New Jersey's McCarter Officially Unveils New Roger Berlind Theatre

News   New Jersey's McCarter Officially Unveils New Roger Berlind Theatre
Three years in the making, the Roger S. Berlind Theatre will on Sept. 8 become a reality when the ribbon is cut and the curtain raised on the McCarter Theatre's new auditorium. The event will take place at 5:30 PM. The space's namesake, Broadway producer Berlind, will be in attendance.
Plans for the new Berlind Theatre.
Plans for the new Berlind Theatre.

Also expected to be on hand are Emily Mann, McCarter's artistic director; Hugh Hardy, the theatre's architect; Paul Muldoon, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet who lives in Princeton and will recite an ode to the theatre; and playwright Doug Wright, who will make a "surprise contribution" to the festivities.

Berlind made a $3.5 million gift to Princeton University and neighboring McCarter Theatre in late 1998. The money helped build the 350-seat theatre, which was build at the rear of the current building. It will be used by both the McCarter—which will increase its number of performances and productions—and Princeton's theatre and dance program. The McCarter will continue to use its 1100-seat main stage.

Hugh Hardy is the founder of Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates, and the man without whom no theatre is built or restored these days. Hardy's many major accomplishments include the renovation of the New Amsterdam and New Victory Theatres, and the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, all on 42nd Street.

The Berlind Theatre exterior is composed of stone and dark red brick, some of which is laid in a diagonal pattern. The structure's mainly vertical lines include a 130-foot-high tower and a French gothic entrance facade. The theatre is meant to blend in with the extant buildings on the Princeton campus.

Berlind is no stranger to Princeton. A graduate of the Class of 1952, he has since been a university trustee and, in 1986, established the Roger S. Berlind '52 Professorship in the Humanities. Novelist Joyce Carol Oates currently holds the post. During his collegiate years, Berlind presaged his future in the theatre by composing tunes for the famous Triangle Club. (The McCarter Theatre was originally built in 1930 for use by the Triangle Club.) Berlind has a busy season before him. He and Daryl Roth hope to bring the McCarter's production of Nilo Cruz' Anna in the Tropics, the inaugural offering at the Berlind Theatre, to Broadway. In addition, he is producing the Broadway revival of Wonderful Town, the Kennedy Center stint of Stephen Sondheim's Bounce, and the Off-Broadway evening of one-acts, Beckett/Albee. Variety also reports that Berlind and Roth will likely bring the upcoming revival of Craig Lucas' Reckless — at the Second Stage Theatre in spring 2004 — to Broadway. That production stars Mary Louise Parker under the direction of Mark Brokaw.

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