Berlind Theatre opens its doors for Princeton students, community

The new Roger S. Berlind Theatre in the McCarter Theatre Center, which opened this month, provides new opportunities for Princeton theater students to practice their craft and for community members to attend live performances.

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The theater's inaugural production is Nilo Cruz's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, "Anna in the Tropics," featuring Jimmy Smits, Priscilla Lopez and Daphne Rubin-Vega. The production debuted Sept. 9 and will run through Oct. 19.

The $14.1 million addition to McCarter Theatre is a joint venture between McCarter and the University. The 29,500-square-foot building houses two rehearsal rooms, lobby spaces, dressing rooms, a classroom, office space and stage support spaces.

The new theater gives McCarter a second main stage for its drama series and a dedicated laboratory space for exploring new works and new ways of approaching the classic repertory. It also will serve as the principal performance space for Princeton's Program in Theater and Dance.

"The theater is so impressive," said Daniel O'Brien, a playwright and lecturer in the Council of the Humanities and the Program in Theater and Dance. O'Brien is teaching "Intermediate Studies in Acting" in the new facility with Davis McCullum, a director and fellow lecturer. "Before our first class here, Davis and I stared at the stage and dreamed of putting on a play here. It's beautiful and completely state of the art."

Designed by nationally renowned architect Hugh Hardy, a member of Princeton's class of 1954, the Roger S. Berlind Theatre is named for the 1952 Princeton alumnus and distinguished Broadway producer who donated a third of its cost. The theater received broad community support from 1,568 individuals, corporations and foundations.

More photographs of the theater are available in the Weekly Bulletin.


Daniel O'Brien teaches in the Berlind Theater
Sophomore Megan McGowan and freshman James Park listen as Daniel O'Brien, a lecturer in the Council of the Humanities and the Program in Theater and Dance, makes a point during a session of the course "Intermediate Studies in Acting" in the Berlind Theatre. Behind them is the set of the theater's inaugural production, the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Anna in the Tropics."

photo: Denise Applewhite