Tonight was historical for The Ridgefield Playhouse. Community members, donors, local government officials, and members of the Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce gathered outside of the Playhouse to celebrate the nonprofit's first major renovation since opening its doors in 2000.
Allison Stockel, Executive Director, welcomed attendees with tears in her eyes. This moment was one she fought hard to achieve. The venue has been bursting at the seams - innovating to create more space for the growing number of performers, staff, and patrons. Today was a big one for the arts in Ridgefield.
“This is something that we have been thinking about since I started a long time ago - how can we make the lobby better for patrons? And we knew we needed to improve the backstage.”
Stockel says the stars aligned in 2014 when RVNAhealth moved to Governor Street and I said, “Rudy that’s the best place for the Board of Education and we can have the Board of Education space!” “You’ll see when you go in, it will be amazing to you that this is just the natural space for us to have.” It took many years, lots of discussions, the BOE now has a beautiful space and entryway as they should.”
With the craftsmanship of Verdi Construction and architect, Doug Macmillan, The Ridgefield Playhouse has nearly doubled its footprint and is poised for a future where live entertainment will be plentiful.
Stockel thanked the many donors present including Nick and Anita Donofrio. It was Nick who rolled up his sleeves and worked with Allison to raise the funds necessary for the expansion. “We did this on our own. We hired nobody to lead us. I convinced my partner here (gesturing toward Stockel) that we were smart enough to do this on our own. She listened to me.” Donofrio thanked the many in attendance who helped make the dreams of a better Ridgefield Playhouse a reality.
After cutting a bright green ribbon, courtesy of the Chamber of Commerce, Stockel opened the doors to the newly renovated Playhouse where cocktails, hors d'oeuvres from Bernard’s (and air conditioning) awaited.
The lobby of the Ridgefield Playhouse is stunning. Ridgefield resident Chris Curnan is the talented artist behind the colorful paintings on the walls and Norvel Hermanovski is currently painting murals of Ridgefield landmarks to adorn the interior.
Some of the greatest musicians in the world have not only performed in Ridgefield, Connecticut, but they’ve shopped here and dined in our restaurants! Kudos to Stockel and her team who has brought renowned artists to Ridgefield.
The list of musical notables is lengthy, here are just some: Southside Johnny (shown in photo with Stockel), Bruce Hornsby, George Thorogood, Colbie Callait, Brett Michaels, Boz Scaggs, Judy Collins, kd Lang, Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, Steven Stills, David Crosby, and The Beach Boys. And, they return, year after year.
From concerts to plays, educational events and movies, the Ridgefield Playhouse is synonymous with outstanding entertainment - close to home.
Cheers to you, Allison Stockel and The Ridgefield Playhouse! You did it!
Now, see a show! Click here to visit The Ridgefield Playhouse.