The Downtown Cabaret Theatre is a direct descendent of the Sacred Heart University Cabaret. After several successful seasons in an academic setting, the entire company, under the artistic direction of Claude McNeal, moved to its present home in 1975.
Alexander Hawley, Samuel Hawley, Norwick Goodspeed, Mayor Nicholas Panuzio, Leete Doty, and other business and civic leaders believed that a professional theater company in a resident home was essential to the development of the downtown area. As part of this move, the assembly room of the former YWCA was converted to a theatre, including the addition of a balcony and air conditioning.
Since the Theatre's official opening with VAUDEVILLE TROUPE on February 27, 1976, well over half a million adults and children have enjoyed musical productions in the unique "Bring Your Own Picnic" cabaret atmosphere. It is now recognized as an important regional theater.
Drawing upon both Connecticut and New York talent, the Downtown Cabaret has proven to be a marvelous opportunity for theatre professionals to showcase their talents and it has created a perfect environment for the seasoned and up-and-coming artist.
The Downtown Cabaret Theater is incorporated as a not-for-profit tax-exempt regional theater that offers a year-round season of productions. As with all non-profit arts organizations, the Downtown Cabaret must rely on the support of the public and private sectors.
At the moment, this unique theater recovers about 75% of its costs through box office revenues. This is an extraordinarily high percentage compared to other non-profit theaters.
From its inception the Cabaret's productions have been musical. Until 1980 the presentation was almost exclusively original material following revue format. Since then the Theater has continued to produce Broadway-style book musicals as well as original works.
Richard C. Hallinan has been the Theatre's Executive Producer since 1981. His productions have included popular Broadway musicals as well as the American premiere of Blood Brothers in 1988 and a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in 1979 - before it appeared on Broadway.
The Cabaret employees number an average of 45 of which 10 are full-time staff members relying on the Theater for their livelihood.
In 1995 the Cabaret underwent a $1.3 million renovation to the facility. Renovations included the construction of a fly house over the stage, the remodeling of the backstage bathrooms, lobby and house, as well as the installation of technical and air conditioning equipment. These renovations were funded by a $900,000 grant from the State and a capital campaign the Theatre undertook. The newly renovated theatre now holds 276 people.
The City of Bridgeport has, over the past 24 years, been a major supporter in the role of benevolent landlord. The Theater also receives strong support from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts.
Box Office and Group Sales: 203-576-1636
Box Office Hours:
Tuesday - Friday 10:00 to 4:30 and Saturday and Sunday 10:00 to 4:00