Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park to name Shelterhouse Theatre After Local Philanthropists

The name change comes after a "significant pledge" by the Rosenthal Family Foundation

Oct 29, 2018 at 4:42 pm
click to enlarge Luanne (Emily Kratter) and Patty (Michele Ragusa) in Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s production of last year's "Be Here Now." - Mikki Schaffner Photography
Mikki Schaffner Photography
Luanne (Emily Kratter) and Patty (Michele Ragusa) in Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s production of last year's "Be Here Now."

Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park's Shelterhouse Theatre is about to get a name change when the 2019-20 season rolls around. Behold: The Rosenthal Shelterhouse Theatre, named after Dick Rosenthal and his late wife, Lois. The family's foundation made a "significant" and undisclosed pledge that will go toward the company's $39.5 million capital campaign. 

Part of that ongoing project includes building a new Mainstage Theatre Complex. Though the construction timeline is not yet finalized, it's projected to open in late 2021. So far, according to a press release, the campaign's co-chairman Woody Taft says that they've raised $18 million toward the project, of which $14.4 million will go toward the new building; $3.6 million will be set aside for "endowment." 

The newly-minted Rosenthal Shelterhouse will undergo renovations next summer that include new seating and additional leg room. 

Performances in the Shelterhouse first unfurled in 1960. Since 1979 the space has been the namesake of Jay Thompson, who died last year. Prior to his passing, he gave the OK for the Playhouse to change it. Lois Rosenthal served as board member of the Playhouse. In a release, Artistic Director Blake Robinson says that she was "an enthusiastic advocate for original, edgy theater." Since 1988, the family has lent support to 28 world premiere plays at the regional theatre. (Last year, they sponsored Sooner/Later and Be Here Now.) The Rosenthals were the founders of the New Play Prize, which ran through 2003; since 2013, they have served as a Season Sponsor of New Work. 

“The Rosenthal Family’s long history of supporting new work has been key to the Playhouse’s ability to produce world premieres every season,” Robinson says in the release. “The majority of those plays are staged in the Shelterhouse, which is what makes naming it for the Rosenthals such a perfect match."

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