The CENTER for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck opened its doors in July 1998. This followed four summers (1994-1997) of performances on the same site in a tent. Construction of the permanent building began in October 1997, with an exterior design resembling a barn to complement the surrounding rural landscape and pay tribute to the origins of summer stock.
The CENTER’s first Executive Director, Kevin Mazuzan, was on board from May 1998 through March 1999. Lou Trapani was named Artistic and Managing Director on April 1, 1999 and continues to hold that position today.
The CENTER operated primarily as a summer venue in 1998 but from April 1, 1999 year-round operations began with the building open seven days a week, up to 16 hours a day (The CENTER is closed to the public for New Year’s, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas). Since July 1, 1998, over 300,000 patrons have attended performances of about 2,000 different productions; approximately 16,000 artists (often returning for many different productions) have been involved in those productions; and about 2,600 students (ranging in age from four years old to 80 years old) have been trained in all aspects of the theater arts.
The CENTER’s inaugural show, Gypsy, was a Rhinebeck Theater Society (RTS) production directed by Ellen Honig, which opened on July 3, 1998. Gypsy was restaged by CENTERstage productions in February of 2009, directed by Kevin Archambault.
Today many adults and children of all ages call The CENTER their second home and enjoy performances, workshops and special events in our cozy setting. Come join our family for some great entertainment.
See you at The CENTER!