Hugh Hallinan, Executive Producer of Downtown Cabaret Theatre (DCT), in Bridgeport,
Connecticut, announces the inauguration of its new “Community Theatre Series” venture featuring
the Bridgeport Theatre Company (BTC).
For the first three decades of its existence, the Downtown Cabaret Theatre, was critically and
popularly recognized for producing high quality professional theatre, having built itself up from its
community theatre roots. Cabaret productions of Evita, Hair and pre-Broadway’s Blood Brothers
among others, played extended engagements in Bridgeport and featured professional actors from
New York City, but over the years those shows became prohibitively expensive to produce.
“I have been exploring economical ways to bring back traditional musical theatre,” said Hallinan.
“The question was how to smoothly transition from 25 years of award-winning professional theatre
to non-professional community theatre while still retaining a level of quality and professionalism our
audiences have come to expect. Fortunately for us, a community theatre group has proven to have
integrity and a passion for producing musical theatre right on our very stage.”
“It’s really been a matter of being in the right place at the right time for both theatres,” Hallinan
continued. “We have the theater, the facilities and years of experience and the non-profit Bridgeport
Theatre Company, originally housed at the Playhouse on the Green, has been searching for
a permanent home. During the search, BTC and Eli Newsom, Artistic Director, have been
operating ‘in residence’ at the Downtown Cabaret Theatre for the past three seasons presenting
quality community theater. It’s a good match…to the point that I have endorsed Bridgeport Theatre
Company to fill the void of the Cabaret’s “Community Theatre Series.”
The lower costs for Bridgeport Theatre Company’s non-professional productions, which utilizes
a mix of talented local volunteer actors and paid backstage staff, has allowed it to present larger
mainstage titles like RENT, Hairspray and Next to Normal, which are a perfect fit for a venue
like the Cabaret. Hallinan is also enthused that audiences coming to see these shows will take
advantage of the infamous “Cabaret experience,” which others have come to love over the
years…allowing patrons to enjoy the ‘feasts’ they’ve brought from home or purchased from local
restaurants while enjoying the shows. Hallinan continued, “We’ll be returning to the Cabaret’s
nonprofessional ‘community theatre’ roots and offering Broadway-style musicals at affordable ticket
prices! What’s not to like about this win-win joint venture between Downtown Cabaret Theatre and
Bridgeport Theatre Company?”
“Collectively, Downtown Cabaret Theatre and Bridgeport Theatre Company foresee that this new
venture will have a positive economic impact on the City of Bridgeport. In addition, it will be great
not only for regional and local artists, but also in filling the demand of Fairfield County audiences
seeking live musical theatre entertainment,” stated Hallinan and Newsom.
With a place to call home, Bridgeport Theatre Company will be able to continue presenting
larger, Broadway shows.
Combine this with the Cabaret mainstays – the professional Cabaret Children’s Theatre Company
embraced by audiences for 25 years, the Cabaret Nights Concert Series featuring such top rated
performers as Judy Collins, Crystal Gayle and Gary Puckett, and the highest quality Tribute
Shows which have included The Beatles’ She Loves You, Johnny Cash The Man in Black, Abba
Abbamainia, Bee Gees Night Fever and Barbra and Frank – The Concert That Never Was! it’s a
well-rounded, 52 weeks-per-year entertainment schedule that audiences have been craving.
Both Downtown Cabaret Theatre and Bridgeport Theatre Company will continue to operate
independently, but will share some of the effort of mainstage productions. “It’s really about sharing
in various challenges that non-profit theatre companies face in today’s economic climate,” says
Newsom. Added support from the veteran Downtown Cabaret Theatre in various elements of
production, such as scenery, sound and lighting, as well as marketing and box office operations will
only help Bridgeport Theatre Company to continue to grow. Likewise, BTC will be filling a demand in
the Cabaret’s calendar for larger Broadway musicals.