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CCRI community gets preview of newly renovated theater at ribbon-cutting celebration
April 8, 2013
The Community College of Rhode Island has long had excellent theater and music programs but its student performers had to make do with an out-of-date theater. Now they have access to the space they deserve.
CCRI opened the newly renovated Bobby Hackett Theater at the Knight Campus in Warwick with a special performance on April 8 to kick off All College Week 2013.
Students from last year’s cast of “Hello Broadway,” an annual CCRI production, performed songs from “Les Misérables,” “Annie,” “Chess,” “Company” and other musicals.
The $2.8 million theater renovation project, using funds raised by the Imagine capital campaign,took nearly three years to complete from fund-raising through completion. The theater has new seats and lighting, a new sound system and projector equipment, an updated control room and acoustic panels to help the audience have a great experience.
CCRI President Ray Di Pasquale said that when he first came to the college, he was struck by the disparity between the quality of the performing arts program and its performance space. He said the new theater will give students and their professors a space that is worthy of their talents.
“This is going to be the premier space for our students to perform,” he said.
While this sneak preview event was open only to the college community, Di Pasquale said a full-scale public ribbon-cutting event will take place this fall.
Retired music professor Lloyd Kaplan, who began working at CCRI in 1966 and designed much of the school’s music curriculum, also was at the ceremony. He helped President Di Pasquale with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting to open the theater.
“I’ve wanted this for many years,” Kaplan said. “It’s beautiful and I hope many great productions are forthcoming.”
Students at the opening concert were impressed with the renovations. “The new theater is a lot different,” said General Studies major Quincy Gilbert. “It looks cleaner and fresher.”
The theater will be used for many events in the years to come, from plays to concerts to academic lectures. This year’s production of “Hello Broadway,” with its full ensemble cast, will run from June 14 to 16.
Student Gabrielle Gauvin will be a part of this show and she said she is looking forward to performing in the new theater. “I think that the way it is now, everyone is close to the stage so you feel more connected with what’s going on,” she said.
Tickets for “Hello Broadway” cost $17 for adults and $12 for students and senior citizens. Call 825-1135 for information.