Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park Capital Campaign Co-Chairmen Woody Taft and Rob Reifsnyder announced April 29 that the new mainstage theatre will be named for Moe and Jack Rouse, thanks to a gift of $5 million. The newly christened “Moe and Jack’s Place – The Rouse Theatre” will replace the Marx Theatre, the oldest, un-renovated mainstage facility at any regional theatre in the country.
“Moe and Jack’s leadership and generosity laid the groundwork for the fantastic progress we continue to make on the campaign,” said Reifsnyder.
The Rouses are major supporters of The Playhouse. They have been production sponsors for nine years and are presenting co-sponsors of August Wilson’s “Two Trains Running” and next season’s “The Lifespan of a Fact.” Jack Rouse has served on the Playhouse board of trustees for 18 seasons and was president twice, most recently from 2016 to 2018. He currently serves as board chair.
In addition, both Rouses are active in a number of volunteer leadership positions in the community. Moe Rouse founded Mannequin, a clothing boutique in Over the Rhine that benefits eight local charities: FreeStore Foodbank, Lighthouse Youth Services, La Soupe, Wesley Chapel, First Step Home, Caracole, Tender Mercies and UCAN Spay/Neuter. She has served on the boards of the Red Cross, Cincinnati Ballet, WGUC, Film Commission and Contemporary Arts Center. Jack Rouse also currently serves on the boards of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and ArtsWave.
“Jack and I met doing theater together and have a long-abiding love of the Playhouse,” said Moe Rouse. “Making this gift is our way of sharing the joy of live theater with the community. We want the new mainstage theater to be a friendly, accessible place that brings all types of people together.”
The new mainstage theater complex, including the Rouse Theatre, is anticipated to open in late 2022. This is later than the previously projected opening date of late 2021.
“We anticipate breaking ground in 2020. It’s a very complex project – building on a hill and working around our schedule of productions,” said Playhouse Artistic Director Blake Robison. “We’re committed to our home site in beautiful Eden Park, and we want to minimize disruptions to our patrons.”
In the meantime, the capital project has already begun with the renovation of the Rosenthal Shelterhouse Theatre scheduled for this summer. This first phase will be completed and ready for the opening of the 2019-20 season in September. Patrons can expect more leg room, comfortable new seats, and improved accessibility to the Playhouse’s beloved, original space.
The new mainstage theater complex includes the Rouse Theatre and support facilities, such as new dressing rooms, rehearsal rooms, green rooms, costume shop and backstage areas. It will expand what can be done on stage with state-of-the art theater technology. The new theater will also enhance the audience experience with better comfort, sightlines, acoustics and entry/exit.