By Barb Vilanova • Photographs from Point Park University
Pittsburgh Playhouse at Point Park University Opens to Students, Audiences, and the Downtown Community.
After 28 months of construction, the painstaking deconstruction and reconstruction of three historic facades, and the unprecedented restoration of a 22 stained glass-paneled ceiling from Pittsburgh’s historic Stock Exchange Building, the gleaming new Pittsburgh Playhouse is ready for its close-up.
Pittsburgh Playhouse at Point Park University officially opens its doors on Thursday, October 11 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for University trustees, civic and community leaders. On Saturday, October 13, the Pittsburgh Playhouse hosts a ticketed gala event that will include an elegant reception, performance, dinner and dancing.
A 90,411-square-foot theater complex, the Pittsburgh Playhouse features a total of 91 rooms including a magnificent lobby space that boasts a three story wide-open space with natural light, a grand staircase and tucked-in spaces for students to lounge and gather; the 550-seat PNC Theatre whose backstage and inner workings are visible from the street, resulting in an intentional glimpse into performing arts classes; the main floor which includes an enormous paint shop, a 2,738-square-foot soundstage three stories high, a 15-foot-high catwalk and 24-foot-high ceilings to provide professional-level learning opportunities to students in multiple disciplines, including cinematography, audio work, lighting work and aesthetics.
The new Pittsburgh Playhouse was designed to be a learning laboratory for all Point Park students, not just those enrolled in the University’s prestigious Conservatory for the Performing Arts. Students from across the academic community will have experiential learning opportunities that include aspects of producing, marketing, management, ticketing and programming. In addition, the Playhouse will collaborate with the University’s Rowland School of Business and Center for Media Innovation on events, lectures and related programming. “This is a unique component of the new Playhouse and was a key driver in its design and mission. We believe the cross disciplinary opportunities it will provide students will be unrivaled in our region,” said Hennigan.
For Pittsburgh’s Downtown economy and community, having another exceptional cultural attraction in the Central Business District will continue to help drive visitors to the area. Allowing for passersby to see the main stage area of the Playhouse from the street will help connect community to students and encourage everyone to feel a part of the creative process. Theatergoers can enjoy the indoor and outdoor seating at the Pittsburgh Playhouse Café and view up close the larger-than-life restored facades of the Royal, Goettman and Palace buildings.
“For decades, many of our students, faculty and staff have been separated from the rest of the Academic Village in Oakland,” said Hennigan. “Now everyone will be part of the greater academic community and have an opportunity to be inspired by the energy, vitality and pace of Downtown Pittsburgh. It’s a new beginning and we’re thrilled to finally get started.”
The new Pittsburgh Playhouse’s first season runs from October 26, 2018, through April 14, 2019, and features the award-winning musicals Cabaret and Sunday in the Park with George, as well as the Broadway smash History Boys. Full price season subscriber packages include a complimentary season parking pass at the PNC Garage, across the street from the Playhouse.
BY THE NUMBERS
$60 MILLION: Cost to build and furnish
90,411: Square footage of new construction
76,276: Square footage of four existing buildings
91: Total rooms in new building
29: Number of subcontractors that worked on the project
17: Total number of trade unions represented on the project
253: Total number of workers on the project
4,000: Peak number of weekly labor hours during construction
28 Months: for construction
1 MILLION-PLUS: Feet of wire used throughout the building
250,000: Feet of electrical conduit used throughout the building
30,000: Feet of galvanized aircraft cable used for stage rigging
780: Approximate amount of American-made steel, in tons, used on the construction project
700: Approximate total number of loose theatrical lighting fixtures in all three theaters
685: Total number of individual pieces in the three building facades that were restored and reused as part of the Playhouse – The Royal, 279; Goettman, 169; Palace, 237
240: Yards of fabric used to fabricate the stage curtain in the main theater
1903: Year the stained glass ceiling in the Stock Exchange Building was made
1,700: Approximate hours of labor put into the restoration of the stained glass ceiling
“We are thrilled to finally pull back the curtain on this amazing new entertainment center in Downtown Pittsburgh… For those of us who have been a part of seeing this building come to life, it’s a very special moment.” – Point Park University President Paul Hennigan
Pittsburgh Playhouse, 305 Forbes Ave. For more information on Pittsburgh Playhouse at Point Park University, visit pointpark.edu/PghPlayhouse/index.