We're proud to have played a role in bringing such a great theater back to our community," says Gerriets general manager Nick Pagliante. "It's a truly inspiring renaissance."
Gerriets International Inc. delivers innovative theatrical equipment solutions for a diverse range of clients—from opera houses to touring performance groups, from megachurches to civic centers, and from architects to exhibit designers. Serving the North American market since 1979, we are based in Ewing, New Jersey, where our facilities include a sewing workshop and stock warehouse.
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General information: www.gerriets.us.