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What's New At Croton Falls' Schoolhouse Theater?

CROTON FALLS, N.Y. – Croton Falls’ Schoolhouse Theater had an open house Sunday to introduce some of its plans for the forthcoming season.

Renovations already have begun at the old Croton Falls Elementary School, reborn as a theater almost 30 years ago. A new driveway and a new air-conditioning system already are in place, and plans for a small extension to accommodate a green room and new dressing rooms are being implemented. Soon-to-materialize work includes renovated bathrooms, a state-of-the-art kitchen, new entryways and additional audience seating, bringing the total number of seats from 73 to 99.

“We’re also soundproofing the technical rooms, like the sound and lighting booth, so audiences don’t have to listen to flipping pages during the performance,” said Quinn Cassavale, director of development and general manager.

The theater’s founder, Lee Pope, is footing the bill for all the improvements. “It’s got nothing to do with subscription or ticket prices or grants and contributions,” said Cassavale, who “has worn a lot of hats” during her 12-year tenure with the theater.

“We evolved from just a room to a room with bleachers to a room with bleachers and lights,” Pope said. “A lot of things were close to perfect.” 

Because of the ongoing renovations, the 2012-13 dramatic season at the theater has been reduced from the usual four to two productions. “Ten Unknowns,” by Tony-nominated playwright Jon Robin Baitz, will be from Feb. 28 to March 24 and Neil Simon’s “Last of the Red Hot Lovers” will be from May 30 to June 23.

As part of Sunday’s open house, Artistic Director Pamela Moller Kareman introduced three cast members for “Ten Unknowns,” who read some scenes onstage in an “open rehearsal.”

“Many of you don’t need a taste of what we do here,” Kareman said to the audience. “We’re an authentic organization. What you see is what you get. We’re always trying to improve your theater experience. The Schoolhouse has been called ‘a well-kept secret and ‘the best professional theater in Westchester.’”

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