HISTORIC SHUBERT THEATER CELEBRATES ITS 99th ANNIVERSARY; THE CITY OF NEW HAVEN OFFICIALLY TRANSFERS OWNERSHIP TO THE CONNECTICUT ASSOCIATION FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS (CAPA)
(New Haven, CT) Today, on the 99th anniversary of the Shubert Theater’s opening in New Haven, Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. officially signed ownership of the theater over to the Connecticut Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA), the not-for-profit organization which has operated the theater for the City since 2001.
“The Shubert Theater has been an important cultural attraction in New Haven since it opened its doors in 1914 and continues to draw over one hundred thousand visitors annually and generate a significant economic impact for the city,” said Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. “CAPA has proven itself to be a highly capable theater management company and I am confident that under their ownership the Shubert will continue to flourish and be a cultural leader in our city for the next 100 years.”
Having opened in 1914, the Shubert earned the title of “Birthplace of the Nation’s Greatest Hits” by staging over 600 pre-Broadway tryouts, including over 300 world premieres and 50 American premieres. From its original mission as a Broadway tryout house, the theater has evolved into a not-for-profit, community resource that serves as the heartbeat of the region’s cultural life. In addition to the Broadway offerings and performances of dance, popular music and family entertainment, the Shubert Theater provides comprehensive education and outreach programs, fulfilling its mission to make the best of the performing arts available to the community.
CAPA is a vital partner in the arts community and provides ticketing, marketing, production and other services to many arts and community organizations, including the New Haven Board of Education, the International Festival of Arts and Ideas, Yale University, Market New Haven and the New Haven Ballet.
Each year, CAPA serves thousands of school children, families and senior citizens throughout the New Haven Region by providing in-school programs and community ticketing initiatives. Their management of school performance spaces, like the theaters at Coop High School, provide invaluable theater experience to our young people As part of its expanded programming initiative, the Shubert has hosted a variety of popular concert artists and comedians including Josh Groban, Grammy Award-winning Latin superstar Gilberto Santa Rosa, and John Oliver from Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Each of these unique performances attracted new, diverse audiences to the theater and restaurants in New Haven’s downtown entertainment neighborhood.
The Shubert Theater currently brings in close to $5 million in ticket revenue annually and, according to a study by Quinnipiac University, generates a $20 million economic impact for the City.
“Since CAPA took over management of the Theater has re-established the Shubert’s importance not only as a cultural icon but as a pivotal economic generation for downtown”, stated Kelly Murphy, Economic Development Administrator
“CAPA has enjoyed a wonderful partnership with Mayor DeStefano, President Perez and the Board of Alders, Kelly Murphy and her team, and all our community partners who have been so supportive of the Shubert Theater,” said Shubert Executive Director, John Fisher. “CAPA has been honored to manage the Shubert and we are delighted the City has chosen us to be the stewards of this legendary theater. We look forward to the Shubert's upcoming Centennial Celebration in 2014.”
Prior to the transfer, CAPA operated the theater on a year-to-year lease but the City was responsible for all of the building’s capital repairs and improvements. In exchange for managing and operating the theater, the City pays CAPA an annual management fee of $250,000. The last major renovation of the Theater occurred in the early 1980s and many of the building’s vital systems are in need of repair, replacement and/or updating, including the exterior fire escape, the exterior brick work and the heating and cooling systems.
The $11 million project leverages $4 million from the State, $2.5 million from the City and the launch of the Shubert’s $4 million Centennial Plan by establishing an endowment for the continued sustainability for the Theater. Over the next ten years The City’s annual contribution will decline and will end permanently in 2024. The agreement alleviates the City’s responsibility to maintain a 100 year old building requiring millions of dollars in renovations. In total, the transfer of ownership to CAPA is anticipated to save the City approximately $5.5 million over the next 10 years.
The Centennial Plan will extend the theater’s economic impact and provide work for over 100 tradesmen in construction, renovation and restoration industries as well add new performance space and create additional permanent jobs for the community. Updates to the theater including back stage, back of house, orchestra shell and an additional performance space will generate 95 to 180 additional lit nights, bringing an added 35,000 to 50,000 patrons Downtown and creating an additional economic impact of over $6 million. The new façade and streetscape will also build on other placemaking and economic investments on College Street, including 100 College Street and Co-Op High School.
Today also marks the 99th anniversary of the Shubert’s opening in 1914, kicking off CAPA’s “Countdown to 100” for the Shubert’s 2014-2015 Centennial Season Celebration.