About

Our History

The Downtown Cabaret Theatre is a direct descendent of the Sacred Heart University Cabaret. After several successful seasons in an academic setting, the entire company, under the artistic direction of Claude McNeal, moved to its present home in 1975.  Alexander Hawley, Samuel Hawley, Norwick Goodspeed, Mayor Nicholas Panuzio, Leete Doty, and other business and civic leaders believed that a professional theatre company in a resident home was essential to the development of the downtown area. As part of this move, the assembly room of the former YWCA was converted to a theatre, including the addition of a balcony and air conditioning.

Since the Theatre’s official opening with VAUDEVILLE TROUPE on February 27, 1976, over one million adults and children have enjoyed musical productions in the unique “Bring Your Own Picnic” cabaret atmosphere. It is now recognized as an important regional theatre and cultural resource.
Drawing upon both Connecticut and New York talent, the Downtown Cabaret has proven to be a marvelous opportunity for theatre professionals to showcase their talents and it has created a perfect environment for the seasoned and up-and-coming artist.

The Downtown Cabaret Theatre is incorporated as a not-for-profit tax-exempt regional theatre that offers year-round musical theatre and entertainment. As with all non-profit arts organizations, the Downtown Cabaret must rely on the support of the public and private sectors.  At the moment, this unique theatre recovers about 85% of its costs through box office revenues. This is an extraordinarily high percentage compared to other non-profit theaters at 55%. Click here to donate.

From its inception the Cabaret’s productions have been musical. Until 1980 the presentation was almost exclusively original material following revue format. Since then the Theatre has continued to produce Broadway-style book musicals as well as original works.  Richard C. Hallinan had been the Theatre’s Executive Producer since 1981 to 2006. His productions have included popular Broadway musicals as well as the American premiere of BLOOD BROTHERS in 1988 and a production of JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT in 1979 – before it appeared on Broadway.  Hugh Hallinan became the theatre’s Associate Producer in 1994, and succeeded his father in 2006 assuming the position of Executive Producer.

In 1995 the Cabaret underwent a $1.3 million renovation to the facility. Renovations included the construction of a fly house over the stage, the remodeling of the backstage bathrooms, lobby and house, as well as major upgrades to lighting, sound, and air conditioning equipment. These renovations were funded by a $900,000 grant from the State and a capital campaign the Theatre undertook. The newly renovated theatre now holds 290 people.

The City of Bridgeport has, over the past 35 years, been a major supporter in the role of benevolent landlord. The Theatre also receives support from the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism.

Awards

2011
CONNECTICUT CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS
Best Director of a Musical, Scott Thompson, JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT

2008
CONNECTICUT CRITICS CIRCLE NOMINEES
Outstanding Ensemble, SHE LOVES YOU!
Outstanding Ensemble, 8-TRACK, THE SOUNDS OF THE 70’S

2006
CONNECTICUT CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS
Outstanding Production of a Musical, SWEET CHARITY
Outstanding Choreography of a Musical, Scott Thompson, SWEET CHARTIY

NOMINEES
Outstanding Actress in a Musical, Leslie Stevens, SWEET CHARITY
Outstanding Director of a Musical, Scott Thompson, SWEET CHARITY
Outstanding Lighting Design, Hugh Hallinan, SWEET CHARTIY

2005
CONECTICUT CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS
Outstanding Director of Musical, Julie Arenal, HAIR
Outstanding Ensemble, HAIR

NOMINEES
Outstanding Production of a Musical, HAIR
Outstanding Actor in a Musical, Lance Zitron, IDOLS OF THE KING
Outstanding Choreography of a Musical, Julie Arenal, HAIR
Outstanding Lighting Design, Hugh Hallinan, HAIR
Outstanding Sound Design, Joe Boerst, HAIR

2004
CONNECTICUT CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS
Tom Killen Award: Bert Bernardi, Director of Downtown Cabaret Children’s Company
Outstanding Director of a Musical, Gary John La Rosa, La CAGE aux FOLLES

NOMINEES
Outstanding Production of a Musical, La CAGE aux FOLLES
Outstanding Choreography of a Musical, Gary John La Rosa, La CAGE aux FOLLES
Outstanding Lighting Design, Hugh Hallinan, BUDDY: THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY
Outstanding Debut, Teddy Eck, A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM

2003
CONNECTICUT CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS
Outstanding Actress of a Musical, Josie de Guzman, THE KING & I
Outstanding Choreographer, Lisa & Gary McIntyre, SWING!

NOMINEES
Outstanding Production of a Musical, THE KING & I
Outstanding Production of a Musical, SUGAR BABIES
Outstanding Production of a Musical, SWING!
Outstanding Actress of a Musical, Lyn Philistine, SUGAR BABIES
Outstanding Actor of a Musical, Kirby Ward, SUGAR BABIES
Outstanding Director of a Musical, Lisa & Gary McIntrye, SWING!
Outstanding Director of a Musical, Richard Sabellico, THE KING & I
Outstanding Director of a Musical, Richard Sabellico, SUGAR BABIES
Outstanding Lighting Design, Hugh Hallinan, THE KING & I
Outstanding Ensemble, SWING

2002
CONNECTICUT CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS
Outstanding Production of a Musical, SMOKEY JOE’S CAFÉ
Outstanding Choreographer of a Musical, Jamie Rocco, SMOKEY JOE’S CAFE
Outstanding Actress in a Musical, Lovena Fox, JEKYLL & HYDE

NOMINEES
Outstanding Production of a Musical, JEKYLL & HYDE
Outstanding Director of a Musical, Jamie Rocco, SMOKEY JOE’S CAFÉ
Outstanding Director of a Musical, Lynnette Barkley, JEKYLL & HYDE
Outstanding Actor in a Musical, Brad Little, JEKYLL & HYDE
Outstanding Ensemble, SMOKEY JOE’S CAFÉ
Outstanding Lighting Design, Hugh Hallinan, SMOKEY JOE’S CAFE
Outstanding Sound Design, Joe Boerst, JEKYLL & HYDE

2001
CONNECTICUT CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS
Outstanding Actress, Kristen Howe, JOSEPH & THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT
Outstanding Lighting Design, Hugh Hallinan, JOSEPH & THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT

NOMINEES
Outstanding Production of a Musical, BLOOD BROTHERS
Outstanding Production of a Musical, JOSEPH & THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT
Outstanding Actress, Maree Johnson, BLOOD BROTHERS
Outstanding Actress, Kirsten Wyatt, BLOOD BROTHERS
Outstanding Director, Lynette Barkley, JOSEPH & THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT
Outstanding Choreographer, Lynette Barkley, JOSEPH & THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT
Outstanding Director, Richard Sabellico, BLOOD BROTHERS

2000
CONNECTICUT CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS
Outstanding Production of a Musical, GUYS & DOLLS
Outstanding Actor in a Musical, Anthony Santelmo, Jr., GUYS & DOLLS,
Outstanding Director of a Musical, Jamie Rocco, GUYS & DOLLS
Outstanding Actress, Amy Eschman, GUYS & DOLLS
Debut Award, Kirsten Wyatt, DAMES AT SEA

NOMINEES
Outstanding Actress, Cindy Summers, ALWAYS PATSY CLINE
Outstanding Actress, Kirsten Wyatt, DAMES AT SEA
Outstanding Actor, Paul DePasquale, GUYS & DOLLS
Outstanding Choreography, Sharon Halley, GUYS & DOLLS
Outstanding Set Design, J Branson, GUYS & DOLLS
Debut Award, Amy Eschman, GUYS & DOLLS

View Past Awards

Box Office

Box Office Hours
10:00am - 5:00pm. Mon - Fri
Phone: 203 576-1636

Seating Chart

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Group Sales Phone/Email
203-576-1634
rosemary@mycabaret.org

Box Office opens 90 minutes prior to each performance on show days. House opens for seating 30 minutes prior to performance time.
Thank You To Our Sponsors DECD Peoples Bank Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism R.D. Scinto Stratton Faxon