The lights of Broadway will soon glow in Downtown Hendersonville courtesy of Flat Rock Playhouse. The State Theater of North Carolina is about to open its new 250-seat theater, a second location where the Playhouse envisions offering nine months of additional shows.
The venue will open this month with two productions: Once On This Island by the Playhouse Apprentices, running June 14-19, and Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution, June 29-July 24. A third show, Shear Madness, is scheduled for August 3-September 4. Office space at 125 South Main Street owned by the Fazio family is being converted into the theater.
The theater’s opening follows the Playhouse’s successful foray into downtown productions last year. Three plays at the Historic Henderson County Courthouse garnered rave reviews from both patrons and Main Street businesses.
Playhouse Marketing Director Tom Thompson says, “We really feel it kind of sprung organically out of what happened last year with the courthouse productions. It was really an experiment, and the response from the local businesses was so positive. It made a lot of sense to rejuvenate local businesses and also help the Playhouse grow as an organization.”
Chris Ricker, president of the FRP Board of Trustees, says he feels the excitement from the community every time he visits the site.
“We expect it to be a significant draw to the area and a great extension of Flat Rock Playhouse,” Ricker says. “I have spent many days at the site and am extremely pleased with the encouragement expressed by the community. Folks stop by from 7am until 11pm and are always interested, excited, and supportive. I often hear comments of ‘I am so glad you are doing this’ or ‘This is the best thing to happen in Hendersonville in years.'”
Following this summer’s opening, the Playhouse plans to offer six months of performances at the new theater in 2012 and nine months in 2013. With the expanded programming, Flat Rock Playhouse expects to welcome an additional 50,000 to 75,000 patrons annually with a possible economic impact of $4 million for downtown businesses. The front façade of the theater will have a large attractive entrance to give it a strong presence on Main Street.
“We appreciate the enthusiasm and look forward to being a valuable member of the downtown business community,” Ricker says.
For tickets, call the FRP box office at 828-693-0731 or visit www.flatrockplayhouse.org.