The Encore Dinner Playhouse, a planned dinner theatre offering musical comedy entertainment, has set its sights on an old lumber warehouse in the northwest Chicago suburb of Barrington to become its new home. Encore President Jenny Giocomo, who operates the theatre with her husband Gary, said they hope to conclude negotiations with the warehouse owner in two weeks and begin building in December for an April 1999 opening.
The Giocomos have been searching for an existing building for their playhouse for three years. In fact, they took a look at the Barrington lumber warehouse a few years ago, but lost interest when the owner insisted on selling rather than leasing the site. The situation has changed since then. The owner is now willing to lease and an attractive mall has sprouted in the yard around the warehouse.
Jenny Giocomo said talks with the owner and with the Mayor of Barrington have been very positive. She also stressed that Actors' Equity has been cooperative in discussions about Encore. The high-ceilinged theatre will boast 350 seats and a traditional proscenium stage with a half-round thrust. "This will be harking back to the old style of dinner theatre since both dinner and show will take place in the same room," she said. The Encore will present musical comedies exclusively.
"I think we will know if we are going forward with the plan in about two weeks," said Giocomo. Once the building is secure, she expects its conversion into a theatre to take only three months, allowing for a spring 1999 opening.
-- By Robert Simonson