The former Burt Reynolds Dinner Theatre in Jupiter, FL, will rise from the financial ashes Oct. 3, with a new owner and a new name: Carousel's Jupiter Theatre.
The 18-year-old theatre, which was padlocked over Memorial Day weekend, 1996, after its operator fell behind in mortgage and tax payments, will reopen with a five-musical season. First up: a revival of Lerner & Loewe's Brigadoon Oct. 3-Nov. 17.
The 440-seat theatre, built by actor Burt Reynolds in 1979, has been leased by Prescott F. Griffith, owner and executive producer of the Carousel Dinner Theatre in Ravenna, OH near Cleveland.
Dinner and show rans $38 to $46 per person. Here is the schedule of upcoming productions:
* Brigadoon -- Oct. 3-Nov. 17
* Fiddler on the Roof -- Nov. 21 - Jan. 12
* Fantasy Spectacular -- An original revue first staged in Ohio. Jan. 16 - Feb. 23
* George M! -- Feb. 27-April 13
* Camelot -- April 17-May 25
For tickets or information: (561) 746-2800. The theatre has managed to attract Broadway-league talent for a subscribership that has consisted, in part, of retiree Broadway audiences. Griffith has said he intends to cast the shows with New York-based actors who are membes of Actors' Equity.
Executive producer Richard Atkins (who leased the theatre from its namesake, actor Burt Reynolds) was quoted as saying he had to shut down operations May 24 because Reliance Insurance Company of Philadelphia refused to pay a $350,000 claim resulting from a fire at the theatre in March 1995.
Reynolds ran the theatre until 1989 when he accrued some $4 million in debts. He sold it to Atkins that year, but has falled $142,000 behind in mortgage and tax payments even though it grossed more than $6 million in 1995, the paper reports. Reynolds began foreclosure proceedings the week of May 20, but also offered to sell Atkins the theatre for $2.1 million. A bank reportedly has offered Atkins part of the money, and he's hoping to raise the rest through donations.
The theatre was showing the comedy Breaking Legs at the time of the closing. -- By Robert Viagas