New Hope for the Arts in New Hope: Bucks County Playhouse Is Back!

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Among the dignitaries at the reopening of Bucks County Playhouse were Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson.

Monday night was a very special, exciting one in New Hope, PA.

The Bucks County Playhouse reopened after being shuttered for more than 18 months.  This time, Equity producer Jed Bernstein is at the helm.

At 7 PM, a dignitary and star-studded audience of nearly 200 people applauded and cheered as each speaker acknowledged the amazing progress the Playhouse has made in a relatively short time.

The presence of Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson attracted much attention from the guests. They were there to commemorate their appearance together at the Playhouse in HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES decades ago.

William Hammerstein spoke with pride about his grandfather, Oscar  whose show, IT’S A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING is opening the season.

Moss Hart’s and Kitty Carlisle’s son, Chris, expressed fondness for his parent’s connection with BCP, saying his mother introduced him to audiences when he was a baby and they were appearing in THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER.

William Hammerstein, grandson of Oscar Hammerstein, II, spoke to the crowd of supporters at Bucks County Playhouse on Monday night.

Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick expressed his delight that the Playhouse is open again, “There is new hope for the arts here in New Hope!”

Pennsylvania’s  Lt. Governor, James Cawley brought greetings from the Governor and Mrs. Corbett, a strong supporter of the arts.

Representing New Hope and the entire Boro Council, who were also in attendance, were Clair Shaw and Larry Keller, Mayor of New Hope.

Nick Wyman, President of Actors’ Equity Association was in the audience as was Jerry Lepping, executive director of Visit Bucks County.

Earlier on, benefactor Kevin Daugherty talked about how pleased he was to have participated in this project along with his wife, Sherri. Tanya Cooper, executive director of Bridge Street Foundation which funded the Playhouse restoration, expressed her excitement in how far they’ve come in such a short time, holding up an interior photo of the Playhouse before the work began.

Peggy McRae was the driving force behind the resurrection of Bucks County Playhouse.

Several times during the celebration, speakers gestured toward Peggy McRae, who stood in the back and did not speak, acknowledging that McRae  — with no ties to theatre at all – had been the driving force to find a way to save the Playhouse.

Helpers passed out champagne to all of the guests, and as the speakers and Boro Council members gathered on the front steps, all guests raised their glasses in a toast as the ribbon was cut, remembering Congressman Fitzpatricks’ concluding words in his remarks: “This community will not let you down. The world is watching. Let the show go on!”

The doors opened.  The Bucks County Playhouse lives again!

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Jean Brenner

Jean Brenner

Jean Brenner has an extensive background in performing, directing, reviewing shows and doing all kinds of public relations work, including writing newsletters for various organizations. After graduating from Temple University, she taught English and Theatre at several high schools in Pennsylvania and Delaware, became Director of Public Relations at Bucks County Playhouse under an earlier ownership, and developed the theatre program at William Tennent High School, Warminster, Bucks County. Thereafter, she became a Realtor opening and operating Brenner Realty for 17 years, in Richboro. Returning to her theatre interests she and her husband started MONARCH THEATRE TROUPE, a not-for-profit company, in 2010, producing two musicals and a play in their first full year of operation. In 2012, she was VP of Marketing/Publicity for Town & Country Players, Buckingham. This year, she writes press releases for them. She and her husband thoroughly enjoy seeing a variety of shows, some of which she reviews for STAGE Magazine and for The Bucks County HERALD. In September, she will direct THE DINING ROOM for Town & Country Players.


  1. Jacqualyn Hillegass says:

    So glad the theatre is OPEN AGAIN! Looking forward to coming to an upcoming show! I’ll check the website for more information on your new season.

  2. Lisa Panzer says:

    This is most wonderful news! Looking forward to seeing a show there!

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